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Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?)

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#26 Starman1


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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:36 AM


I had a chance to work a couple summers at Cahokia Mounds State Park as an archaeological grunt (dirt pusher). It's just across the Mississippi from St. Louis, and down in the river's flood plain, so nice and swamp-like.

What my father said about St. Louis is pretty much the truth--it's where bad people go when they die. In the summer, the temperature and humidity go down every direction you drive away from St. Louis. I vividly remember seeing steam rising from the river more than once.

We experienced the southern Illinois blood-letting called mosquitos (who easily bit through our shirts, which were completely soaked with sweat and stuck to our skins (didn't mind it on some of the girls, but hey, I was young!)) every day, all day.

We told stories to each other as we worked and sweated:
"There are two sizes of mosquitos here: those small enough to come through the holes in the screen door, and those big enough to open it!"
"One day I felt some shade and looked up to see two skeeters hovering over my head. One of them said to the other, 'Do we eat him here or just take him with us?' "

Of course, having grown up in a river valley in SW Indiana, I was used to mosquitos. After all, it was the State Bird of Indiana.

It wasn't until I left Indiana that I realized oysters, shrimp, chicken, okra, eggplant, potatos, tomatos, and fish didn't have to be breaded and fried.

But both southern Illinois and southern Indiana, in those days, had some really dark skies. I grew up with skies of magnitude 6.2 in my back yard, and i lived in a city. That really made being interested in astronomy a lot easier than it is now.

#27 Illinois



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Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:45 AM

Hope someday Illinois protect some state park for dark sky! Green zone is not that dark but still good for most people from city!

Mosquitos is problem and LOT in upper Michigan where I look at stars in grey zone!

#28 jrbarnett


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Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:07 PM

Pensack, I knew there was something else I loved about you.

We're cousins. :lol:

(Sparse population joke; south of Springfield *everyone* is blood more or less.)

It's been awhile since I've been back to that part of the country. I do have plans on being there for the North American total solar eclipse in 2017, and if up to it, the next one too, but full totality appears to be on the other side of the river in Kentucky. I was actually thinking or renting or even buying some property on the path of totality, near the maximum, and hosting a daylight star party. A subsequent North American total eclipse in 2024 will also be well viewed from the same exact location, so assuming I'm still kicking it'd be a two-fer.



#29 VectorRoll


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Posted 17 July 2013 - 05:14 PM

I have a bunch of those dastardly Vampire Insects here at my house in Lincoln IL right now. It really makes going out side for just a few minutes to be hard to do. Not sure why they like my blood so much but it is a pain when I have to do outside work around the house. Getting out to view the stars at night is almost a no go with the swarms of them that seems to eat me alive. For some odd reason the Mosquito population seems a lot thicker this year around here than it has in the past few years.

You know what gets me is that the Masquitoes around our house in Mississippi do not bother me as much as the ones here do. And our house there is right next to some swap land. We have Masquitoes there every year, but they seem to more tame than the ones here. Maybe it is because there is more sources of blood (wildlife) there than here where it is mostly Corn and Soybeans. The ones in Mississippi are probably just full. Come to think of it, that must be the reason why they are bigger there as well. :p

Brings up a question.
What do you all do to deal with the Masquitoes and such when going out to these Dark Sky Sites? Like out in the state parks and such.

The regular Spray On OFF never seemed to work well for me for some reason. But lately I have been testing out one of those Off Clip-On. The seem to work alright but only when the wind is not blowing to much. If the Wind picks up it becomes useless. I had to wear two of them when I was painting my patio deck yesterday just to keep the Masquitoes away. The day before that and today I only needed one to keep them away.
Are there any other products that work well? Some home remedy even? I would like to get some stuff for when I do go out to a Dark Sky site, like a state park or something. Just to be on the side of readiness. :)

#30 KidOrion


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Posted 17 July 2013 - 06:08 PM

You guys complaining about the mosquitoes here in SoIll ought to be here in June for the Giant Horsefly Invasions. I've seen some as big as my thumb sitting on my van while I'm in it, and have refused to get out until they disappear. (They seem to favor silver vehicles for some reason.)

VectorRoll, the Deep Woods Off seems to work pretty well here. I observe a lot in the Crab Orchard Nat'l Wildlife Refuge between Carbondale and Marion, though, and actually the mosquitoes haven't been so bad there. They're actually worse at my house in C'Dale. (Had to use repellent to cut my grass this morning at 11:00.)

#31 Starman1


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Posted 17 July 2013 - 06:13 PM

I use liquid DEET on my clothes (not on the skin) and it seems to work well.
I'm not very tasty to mosquitos, though. Too much hot sauce (you've seen the commercial).
Seriously, here is something from the Smithsonian:
Why mosquitos like some people more than others

#32 KidOrion


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Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:54 PM

If too much hot sauce keeps mosquitoes away, my presence should clear a whole field (hot sauces and pepper cultivating is a hobby of mine).

I've heard that brewer's yeast is supposed to make one unpalatable to them, but haven't tried it.

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