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Large bodies of water any help?

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#1 Void Xero

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 08:57 PM

Hi, just getting back into astronomy after having been away from the hobby for decades. I live in a very light polluted suburb but I am pretty close to Lake Michigan. Does it help to observe over a large body of water? Or will the surrounding sky glow be so bad it won't make any difference? I was thinking that at least air turbulence might be reduced over large lake.

#2 GlennLeDrew


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Posted 12 July 2013 - 11:38 PM

Definite benefit! Here in west end Ottawa, the Ottawa river, which widens to Lac Dechenes, affords me a notably darker corridor separating Kanata (and more west Ottawa) on the south/southwest side from Aylmer/Gatineau on the north/northeast side.

A wider expanse of water, which covers a larger range in azimuth would be better still. Especially if it extends in depth some tens of kilometres until the far (assuming populated) far shore.

#3 derangedhermit



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Posted 13 July 2013 - 03:50 AM

Yes, get out to the shoreline and away from direct light sources. Lake Michigan is big enough to make a real difference. Assuming you're around Chicago (assuming the worst), you should still have a fairly dark sky to the northeast.

I suggest a scouting trip first, before an observing trip. Let us know what you find. You might try Illinois Beach State Park, just from perusing a map.

#4 star drop

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 09:40 AM

Hi Void Xero and welcome to Cloudy Nights. The lack of light sources on the water does help. However as you well know when the lake effect rain and snow arrives observing goes down the tubes.

#5 Void Xero

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 08:10 PM

Thanks for the feedback, all of you! I'm just a bit north of Milwaukee, actually. So maybe not the "worst case scenario", but still pretty bad. I think the only real problem now is finding a place down by the lake were it is legal to set up a scope late at night. Many municipal parks close at 9PM around here.

#6 stevecourtright


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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:05 PM

I have personal experience with the area north of Chicago along the lake, and frankly, it doesn't help very much. It might get you one zone better. OTOH, the Door County area has a lot of very dark skies. So, perhaps you would be satisfied with some astronomy "lite" in your neighborhood with some outings to the North to get your dark sky fix.

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