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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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HellsKitchen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/05/08

Loc: Melbourne Australia
Very cheap land in dark sky areas
      #5578683 - 12/19/12 10:24 AM

I've just been browsing real estate websites and have come across extremely cheap vacant blocks of land being offered in places where no one wants to live. One I am looking at is a half-acre property being advertised for $8000 out in the desert about 150km north of Mildura, Victoria in a tiny village, which has a population of 330. It's an 8-9 hour drive, but my own dark sky property for less than the cost of a premium 16" dob? Why sweat over finding ideal public sites when I can have my own private land for peanuts, in a dry arid location to boot

Looking at the sales history on this particular real estate website, it appears land has been sold in such "undesirable" locations for as little as $2000.

Edited by HellsKitchen (12/19/12 10:30 AM)


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5578726 - 12/19/12 10:55 AM

I've thought about doing exactly the same thing, though where I live, it's tougher to find truly dark areas worth considering. :/

One requirement I'd have would be electricity and some sort of data network availability (even if it's cellular). That limits my choices, I suppose, but there you have it.

-- Chris


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5578752 - 12/19/12 11:20 AM

$8000 sounds to me like a very large amount of money for a half acre of remote, arid land. In places like that a half-acre is considered a postage stamp.

The problems of ownership are myriad; I won't go into that now.

There's a lot to be said for buying a bigger plot; if the half-acre next to you is sold, your investment could become useless for astronomy. On the other hand, you've only lost $8,000.

There's a lot to be said for stargazing on public land. Only governments and very rich organizations can afford plots big enough to protect against light tresspass -- several tens of thousands of acres at the least.


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vsteblina
sage


Reged: 11/05/07

Loc: Wenatchee, Washington
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5578768 - 12/19/12 11:29 AM

There are private in holdings xwithin every National FOrest and public domain lands.


That's probably the best bet.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5578779 - 12/19/12 11:36 AM

Quote:

I've just been browsing real estate websites and have come across extremely cheap vacant blocks of land being offered in places where no one wants to live. One I am looking at is a half-acre property being advertised for $8000 out in the desert about 150km north of Mildura, Victoria in a tiny village, which has a population of 330. It's an 8-9 hour drive, but my own dark sky property for less than the cost of a premium 16" dob? Why sweat over finding ideal public sites when I can have my own private land for peanuts, in a dry arid location to boot

Looking at the sales history on this particular real estate website, it appears land has been sold in such "undesirable" locations for as little as $2000.




I don't know what taxes and such are in Australia, it might be a reasonable thing or it may end up costing you real money. Water, electricity, if you want these amenities, you will pay. You might find road repair is needed... I don't know.

I also don't know how difficult it is to find public access to land under dark skies. Around here, it's easy, lots of National Forest lands, Bureau of Land Management Land, finding a place to set up is not a problem...

Jon


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mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5578867 - 12/19/12 12:56 PM

FYI ... 1/2 acre is roughly a square 160' on a side.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: mich_al]
      #5578907 - 12/19/12 01:17 PM

I'm very blessed to have 20 acres in a rural area, with only one neighbor. Very dark skies. At the time of purchase, it was apprx. $2,000 an acre, including the house; that was in 1989. The price now has skyrocketed!

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wky46
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: west Ky.
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5579132 - 12/19/12 03:18 PM

I'd say the average price of rural property around me is probably around $2000-$3000 an acre with timber/mineral/agriculture potential, so $8000 for a 1/2 acre seems crazy money for what kind of land you describe. But then again, it must be the norm for other countries

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5579265 - 12/19/12 04:56 PM

I like the idea as well. Most of the best observing locations on public land anyway lack potable water, electricity proximity to fuel, food, and medical care. The advantage of "owning it" rather than just visiting it is the ability to exclude others and guarantee availability for your own use without prior arrangement. My idea is to get such a patch of land, have a new, unrusted, watertight shipping container delivered there, and store mid-range equipment, including camping supplies, in the container so there's no pre-trip packing needed. But I want at least 100 acres as I want a substantial buffer against potential future development.

I've been looking at a 163 acre old Mexican Land Grant property in San Benito County off and on for a few years. I have had the owner tentatively down to $89k (from a $180k asking price). The nice thing about this property is that one of the ridges in the middle of the property has been cleared of trees and leveled and a dirt driveway cut and compressed leading up to it.

