Bright Skies

A few years ago, I remember sitting out in my back alley and trying to gauge the faintest star I could see. During the summer and early fall Lyra is high overhead and has several stars around magnitude 3-5. The Little Dipper is often used for this but from here in Brooklyn that involves looking north over Manhattan, plus it's lower in the sky. 

To make it short, I could make out all four of the  stars forming the trapezoid as well as epsilon Lyrae. The faintest stars there are at magnitude 4.3 which is where I put the limiting magnitude. Last week, I did the same thing but could only see the three two brightest stars in the trapezoid. According to the Clear Sky Clock, that was a good night. Tonight doesn't look bad, though the Clear Sky Clock disagrees. But tonight I can't see any of the stars except for Vega. 

Even if you ignore tonight's check, the check from last week is pretty definitive in my mind. The NYC sites are brighter than they were just a few years ago.