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Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy?

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#1 la200o

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

I'll nominate SE Michigan: Cold, cold long gray winters; humid buggy summers, and, being on the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, it gets dark very late in those summers. May and October are the best months, reasonable temps and once in awhile decent seeing. And of course (though I live in a semi-rural area), the skyglow from Ann Arbor, Detroit, and the many sizable bedroom communities around them make for considerable light pollution.

Other candidates?

Bill

#2 bherv

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:31 AM

Rhode Island

#3 MawkHawk

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:45 AM

"Other candidates?"

No, but I second S.E. Michigan, especially in winter when there are almost zero clear, weekend nights...

#4 JIMZ7

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:10 AM

I third S.E. Michigan. There are times in the winter where the Sun doesn't come out from behind the clouds. I remember not seeing a clear night sky from mid-November to mid- March. If the stars do appear they are only 1st & 2nd magnitude at best. Good old "Great Lakes". :coldday: :snowedin: :ohmy:

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#5 csrlice12

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:36 AM

Seems to be whereever I'm at at the moment......

#6 uniondrone

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:13 AM


As another SE Michigan resident, the situation here could be a lot better. But then again, I think that most of us are venting at the fact that we have had an absurdly cloudy fall and winter.

#7 panhard

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:39 AM

I can't say that the conditions are much better here in the winter. During the summer we seem to fare a bit better than those in SE Michigan.

#8 cliff mygatt

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:02 PM

For Cloud cover, the Pacific Northwest is a pretty tough place for astronomy. My astro Club heads over the eastern side of the state several times a year and late spring to early fall is the best opportunity for observing though last year we cancelled all of our local star parties due to weather.

#9 niteskystargazer

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:12 PM

Hi,

Chicago Area :bawling:.

CS,KLU,

:thanx:,

Tom

#10 vsteblina

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

According to the Mt. Graham EIS the worst areas in terms of cloud cover were the Pacific Northwest coast up to the crest of the Cascades and Maine.

So it was a tie between those two areas.

#11 PlanetNamek

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

Hey there Bill, nice to see someone else here from Michigan! Haha, you are absolutely correct about the conditions here. I live in the suburbs of detroit and even here its difficult to get a nice view of anything without going up to about 33 or 34 mile road. And the weather is just horrible. True story, 34 one day and then the next day....55-60 insane and unstable I can't imagine a worse area. Thank god my neighborhood isn't that big of a light dome.

#12 Tony Flanders

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:49 PM

I'll nominate SE Michigan:


Well, I'll admit that Michigan was the first place that came to mind when I read the title of this thread. (I used to visit my wife's family there regularly.) Western Michigan is much cloudier than eastern Michigan, by the way.

For distance to dark skies, probably western Long Island or Chicago are worst.

I suspect that Southeast Alaska has all these beat hands-down, however. Half the year you have the worst light pollution of all -- the Sun. And the other half it's either raining or snowing, depending where you are.

#13 uniondrone

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:10 PM

I'll nominate SE Michigan:


Well, I'll admit that Michigan was the first place that came to mind when I read the title of this thread. (I used to visit my wife's family there regularly.) Western Michigan is much cloudier than eastern Michigan, by the way.

For distance to dark skies, probably western Long Island or Chicago are worst.

I suspect that Southeast Alaska has all these beat hands-down, however. Half the year you have the worst light pollution of all -- the Sun. And the other half it's either raining or snowing, depending where you are.


One thing that Michigan does have going for it, is that finding dark skies is still possible. The northern half of the state has dark skies, and even at worst you can get to a green zone or better in 2-3 hours from most places. That's probably better than most people along the eastern seaboard have it.

I'm not sure which I like less, the mosquitoes and humidity of summer or the cold and snow of winter.

#14 norton67

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:50 PM

Michiagn is the worst place. I think we have one clear night a year.

#15 Startraffic

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:50 PM

la200o,
Easy Peasey, Gotta be anything within 15 miles of Washington DC! Solid white zone, 3 major airports, 10-15 smaller airports, 6 Interstate Highways, & 3-4 Million people (a conservative guestimate) living here. Anything dimmer than a 9th mag is simply non-existant. Andromeda, Orion, & the Horsehead don't exist in my sky.

