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

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#51 dan777

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:49 PM

I would vote for Michigan, where I USED to live :) We had one or two clear nights each month in the winter. On top of that, I lived 8 miles north of Detroit city limits. Talk about a light dome, in the summer I could barely see Sagittarius and Scorpius.

#52 Starman1

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 02:52 PM

Los Angeles has to come close.
I've observed, on a clear night, from a house in the Hollywood Hills, and the night sky was blue, like permanent twilight. In Orion, on the merdian at the time, Rigel, Saiph, Bellatrix, and Betelgeuse and the 3 belt stars (Alnilam, Alnitak, Mintaka) were visible, and with difficulty. Period. My SQM (for those familiar with this tool) read mag. 16.6, about the same as 20 minutes after sunset in my dark site.
We estimated the naked eye limiting magnitude around 3.
On the best night I've ever seen here (no moon, dry, quiet air, and after midnight) We've gotten to an NELM of 4.5.
Plus, hazy most of the time.
Not auspicious for astronomy.

#53 t.r.

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:04 PM

Syracuse NY...63 clear days, 98 partly sunny, 46% sunlight...the lowest in ALL of New York state to include Buffalo and Rochester!!! And #1 for snowfall! :cloudy: :coldday: :snowedin: :tonofbricks:

http://goldensnowglo...nowiest-cities/



#54 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:36 PM

Los Angeles has to come close.
I've observed, on a clear night, from a house in the Hollywood Hills, and the night sky was blue, like permanent twilight. In Orion, on the merdian at the time, Rigel, Saiph, Bellatrix, and Betelgeuse and the 3 belt stars (Alnilam, Alnitak, Mintaka) were visible, and with difficulty. Period. My SQM (for those familiar with this tool) read mag. 16.6, about the same as 20 minutes after sunset in my dark site.
We estimated the naked eye limiting magnitude around 3.
On the best night I've ever seen here (no moon, dry, quiet air, and after midnight) We've gotten to an NELM of 4.5.
Plus, hazy most of the time.
Not auspicious for astronomy.


Don:

L.A. is not a state but a city. Yes, there is a great deal of light pollution but the seeing is often quite good and there are a fair number of clear nights.

But most importantly, within an hour or two, one can be out where the skies are quite dark and very often clear. The coastal clouds that may blanket the basin, this can be escaped.

In most places, if it's cloudy where you are, drive 100 miles, it's cloudy, drive 200 miles, its cloudy. In San Diego we have it better than you but you have it pretty good compared to those folks in many parts of the US...

Just my two cents

Jon

#55 Starman1

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:39 PM

As people have often remarked, LA is an area. The standard metropolitan Statistical Area contains 5 counties and 12.6 million people the last time I read about it.
Yes, I can get to truly dark skies with drives of 100-200 miles. In most places of the country, and to most observers, that would make dark skies inaccessible. Only in LA would you find a driver willing to go 400 miles round-trip for an overnight viewing session.
So, in a sense, to paraphrase the beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities":
SoCal is the best of sites and the worst of sites. :grin:

#56 orion61

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:16 PM

I'll vote for the garbage...I mean garden state NJ.

It has garden State on the Liscense Plates cause the Industrial,Chemical,Refining and Shipping Dock State wont fit. LOL
But tho fairly dark Iowa has the Cloudiest, Bumpiest skys,
20 below in the Winter and Skeeters the size of 747's in the Summer.
Observing at My buddys at 10,000 feet in Colorado was a DREAM COME TRUE... Untill the Spring storm blew in with no warning!
Lightening is SCARY in the Mountains..

#57 bremms

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:20 PM

Grew up 3 miles from lake Ontario, not a lot of clear days. VERY few, less than Syracuse. Only saving grace is our house was in a green/blue zone. So it was pretty dark when it was clear. Lived IN Baltimore when at Space Telescope. You look up and say " Look there's the star!" (since you can only see one or two.)

#58 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:29 PM

So, in a sense, to paraphrase the beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities":
SoCal is the best of sites and the worst of sites.


I am pretty happy down here in San Diego. I consider my backyard a very good site for planetary and double star observing, enjoyable for deep sky. And the mountains are an hour or so away....

