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Star Parties in South Alabama/North West Florida?

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#1 starcanoe


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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:02 PM

Hi all. If you like at light pollution map you can see three pretty decent dark holes in the south Alabama / northwest Florida area.

The first is about 70 miles northeast of Pensacola, Florida, with Pensacola being about as far west in Florida as you can get.. South of the Ala/Fla line is Blackwater State Forest. North of the line is Conecuh National Forest. Somewhere in the national forest is probably the darkest area for that region.

The second is about 100 miles north of Pensacola, in a triangle formed by Monroeville, Greenville, and Camden Alabama.

Due east of Pensacola at about 160 miles is Apalachicola National Forest. Or about 50 miles southwest of Tallahassee Florida.

Any star parties held there these days? Think there might be interest in one? These seem to be pretty good sites, within reach of a fair number of people. Chiefland and the Winter Star party are probably about this dark but for a fair number of folks in the southeast the sites above would certainly be closer. And they might even be a bit darker. These areas also have a fair bit of private land so space probably wouldn't be an issue if a friendly farmer could be found to lease some land for the event.

Whatcha you guys and gals think?

#2 csa/montana


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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:23 PM

For Star Parties, you might check this post out, to see if there's one around the area you are asking about.

#3 starcanoe


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Posted 08 November 2013 - 06:47 PM

I looked through the list of sky parties and I did not see anything, but it is possible I missed something.

Anybody interested in an informal one in the next 6 months or so?

#4 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 07:56 PM

It has been more than 50 years since I have been to NW Florida/SE Alabama but I do know that if I ever make it back, I will hook with Rod Mollise and the Mobile Astronomical Society.


#5 Achernar



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Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:02 PM

I live in the area, and I can tell you the Conecuh National forest is extremely dark, no light domes are to be seen except from Pensacola and Brewton. Another very dark area can be found near Coffeeville. With respect to the Pensacola and Mobile area, it is very badly light polluted within those cites and for a considerable distance around them. One more area to look at is the vicinity of Port St. Joe Florida, who has no streetlights due to the sea turtles that use the beaches there for nesting sites. I can personally vouch for Conecuh National Forest and Port St. Joe being good places when it comes to dark skies.


#6 starcanoe


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Posted 09 November 2013 - 10:10 AM

Yes, I have been to Conecuh many times. Saw comet Hyakataki (sp?) there and during the best night when the comet was nearly overhead and the tail disappeared into the faint skyglow/minor light pollution/haze on the horizon. I've only accidentally thrown away one important thing in my life (hint it rhymes with once in a lifetime comet negatives). Zodiacal light and that g thingy (I don't spell worth a darn till afternoon :) ) are easy there.

Back in the day was able to get Barnards loop with a 30 second exposure, 400 ASA film, and a F2.8 lens. Not stunning mind you but definitely there.

The best night there was a night with bad fog. You could not see anything lower than about 20 degrees give or take due to the attenuation but OMG the milky way above that literally did look like a milky river. I think the dense fog was putting a serious damper on the "local" light pollution and pretty much blocking out anything a fair distance away.

Haven't been to the other spots I mentioned and you mentioned but I suspect they are even a bit better.

I guess I am wondering why no star parties of any significance are held at one of these places. If you look at a light pollution map of anything east of the Mississippi there just aren't that many dark holes. The ones in this thread are much closer to a good portion of people in the southeast (with some pretty significantly sized population centers) than other famous ones of note).

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