The disadvantages of such "boonies" properties are that if you have any significant assets at all, you'll want to insure the property (yes, even trespassers can sue!), you may be required to abate brush where it borders public roadways in fire season, and there's very low resale probability (the one I've nibbled at has been available for more than 2 years) so it's not liquid.

I also have my eye on a 265 acre mining property in the same general area that has been on the market for a few years.

Regards,

Jim


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Ed D
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 04/30/10

Loc: Sunny South Florida
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5579524 - 12/19/12 08:02 PM

HellsKitchen, if having your own little dark sky site makes you happy I say go for it. Just make sure you think about all that goes with it, as has been pointed out.

For me, I can't thank all of you enough for making me feel so good about paying the extremely small fees to access dark skies at our national parks. Really!

Ed D

Edited by Ed D (12/19/12 08:10 PM)


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bherv
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/10/06

Loc: WMass
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5579530 - 12/19/12 08:06 PM

That is basically how our nonprofit club Arunah Hill got started. Two brothers bought several acres on a hill in western MA. Others bought some of the abutting land and after Arunah Hill Natural Science Center was established they donated the land. During the 1990's the membership cleared 5 acres of forest and the National Guard cleared all the stumps and terraced the land, with the club picking up the costs for their fuel and food. We now own over 60 acres under dark skies and continue to make improvements to the property. I consider myself fortunate to have access to this site and the equipment.
Barry


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HellsKitchen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/05/08

Loc: Melbourne Australia
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: bherv]
      #5580152 - 12/20/12 07:19 AM

This particular property is located in the center of town within walking distance to amenities and stuff, (but only 330 population - and the nearest population center is 150km away) which is probably the reason for its price. Still, compared to what blocks a quarter the size go for in the big cities, 8000 bucks is peanuts.

The website advertising it shows a list of recently sold properties in the area, some for under $2000. might have to keep looking. Still, it's not a bad idea, having your own land in a black zone for the price of a premium dob or 4" APO It's yours, don't have to worry about strangers, answer to anyone, pay fees and what not. And is available whenever you want.

Edited by HellsKitchen (12/20/12 07:20 AM)


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5580577 - 12/20/12 12:30 PM

Quote:

This particular property is located in the center of town




Even in a very small village of 330 people, there's bound to be light pollution; and who knows what business "might" come next door to this property.


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davidpitre
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/05

Loc: Central Texas
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5581724 - 12/21/12 12:04 AM

I am a farmer that owns several farms in several areas. Rural land typically is priced to sell at larger acreages. When someone in a rural area talks about the average price per acre they are talking typically at least 20 acres. Of course 1/2 acre is going to sell for for more per acre than a large tract. I would not consider $8K a lot for a small tract in a podunk town.
I agree that owning a tract of land has many benefits. If nothing else it can regularly get one out. As mentioned, it can also be a good place to keep a dark sky set-up. My friend has a cabin in a similar sounding small village in Terlingua, Texas near Big Bend. Though I live in a rural area, I often drive 7 hours to stay out there. It's quiet, picturesque, and extremely dark. It's also just a fun get away.


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izar187
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/02/06

Loc: 43N
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: davidpitre]
      #5581757 - 12/21/12 12:41 AM

My family has owned land under remote dark sky. If you own it, but don't live there, then you can't actually keep others out. Not really. Pretty hard to influence what others are doing to development in the area either. Residing there has distinct advantages. I can't, so I use public land. To my mind, if you can, it is a much more economical way to go. Even though it has no amenities.

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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: davidpitre]
      #5581764 - 12/21/12 12:52 AM

HK, what I see here as THE major drawback in the deal is the distance involved. An 8-9 hour drive is far from a trivial matter and unless you've physically examined the property first hand and enquired with the town's governing body about any future development plans, this does not sound to me like a very good idea. Having visited Australia and the Outback, I cannot image that it is necessary to travel anywhere near this far just to reach really good skies. The old and very true adage is that observing site/telescope use is inversely proportional to the distance traveled to reach it.

