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Dark as pitch! no light pollution!

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#1 corpusse

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:35 AM

I read this forum from time to time and I thought I'd share a pleasant experience.

I live in a suburban city with a population of about 700k just outside of Toronto which is 2 million + there are also other suburbs around me with 100s of thousands of people. White zone light pollution. About twice a year I had been going to a "dark" site that is in the orange zone. Seeing the milkyway faintly was amazing. It was always overwhelming considering I can read the newspaper from my observatory when the roof is rolled off, and see most of what I can during the day.

Well I just experienced the grey zone. A freshwater Island called St. Joesph's. The population is 2k in the winter 4k in the summer. My parents bought a house there! If there was any job I could do there I'd move. They actually don't plan on living there full time but will spend a lot of time there. I will be visiting a lot and the house is on 3 acres and future observatory will be no problem! The closest city is 75k and about 100km away so there are no domes or anything. Given that it's way up north future development is very unlikely in my lifetime.

M42 naked eye looked better then it does in my finderscope here! it was incredible. Just a few short hours of clear skies I soaked in as much as I could. I'm strictly an imager and did get a few images. I do however have dreams of a big dob up there one day.

After setting up the imaging rig I went inside. The first time I went back out I couldn't believe it. I couldn't see my scope! It was 100 feet from the house but even with the inside house lights on I could not see that far out. The largest source of light pollution was the red light on the autoguider. When that was not facing me I couldn't see anything!!!

Finally it did cloud over and even that was impressive. Here clouds are orange. There they are invisible. It was like the stars simply stopped shinning. I could not tell where the trees ended and the sky began.

There are only a few neighbors most of which are far off in the distance. None leave stupid 24/7 lighting on like people here. I only saw a total of 3 street lights on the entire island. There is one little gas station and general store. The closest one was 22minutes from the house in the car. So miles and miles away...

I will be back there next weekend and plan on going every new moon. Sure sometimes it will be cloudy but hopefully there will be lots of clear skies. It's also dead silent there. I've started a blog on my experience there. It's just so different from here the difference is well, night and day.

http://islandastrophoto.blogspot.ca/

#2 Darenwh

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:25 PM

Sounds great. Next time you get out there take a pair of binoculars. Then, after your eyes have adjusted to the darkness, just look up naked eye and look around. Every time you see a little glow turn the binocs on it. I think you will be astounded on what you can see so easily in skies like that. I think you are going to love observing out there.

#3 csrlice12

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:26 PM

Well, you could always set yourself up as the local astronomer. Maybe sell astro equipment on the side...Maybe build a hotel/get a deal going with a current one, RENT TELESCOPES and equipment......OPEN AN ASTRONOMY RETREAT. Once that one takes off, expanding into Australia might be nice, and Canada, the SouthWest US, Parts of Asia....a real international astronomer's travel bureau.......

#4 csa/montana

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:41 PM

Maybe build a hotel



There go the dark skies! :lol:

#5 csrlice12

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:48 PM

a SMALL hotel with only red lighting?, Use the house as a B&B? Get Roddy McDowell to do check-in????

#6 FirstSight

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:39 PM

a SMALL hotel with only red lighting?


Um...not so sure the actual nature of your business would be correctly understood by everyone. For some, their misunderstanding will cause them to be angry, others - very, very disappointed.
:grin:

#7 csrlice12

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:25 PM

from someone's tag line:

"Is that a telescope in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" :lol:

But, on a serious tone though, on a place that is very dark with limited access (island), a small place with some nice scopes and normally clear skies, you just might be able to make a living or at least supplement an income (maybe for someone who's retired but still healthy)

#8 csa/montana

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:44 PM

Uhhh, let's please stay on the subject of LP. :ubetcha:

#9 corpusse

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:53 AM

Going back tomorrow for 2 nights, hoping for clear skies at least one full night. I actually have a 3" dob that was my first scope (the first scope) I should try and bring that up too, however my primary goal will be to carry on my AT RC 6"

It really amazes me that no one has put up any offensive lights, nor do they leave the outside lights on all night. I saw some towers possibly cell or hydro and even they have red lighting. There is no skyglow in any direction at all. I have to leave some house lights on so I can at least find my way back inside after :)

It was clear here 2 nights ago. I look up and I can count the number of stars in the sky. I feel like I'll never look up here again.

