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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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krp
Vendor. DarkSiteFinder.com


Reged: 11/10/10

Loc: Central Illinois
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King new [Re: Tora]
      #5969123 - 07/13/13 02:52 PM

Jim - As Tora said, W-K is in the middle of a blue zone. I can't say for sure which is darker since I've never been to southern Illinois. But I would love to check out the Garden of the Gods area sometime. Next month I will be heading out west to attend a photography school in Montana. So I am looking forward to spending a lot of time in gray and black zones.

Quote:

Back in the late 80s I lived in Littleton, IL for about 2 years so I'm familiar with WK. It was (haven't been back there for nigh on 15 or so years) a pretty primitive area, although now I understand there are electrical hook ups near the entrance. In any case, would you say the views at WK were better/worse/about the same as your excursion to eastern Iowa? (Both are about the same drive time for me (WK might be 30 mins closer) and I was trying to decide which trip to make...

Dan



I drove right through Littleton, a very small town. I believe the electrical hookups are only in the equestrian campground. I don't think you are allowed to stay there without a horse unless it's after November. It's hard to say which is darker, since humidity and dew was an issue. But the Lake Sugema, Iowa area probably wins out by a little bit. When I went there the small campground was a little crowded. You might want to try camping at the nearby Lacey-Keosauqau state park. There are too many trees there so you would still have to setup your telescope by the lake.
Kevin


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Phillip Creed
Idiot Seeking Village
*****

Reged: 07/25/06

Loc: Canton, OH
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King new [Re: krp]
      #5970205 - 07/14/13 11:07 AM

Kevin,

Kudos for the field trip. That Milky Way really looks impressive in those wide-angle shots. For a sky that dark, I'd gladly pack up my gear and drive back to a campsite, but I agree that it's not ready for prime-time as far as a major star party goes, but it looks like if they simply mowed a larger portion of the field you were in they'd have it made.

Maybe if enough stargazers started using the place, the park staff would make the necessary changes, none of which seem really expensive.

Clear Skies,
Phil


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KidOrion
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 07/07/07

Loc: Carbondale, IL
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5972175 - 07/15/13 12:45 PM

JR--

Your summation about southern Illinois is hilariously and disturbingly accurate. But it also has one of the friendliest astronomy clubs in the country.

I have not observed from the blue area to the east of me in the Shawnee; I've directed travelers to observe there in the Garden of the Gods, but have since been told that it's difficult to find a place among the trees and the cliffs to observe within the park.

Less than four hours to the west is a grey zone; I intend to compare GoG with this Missouri grey zone when I get a chance. Carbondale itself puts out an astonishing amount of light and has unfotunately achieved red-zone status. I'd be surprised if the Carbondale-Marion Corridor light dome wasn't visible in the Shawnee.


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: KidOrion]
      #5974996 - 07/16/13 08:48 PM

"But it also has one of the friendliest astronomy clubs in the country."

Oh yeah. The folks are genteel and wonderful, and friendly as could be. I can imagine that the clubs down that-a-way are a blast. Who knows. Maybe I'll move back and farm some bottom land in a few years when I get tired of the rat race once and for all...and when I overcome my paralyzing fears of giant mosquitos and fried foods.

When my maternal grandmother was still alive, and I was in college, I remember flying out for a visit and deciding to cook her some Spaghetti Bolognese. Now grandma Dolly (her real name was Wilma, like Fred's wife, but they called her Dolly - go figure) had a list of things that "didn't agree with her digestion" about a country mile long. That was the reason that I picked "I-talian" food. She'd never eaten, much less heard of anything on the ingredient list other than noodles (albeit her encounter was with the Franco American canned variety) and carrots, so there was no transgression of her "disagreeable foods list". Yeah, I use carrots in my sauce. Sue me.

Anyway, one thing I needed was dry red wine. I head off for the other grandparent's supermarket in Eldorado. Guess what? No wine in the grocery store! Dry county. Off I go up the highway to "Muddy", just across the county line. Bingo - liquor store. Bummer - "The only wine we got is this ch'ere "Mogen David"". :barf:

So a half hour later I find a liquor store in some other county and township further afield that has Paul Mason table red. Good enough. Buy it and back to Omaha. ... ... ... ...

I finally got back, made the sauce, cooked the pasta al dente and served granny her first (and only) authentic I-talian repast ever. It didn't agree with her digestion. But she liked it.

I bet it's changed quite a lot since those days, but that's how I (still like to) remember it. Down home.

Regards,

Jim


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VectorRoll
super member


Reged: 11/27/12

Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5975266 - 07/16/13 11:45 PM

There is this place in the center of the state called Suger Grove Observatory. It is at the Sugar Grove Nature Center in Funks Grove right between Bloomington and Lincoln off Old Route 66 which runs along I-55.

My neighbor is part of the Twin City Amateur Astronomers and he told me of that site. They run it and he said it is open to the public. They have there own little observatory and hold some events there. The place is actually quite nice. I drove up there one day, when I had to go to Bloomington, just to check it out and get an idea on how exactly to get there. It is a very nice place. Not sure how dark it is at night as I never had a chance to get there yet during the night, but from what I have seen when driving between Bloomington and Lincoln at night it gets pretty dark. At least a lot darker than in Lincoln. I think it is a Yellow on the scale for that area but it may be darker than that. It is surrounded by Farm land. I was planning to go to one of there events when I get the chance.