San Diego County and LA County are both about the same size, a bit over 4500 square miles, each the size of a small eastern state. In this tale of two counties, I'll take San Diego... :)

Jon

#59 csrlice12

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:58 AM

"Lightening is SCARY in the Mountains.."

Lighning is DANGEROUS in the mountains....and scary.

#60 *skyguy*

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:14 AM

HA ... HA ... HA ... S.E. Michigan ... Pacific Northwest as the worst areas for observing? You gotta be kidding! Buffalo, New York is ranked as the #1 cloudiest city in the good old USA ... 311 cloudy or partly cloudy days a year ... that's 85% of the time with bad astronomy days.

Cloudiest Cities in the USA

BUT ... hold on ... I live 25 miles south of Buffalo ... in a lake effect cloud/snow belt area that Buffalo is not a part of. From mid-October to mid-March ... lake effect clouds and snow blanket my observatory and I have about 4-5 clear nights during this time (usually during full moon, of course!). I've had friends call me on a clear night in Buffalo asking to come out and observe ... and I laugh at them because I'm usually in the middle of a raging snow storm! Overall, from my location I estimate there are at least 335 cloudy or partially cloudy days a year, leaving about 30 days/nights suitable for observing or imaging (and looking back over the past year, that figure seems high).

If you think you've got it worse than me ... you better back it up with facts! ;)

#61 Tony Flanders

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:22 AM

I think the title of this thread should be "Nobody's got it as bad as me," or "The grass is always greener on the other side."

#62 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:47 AM

I think the title of this thread should be "Nobody's got it as bad as me," or "The grass is always greener on the other side."


Tony:

It does seem that way.

Myself, I am pretty much keeping my mouth shut because I think I have it pretty darn, good. The grass isn't very green because it rarely rains, rain requires clouds. The mountain skies are generally clear and reasonably dark.. It gets cold but rarely below about 25F, cold is in the 30s and 40s. It's windy but the wind blows away the dust and keeps the transparency high.

Other small bonuses, those little things (mosquitoes etc) that fly around and bite people are few and far between. Outside at night in the middle of summer, short sleeved shirt is all that is needed...

I'll take San Diego and it's mountains and the one day drive to some truly dark skies and not complain. Now if I were into to ice fishing, or viewing the aurora, I might be able to complain...

Jon

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#63 LakeHavasu

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:36 PM

I'll nominate Lake Havasu City, Arizona not because of the dark skies but because of the politics of the local City Council. They enact a light pollution ordinance then they don't enforce the ordinance or violate it themselves with improper lighting of city properties. All talk, no actions. :( :foreheadslap:

#64 rick-SeMI

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:44 PM

It is tough. Unless I go to an outstate star party I might observe 6-8 nights a year. Ironically, Michigan has the first state designated dark sky preserve, Lake Hudson Rec. Area, which is where I usually observe. Just recently the legislature designated 22,500 acres in the northern lower peninsula from the Mackinac Bridge west to Cross Village as a dark sky preserve, but realistically the whole area is mostly forest and the sky usually has clouds. See this thread for some pics of the Headlands Preserve on page two.


Port Crescent State Park in Port Austin.
Became a Dark Sky Preserve in June 2012.
Stayed up there July 11-14. Really nice skies.
FAAC working with the DNR had the "Meteors and Smores"
outreach, on August 11th, but we got clouded out.
http://michiganvotes....aspx?ID=613545

http://legislature.m.../2011-2012/p...

#65 krp

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:46 PM

I think the Chicago area may be the worst for light pollution. The light pollution from Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee and even up to Madison all merge into one bright sky. Dark skies are nowhere close. But I know it could be worse as far as cloud cover.

#66 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

I'll nominate Lake Havasu City, Arizona not because of the dark skies but because of the politics of the local City Council. They enact a light pollution ordinance then they don't enforce the ordinance or violate it themselves with improper lighting of city properties. All talk, no actions. :( :foreheadslap:


I imagine most folks would trade the Lake Havasu light pollution for their own... and at least they have a light pollution ordinance.

Jon

#67 Norm42

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:08 AM

I live in the Rochester NY area, I am sure I am in the top 10 at least.