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898

#16 uniondrone

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:09 PM

Michiagn is the worst place. I think we have one clear night a year.


Now, now... it's not quite that bad. Both of the past two summers we easily had 2-3 perfectly clear nights per week. Yes, you might have had to deal with light pollution (Detroit-area) or biting insects (everywhere else), but it could be worse. Of course the last 2+ months have been mostly clouds, but what can you do? :shrug:

#17 Tony Flanders

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:10 PM

One thing that Michigan does have going for it, is that finding dark skies is still possible. The northern half of the state has dark skies, and even at worst you can get to a green zone or better in 2-3 hours from most places. That's probably better than most people along the eastern seaboard have it.


Only marginally better, I'd say. You can get to the green zone from midtown Manhattan or downtown Boston in about 2 hours -- at least late at night.

Northern Michigan is plenty dark, but it's a long way from the Detroit conurbation. Michigan is a very big state!

To get to equally dark skies from Boston I would have to cross two state borders, but it wouldn't be much farther.

#18 Man in a Tub

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:11 PM

http://www.currentre...S/cloudiest.php

#19 csrlice12

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:17 PM

I'll nominate SE Michigan:


Well, I'll admit that Michigan was the first place that came to mind when I read the title of this thread. (I used to visit my wife's family there regularly.) Western Michigan is much cloudier than eastern Michigan, by the way.

For distance to dark skies, probably western Long Island or Chicago are worst.

I suspect that Southeast Alaska has all these beat hands-down, however. Half the year you have the worst light pollution of all -- the Sun. And the other half it's either raining or snowing, depending where you are.


One thing that Michigan does have going for it, is that finding dark skies is still possible. The northern half of the state has dark skies, and even at worst you can get to a green zone or better in 2-3 hours from most places. That's probably better than most people along the eastern seaboard have it.

I'm not sure which I like less, the mosquitoes and humidity of summer or the cold and snow of winter.


It's Michigan, where you can have the cold and snows of Summer whilst being drained of blood by aircraft sized mosquitos....during all three seasons: June, July, and Winter!

#20 uniondrone

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:27 PM

One thing that Michigan does have going for it, is that finding dark skies is still possible. The northern half of the state has dark skies, and even at worst you can get to a green zone or better in 2-3 hours from most places. That's probably better than most people along the eastern seaboard have it.


Only marginally better, I'd say. You can get to the green zone from midtown Manhattan or downtown Boston in about 2 hours -- at least late at night.

Northern Michigan is plenty dark, but it's a long way from the Detroit conurbation. Michigan is a very big state!

To get to equally dark skies from Boston I would have to cross two state borders, but it wouldn't be much farther.


Well, if I head toward Michigan's thumb along highway M-53, I can reach the green zone from the northern Detroit suburbs in only about 1.5 to 2 hours, traffic permitting. Depending on which color zone map you believe, the blue zone might only be 30 minutes farther. That's not too shabby!

#21 JimMo

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

Hate to pile it on to SE Michigan but it does have one thing going for it. Our telescopes stay newer and last much longer due to the fact we don't get to use them too often. :grin:

#22 csrlice12

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:51 PM

hmmm, could explain that rash of pizza scopes we've been reading about.......

#23 punk35

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:54 PM

Another vote for michigan :tonofbricks:

#24 la200o

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:06 PM

Wow, Michigan is winning hands down! I've lived in the Pacific NW, and although the "winters" (they don't really understand the word, at least west of the Cascades)is very very cloudy, the summers are often hot and dry. Tony's nomination of SW Alaska is a good one, though. . . sounds pretty awful for astronomy.

Bill

#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:08 PM

Hate to pile it on to SE Michigan but it does have one thing going for it. Our telescopes stay newer and last much longer due to the fact we don't get to use them too often. :grin:


It seems as if being an Astronomer in Michigan is like being an Ice Fisherman in San Diego...

Jon






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