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River Science: Cloud Cover

Students on the Half Moon are encouraged to observe the cloud cover above us which often varies wildly over the course of a given Voyage of Discovery. On this voyage in particular, we encountered everything from clear, azure skies to dense cloud cover, even experiencing blinding fog on the morning of Day Five.

Students can learn how to determine the percentage of cloud cover in the sky, and how to identify distinct cloud formations, such as curling cirrus clouds, flat stratus clouds, or puffy cumulus clouds.


These cloud formations affect our work on the Half Moon in several ways. First, they can serve as an indicator of incoming weather patterns. More seriously, however, overcast skies can make celestial navigation nearly impossible. Can you see the midday sun in this photo? Neither could the Celestial Tracking team!

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