#10 Illinois

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:44 AM

I know what you mean no light pollution! My mother in law live in upper Michigan. Grey zone. At about 1 in morning and I use 10X50 binocular to look at milky way....wow! Lot of pockets, dark holes and many tiny fuzzy deep sky objects. I looked and whats that? Black hole? A cloudy! I cant see anywhere and not easy walk back to house with a small flashlight! I saw veil nebulas on low power from my 4.5" reflector and that night is so great that I will never forget! I live near Chicago is white zone and move about 2 hours and now live in yellow zone. Grey and Black zones are great and all astronomers should go there on vacation during NO Moon!

#11 northernontario

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

I like stuff like that. My parents still live in a town where I semi grew up in called Manitouwadge.

I go there every year. A 10 minute drive out the highway gets you into the black zone.

I plan on picking up an 8 inch dob to leave there this summer for my visits.

Skies as they are meant to be.

jake

#12 tezster

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

Maybe I can tag along with you sometime when you make the trip up there? ;)

#13 ml96737

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:21 PM

Hawaii still has a number of good sites with very dark skies. Of course there is the visitor center and summit of Mauna Kea, which is so dark they decided its the best site for the 30 meter telescope. But many areas around the Big Island are pitch black due to low population density, strict light controls, and large natural preservation areas, and of course surrounded by the Pacific Ocean!

#14 csrlice12

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:45 PM

Did your parents ever tell you about your long-lost sibling?????? And I have a telescope too!

#15 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:17 PM

My dark site obs is in a gray zone. I can see Omega Centauri very well from there in spring. Some of you Canadians should visit.

#16 Illinois

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:20 AM

Thats great many of you see stars in grey and black zones! What about future? Chicago is VERY bad light pollution! More light more crime! My late father told me that he can see bright milky way and easy to see M31 in Staunton about 40 miles from St Louis in 1930's. Today is orange zone. SAD!

#17 ForgottenMObject

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 07:06 PM

I've only seen skies that dark a few times total in my life.

Once was out in the sticks in Appalachia, when my brother and I were returning home from a road trip that included the Great Smoky Mountains. The skies were so dark it was incredible.

The second time was during a weekend getaway in the Pocono Mountains in NE Pennsylvania. That time, I really was able to get a better look at the sky and just how dark it was... the clouds, as you said, were just black shapes that swallowed stars vs. orange-grey clumps as seen in the city. It was dark enough that seeing any distance away was difficult.

I suspect many people go their whole lives never really seeing a dark sky these days, which is sad.

#18 corpusse

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:20 AM

I will be returning next weekend for the new moon. I can't wait. Hoping it will be clear, but even the darkness of clouds has not completely lost it's appeal yet.

You are right people certainly do go their whole lives without seeing dark skies. Before I got into astronomy I traveled a lot, mostly North America, but I get around pretty good, however it's always to a major city so always a white zone for light pollution.

A few times I traveled to a "dark" site and it's in the orange zone. Even something on this darkness people are not seeing. Sure you may drive through the country but unless you stop you'd never notice it.

In the summer I will try and get my 11" SCT up there, I suspect viewing through that will actually convince me I need a visual scope. It's just pointless here. I started right with astrophotogrpahy but other then the big bright objects it's just pointless, even non narrowband imaging is tough. There everything's right in front of your eyes.

Sure it's cold but being on an isolated island relatively far from a minor to moderate city there is very little chance of any development for many many decades to come and maybe never..






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