BrookObs

Edited by BrooksObs (12/21/12 12:55 AM)


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #5581778 - 12/21/12 01:19 AM

I say visit the place, spend a few days, talk to people, consider whatever is upwind (mines, industrial developments, etc.). Water? Does the city provide it? Wells in this country are very, very expensive. Will you build? Camp? Is there a hospital? Clinic. What will your neighbors be like? I'd do one heck of a lot of research before I dumped 8K for a 1/2 acre lot in a small town---anywhere.

Dark skies.

Jack


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5581940 - 12/21/12 06:48 AM

Quote:

This particular property is located in the center of town within walking distance to amenities and stuff, (but only 330 population - and the nearest population center is 150km away) which is probably the reason for its price.




Obviously you need to go and look at the place. But it seems pretty crazy to drive hours out into the wayback and then go to the middle of a town. At very best, the site won't be nearly as good as one half the distance with nobody else around.

The lights from a single house 1/4 mile away are a major nuisance. And I'm talking just about the light that spills out from the windows. A "security light" 1/4 mile away would be a total disaster.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5582055 - 12/21/12 08:41 AM

Quote:

Quote:

This particular property is located in the center of town




Even in a very small village of 330 people, there's bound to be light pollution; and who knows what business "might" come next door to this property.




Yea, oil company's just love to find nice, out of the way little towns like this and build giant light factories so eighteeen wheelers can refuel.


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Bill Weir
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/01/04

Loc: Metchosin (Victoria), Canada
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5583391 - 12/21/12 11:38 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

I've been playing around on Google Earth with this. Is the town somewhere around Pooncarie? If it is then I say go for it. This is if you think you are up to a drive like that regularly in order to observe/use as a vaction place. If anything it looks like a half decent place to eventually retire to. Street view shows very little street lighting and generally getting to out of the way places looks easy. All the pessimistic talk about potential societal buildup looks to not be realistic. I think many don't realize how big Australia is and how small your population is.

I think that from a small town like that, if you built light shielding fencing around where you want to observe from you would have a limiting magnitude most people in the US could only dream of.

Would you be cosidering building a small house on the property? I'd also seriously look at how people get their water. If you are tapping into public then that's easy. I live on a well and sinking one of those can be expensive.

To give people an idea this is what looks like the buisiest street in that town.

Bill


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5583445 - 12/22/12 12:32 AM

Bill, you can never rely on Google Street View as any sort of indicator of what even a small, remote, town might look like at night these days.

About 30 years ago I visited Alice Springs in the middle of the Australian Outback. A more remote and isolated place anywhere on earth is hard to imagine and I anticipated really dark skies there. Well, by day it was a quaint small town, but by night it had some of the worst local light pollution I've ever seen, to the degree that the surrounding hills a mile or two out of town were brightly illuminated by reflection!

A 1/2 acre (that is really pretty small) plot within any town is a bad choice in my mind and as pointed out upstream already, all you need is one neighbor with even one big outdoor light and you site is ruined.

BrooksObs


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HellsKitchen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/05/08

Loc: Melbourne Australia
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5583456 - 12/22/12 12:40 AM

Obviously I would certainly do my homework before plonking down the cash. I'm not going to jump in, as a cheaper block could come up more away from light sources at any time. But if I were to I would definately check it out myself and spend a couple of weekends in town to suss out the place.

If the area were to ever get developed, that could only be a good thing.... sell the land for a big multiple of what I paid for it

I don't mind the drive, once a month for a big weekend session is nothing really. Plus the area gets very favourable weather, the nearest station claims 150 clear days, only about 50 days with observed precipitation with about 260mm annual total and approx 3200 hours of sunshine.

Edited by HellsKitchen (12/22/12 12:47 AM)


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BPO
sage


Reged: 02/23/10

Loc: South Island, NZ
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5583574 - 12/22/12 03:57 AM

Hi. I bought a remote 200 acre mountaintop site around 15 years ago, and it's wonderful to have, but the effort and cost involved in actually getting to it and using the site meant I eventually had to relocate nearby. It was the only way I'd ever truly get my money's worth. Just something to consider.