I did run across an interesting website that shows a map of the US and where it is clear/cloudy, some stats as well. Gives a quick look at who to envy and who to commensurate with.

Cloud Cover Map

Jon from San Diego, who as he indicated enjoys clear skies, reminded me of a joke from Lewis Black about weatherman goes something like this:

What is the best job to have in the US? Being a weatherman in San Diego, you get a five figure income and the daily report goes like this:

News anchor to weatherman: Whats the weather like today?
Weatherman: Mmmm.....Sunny, back to you.

Norm

#68 Dave M

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

Has to be Ohio, we get lake effect clouds and snow, all the crud from the Pacific NW heads strait for Ohio, on top of that we also get a lot of clouds and moisture pumped up from the Gulf, so drawing a line from Washington State through Ohio and another from the Gulf of Mexico through Ohio and what do you get, X marks the spot. :(

#69 orion61

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:10 PM

Here's another vote for Michigan. Just 3 imaging days in over a month. And that was pushing it. Unknown when I'll get a few more days in. Already looking south for spring visual observing. By then I'll forget what color the sun is. If it even exists... just a rumor in these parts...

At least parts get relief from the Lakes modding the temps.
Here in Ipwa it Bakes in the Summer with High Humidity,
(the crops hold moisture like a sponge,
the Winters are brutal, I have seen -34 degrees, the wind blows from the Plines with nothing to slow them down
so the wind chill was -84 those 3 days in a row in the mid
70's
and again in 1989!
The Skeeters sound like Dive Bombers (Native American Indians) called them Birds with teeth! Biting Gnats..
then in the Fall and Spring it either Cloudy or raining!!
thats why I.O.W.A. stands for; I. O.tta W.ent A.round

#70 Starman1

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

The last full year I lived in western Indiana (1976), we had 3 clear nights the entire year. It was cloudy all summer, with not one clear night.
It was unusual, but indicates how bad things can get within normal variation.

It could be worse: Ketchican Alaska gets 195 inches of rain a year and "clear" to the local weatherman is when the skies are 50% cloudy.
Eek.

#71 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

Jon from San Diego, who as he indicated enjoys clear skies, reminded me of a joke from Lewis Black about weatherman goes something like this:

What is the best job to have in the US? Being a weatherman in San Diego, you get a five figure income and the daily report goes like this:

News anchor to weatherman: Whats the weather like today?
Weatherman: Mmmm.....Sunny, back to you.

Norm



:foreheadslap:

Being a weatherman in San Diego is actually not so easy. If you are the weatherman in Kansas City, you can be pretty sure that the weather in Independence is not too much different and that if you drive an hour in any direction, there maybe differences but they are relatively minor.

San Diego is a mosaic of micro-climates so the weatherman has to try to predict the each and every one.. An hour's drive takes you from the beaches and canyons of the coast through the foothill up to the mountains, the highest peak in the county is 6500 feet and it snows... Another 30 minutes east and you will be in the desert where it maybe 110F while the city is covered in the marine layer...

That variety makes San Diego a great place to live, a great place for an amateur astronomer. In the summer, the mountains are clear and cool with wide open vistas. In the winter, the deserts can offer a haven with the mountains blocking the storms...

Jon

#72 droid

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:01 PM

We actually had a good summer here in north east Ohio, many more clear than normal, naturally it been cloudy, rainy, snowy or a combination of the three pretty much ever since, lol. :lol:

#73 Steve Drapak

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:19 PM

For those of you who think living in Canada is a good thing (at least as far as astronomy goes), here's the report of clear days accoring to Wolfram Alpha, for the last 6 months from my location (Brampton Ontario):

Clear days 2012

July 2.6 days
August 3.6 days
Sept 3 days
Oct 1.1 day
Nov 1.9 days
Dec .75 day

Just under 13 clear days in the last half year. Count the nights that were clear but with a moon, and you might as well use your telescope as a BB gun target.

I was in Tucson last week, I didn't know whether to be happy or cry. Envious for sure! :help:

#74 CJK

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:24 PM

Ouch. :undecided:

-- Chris

#75 csrlice12

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:18 AM

Son, let me tell you 'bout the time I went scope huntin' with my BB gun..........






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