Favorite Viewing Sites
Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:00 PM
Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:01 PM
Kodachrome Basin State Park,Utah
Grandview Campground, Inyo National Forest,Ca
Kennedy Meadows,Southern Sierra Nevada,Ca
Are all dark,no light domes, fantastic viewing ,weather permitting.
Wow, Grandview and Kennedy Meadows are awesome! I've never been scopin' at Kennedy, but I've had some epic hikes there...had a couple of great nights at Grandview-first view of M82 thru an 18"dob-wowww!(image was holding decently at about 500x) I would like to add Eureka Valley, which is accessible from Big Pine, CA and splits off the road to Grandview(White Mountains/Westgard Pass). Not as high as Grandview (better spring/fall spot), but has darker skies. One night, Venus in the sky was really blowing out my night vision(lol), and I kept mistaking the Las Vegas light dome (120 miles away)for sunrise. Seeing is usually great, too(resolved individual stars one night in Omega Centauri at 7 deg. above horizon) and clouds seem to avoid Eureka when the surrounding areas are cloudy). Nobody ever goes there, either. Saw 3 cars total in 4 trips. Well worth the drive from Tahoe's fairly dark skies!
Posted 11 April 2013 - 10:23 PM
Celestron 9.25HD on A CGEM DX
5" Maksutov on a SWAN AltAZ
20x80 D3 Oberwerks Binoculars
90mm Seben Maksutov
University Optics, GSO, Celestron, Clave Eyepieces
Posted 18 April 2013 - 01:20 PM
The Denver Astro society has a dark site (blue zone) about 1hr 15 min East of town. It has cement pads (North aligned), power toilet, break shed and a domed obsevatory with a honker of an SCT on a Losmundy mount (must attend a training session before you can use). The DAS is a very active club. Also, be forewarned, Denver has scope store, S&S Optika, which hosts montly star parties where they pull out their display models and is open to the public. I know there's a good amount of my annual income in their cash register....Great store and people.
Very likely moving with my family and 16" F5 to Denver this summer. Wondering about Dark yet accessible locations within 2 hours of Denver?
Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:42 AM
Heron Cove Park in Tolland is not bad, but you want to set up in the northernmost portion of the parking lot to avoid lights from the road.
White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield is good. One of the local astronomy groups (Mattatuck? Litchfield Astro Society?) has an observing field that they mow on a regular basis. You need to call/email White Memorial to ask to use the field, but they've never told me no.
The christmas tree field at the Goodwin Conservation Center is good as well, but you need to call to ask about using it.
Posted 15 May 2013 - 10:39 PM
Posted 18 May 2013 - 12:35 PM
Posted 19 May 2013 - 01:15 AM
Posted 22 May 2013 - 02:38 PM
Portrait of a Galaxy by kevin-palmer, on Flickr
More here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjF51Zft
Posted 16 June 2013 - 05:27 PM
Between Laredo, Tx and Eagle Pass, Tx.
Sure is pretty though.
Posted 17 June 2013 - 01:11 AM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:56 AM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:59 AM
I totally understand the dangerous part. The last time I was at BigBend NP there were signs everywhere cautioning against leaving a car unattended or hiking or camping without being in a big group. The only rangers I saw anywhere were in the offices. And the sky is so dark. Sad:(
That is sad to hear. It's been several years since I've made the trip to Big Bend, and I've been wondering if conditions there had changed with respect to safety.
At least Davis Mountains State Park is a little further away from the border.
Posted 13 September 2013 - 08:49 PM
Posted 14 September 2013 - 01:00 PM
Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:47 AM
Posted 27 September 2013 - 12:50 PM
The only drawback to a place like this is that it spoils you for anything less.
Posted 11 October 2013 - 05:14 PM
Posted 11 October 2013 - 05:38 PM
If you look at the LP maps for both, they are equivalently as dark, except the Spruce Knob area also has a few pockets of Grey zone (darker) in the middle of the dark blue "pocket".
Dave, since you are an East Coaster, if you were 5 hours from Cherry Springs and 8 hours from Spruce Knob, would you go to Spruce Knob for the experience, or just go back to Cherry Springs?
I'd be willing to bet that which one was darker would depend a lot on local conditions, such as water vapor in the air, low clouds over nearby cities, etc.
I'd be tempted to plant myself in the middle of one of the grey zone pockets at Spruce Knob. But both are really long drives for you unless you're planning to stay 2 nights.
Meanwhile, out West here in SoCal, Mt. Pinos has finally been downgraded to a dark green LP site instead of blue. That's correct, unfortunately.
So we, too, are getting to need a 3-4 hour drive to reach dark blue or grey zone sites. And our local Blue and Grey zones are threatened. They too will go into green if the construction plans in Arizona for LCD billboards along the 10 corridor comes to pass and/or if the multi-megawatt Solar generating stations go in.
I can see us needing to drive 5 to 8 hours to get to a dark site in only a couple years.
Posted 13 October 2013 - 02:19 AM
Posted 16 October 2013 - 09:25 PM
Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:05 PM
Posted 09 November 2013 - 08:32 AM
I was surprised that none of the "East Coasters" mentioned the Northern Neck of Virginia (the peninsula between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, and Chesapeake Bay). There is a broad swath of blue/dark green (Bortle class 3) dark sky conditions stretching from northeastern Northumberland County (Smith Point) southwestward into Lancaster County and the Rappahannock. This area is an hour from Richmond, two hours from Norfolk, and 2 1/2 hours from DC.
I've owned property in that zone for several years now, and the seeing is superb!