Here is a link to the TCAA site with a little map they have drawn up for directions to the observatory. http://tcaa.us/SGO.aspx

That site might not be as dark as the few state parks not to far off to the west of it but it is another site to think of if anyone is nearby it.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5975373 - 07/17/13 01:36 AM

Jim,

I had a chance to work a couple summers at Cahokia Mounds State Park as an archaeological grunt (dirt pusher). It's just across the Mississippi from St. Louis, and down in the river's flood plain, so nice and swamp-like.

What my father said about St. Louis is pretty much the truth--it's where bad people go when they die. In the summer, the temperature and humidity go down every direction you drive away from St. Louis. I vividly remember seeing steam rising from the river more than once.

We experienced the southern Illinois blood-letting called mosquitos (who easily bit through our shirts, which were completely soaked with sweat and stuck to our skins (didn't mind it on some of the girls, but hey, I was young!)) every day, all day.

We told stories to each other as we worked and sweated:
"There are two sizes of mosquitos here: those small enough to come through the holes in the screen door, and those big enough to open it!"
and
"One day I felt some shade and looked up to see two skeeters hovering over my head. One of them said to the other, 'Do we eat him here or just take him with us?' "

Of course, having grown up in a river valley in SW Indiana, I was used to mosquitos. After all, it was the State Bird of Indiana.

It wasn't until I left Indiana that I realized oysters, shrimp, chicken, okra, eggplant, potatos, tomatos, and fish didn't have to be breaded and fried.

But both southern Illinois and southern Indiana, in those days, had some really dark skies. I grew up with skies of magnitude 6.2 in my back yard, and i lived in a city. That really made being interested in astronomy a lot easier than it is now.

Edited by Starman1 (07/17/13 07:15 PM)


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Illinois
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/18/06

Loc: near Dixon, Illinois USA
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: Starman1]
      #5975568 - 07/17/13 08:45 AM

Hope someday Illinois protect some state park for dark sky! Green zone is not that dark but still good for most people from city!

Mosquitos is problem and LOT in upper Michigan where I look at stars in grey zone!


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: Starman1]
      #5976076 - 07/17/13 02:07 PM

Pensack, I knew there was something else I loved about you.

We're cousins.

(Sparse population joke; south of Springfield *everyone* is blood more or less.)

It's been awhile since I've been back to that part of the country. I do have plans on being there for the North American total solar eclipse in 2017, and if up to it, the next one too, but full totality appears to be on the other side of the river in Kentucky. I was actually thinking or renting or even buying some property on the path of totality, near the maximum, and hosting a daylight star party. A subsequent North American total eclipse in 2024 will also be well viewed from the same exact location, so assuming I'm still kicking it'd be a two-fer.

Regards,

Jim


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VectorRoll
super member


Reged: 11/27/12

Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5976531 - 07/17/13 06:14 PM

I have a bunch of those dastardly Vampire Insects here at my house in Lincoln IL right now. It really makes going out side for just a few minutes to be hard to do. Not sure why they like my blood so much but it is a pain when I have to do outside work around the house. Getting out to view the stars at night is almost a no go with the swarms of them that seems to eat me alive. For some odd reason the Mosquito population seems a lot thicker this year around here than it has in the past few years.

You know what gets me is that the Masquitoes around our house in Mississippi do not bother me as much as the ones here do. And our house there is right next to some swap land. We have Masquitoes there every year, but they seem to more tame than the ones here. Maybe it is because there is more sources of blood (wildlife) there than here where it is mostly Corn and Soybeans. The ones in Mississippi are probably just full. Come to think of it, that must be the reason why they are bigger there as well.


Brings up a question.
What do you all do to deal with the Masquitoes and such when going out to these Dark Sky Sites? Like out in the state parks and such.

The regular Spray On OFF never seemed to work well for me for some reason. But lately I have been testing out one of those Off Clip-On. The seem to work alright but only when the wind is not blowing to much. If the Wind picks up it becomes useless. I had to wear two of them when I was painting my patio deck yesterday just to keep the Masquitoes away. The day before that and today I only needed one to keep them away.
Are there any other products that work well? Some home remedy even? I would like to get some stuff for when I do go out to a Dark Sky site, like a state park or something. Just to be on the side of readiness.


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KidOrion
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 07/07/07

Loc: Carbondale, IL
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: VectorRoll]
      #5976648 - 07/17/13 07:08 PM

You guys complaining about the mosquitoes here in SoIll ought to be here in June for the Giant Horsefly Invasions. I've seen some as big as my thumb sitting on my van while I'm in it, and have refused to get out until they disappear. (They seem to favor silver vehicles for some reason.)

VectorRoll, the Deep Woods Off seems to work pretty well here. I observe a lot in the Crab Orchard Nat'l Wildlife Refuge between Carbondale and Marion, though, and actually the mosquitoes haven't been so bad there. They're actually worse at my house in C'Dale. (Had to use repellent to cut my grass this morning at 11:00.)


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: VectorRoll]
      #5976659 - 07/17/13 07:13 PM

I use liquid DEET on my clothes (not on the skin) and it seems to work well.
I'm not very tasty to mosquitos, though. Too much hot sauce (you've seen the commercial).
Seriously, here is something from the Smithsonian:
Why mosquitos like some people more than others


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KidOrion
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 07/07/07

Loc: Carbondale, IL
Re: Darkest Sky in Illinois - Weinberg-King (?) new [Re: Starman1]
      #5976882 - 07/17/13 09:54 PM

If too much hot sauce keeps mosquitoes away, my presence should clear a whole field (hot sauces and pepper cultivating is a hobby of mine).

I've heard that brewer's yeast is supposed to make one unpalatable to them, but haven't tried it.


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