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edwincjones
Close Enough
*****

Reged: 04/10/04

Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: BPO]
      #5583628 - 12/22/12 06:32 AM

lessons from above
-more land the better
-need to live on or at least be close
-lot of time, effort, money
-one bad neighbor can undermine

I got 23 acres in a semirural area,
built house and observatory,
now in city limits with mag 4.5 skies
but still 200 yards from door to scope

edj


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mikewirths
Vendor-Baja Dark Skies
*****

Reged: 06/16/08

Loc: San Pedro Martir Mexico
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5610262 - 01/07/13 01:42 PM

My Wife and I were lucky enough to find a 1200 acre piece of private property here in northern Baja Mexico. The price per acre came out to be about $1000! That was with a year-round running stream for water, 5000' elevation, black zone skies, and 300+ nights a year with clear skies! The only downside was we had off roaders (Mexican, American, and Canadians) constantly crossing our property, after putting up gates and getting quite irrate with them we seem to have finally won!
The trick here in Mexico is to find pieces of land with title, not the so called communal ejido land which is tricky to buy!

cheers

Mike


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: mikewirths]
      #5611180 - 01/07/13 11:47 PM

I'd be more worried with security in Mexico given their political situation down there. Did you build a house, etc?

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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Raginar]
      #5611246 - 01/08/13 12:23 AM

Also ... for those looking at land in remote or underdeveloped areas, do your homework with the county. Find out if there are exploratory or capped gas or oil wells. Find out who owns the mineral rights. Many oil companies own the rights or have the rights leased to them to the gas and oil on these lands. It would be a major letdown to find the 'perfect' spot only to have a natural gas well uncapped and production started.

and just as important, find out the access and right of way to the land. You may find a great 5 or 10 area plot as part of an undeveloped sale, but your access to it may be at the behest of the adjoining land owners. Much to consider when searching for that great dark site ...

Edited by BlueGrass (01/08/13 12:36 AM)


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Raginar]
      #5611428 - 01/08/13 07:06 AM

Quote:

I'd be more worried with security in Mexico given their political situation down there.




Mexico is a very big and very varied place. Not a lot of narco traffic in the mountains of mid-Baja, I'm sure.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5611536 - 01/08/13 08:59 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I'd be more worried with security in Mexico given their political situation down there.




Mexico is a very big and very varied place. Not a lot of narco traffic in the mountains of mid-Baja, I'm sure.




Hey, at least they have a functioning government....


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5611625 - 01/08/13 10:02 AM

Let's stay on topic, please.

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5611631 - 01/08/13 10:08 AM

Sold!

I see "BEER" on a sign.



- Jim


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TL2101
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/17/10

Loc: Concord, Ca
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5612548 - 01/08/13 07:11 PM

I lucked out on the very cheap part my daughter and her husband own property in Avery Ca near New Melones Lake and my brother just purchased 2.5 acres near Lake Shasta. Now I can boat, fish and have a private dark site for astronomy and didn't cost me a cent. I just hope I don't over stay my welcome.

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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: TL2101]
      #5612755 - 01/08/13 09:26 PM

I was generalizing based on my limited knowledge of the geo-political situation and my knowledge of the Texas-Arizonia border? Is baja-California significantly better?

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mikewirths
Vendor-Baja Dark Skies
*****

Reged: 06/16/08

Loc: San Pedro Martir Mexico
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Raginar]
      #5612930 - 01/08/13 11:32 PM

Chris--- as Tony stated Mexico is a very large and varied country. Based on 5+ years of living here my Wife and I feel very secure. Besides we are so off the beaten track that I feel we are not any sort of target, but crimes happen in all countries so we have IR motion sensors on our road to tell us of any foot or car traffic. Baja California is very low on the spectrum of per capita violent crimes, especially once you go south of Tijuana. Also we get TSP dark skies coupled with sub arcsecond seeing a lot of the time!

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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Raginar]
      #5613202 - 01/09/13 06:58 AM

Quote:

I was generalizing based on my limited knowledge of the geo-political situation and my knowledge of the Texas-Arizonia border? Is baja-California significantly better?




Even a single state in Mexico -- Baja California -- is enormous. It stretches as far north-south as the distance from Chicago to New Orleans.

Northern Baja is in turmoil like everywhere else near the border. Far-southern Baja has been developed for tourists. In between are mountains, cactus, and peace.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: mikewirths]
      #5613291 - 01/09/13 08:37 AM Attachment (19 downloads)

Quote:

Chris--- as Tony stated Mexico is a very large and varied country. Based on 5+ years of living here my Wife and I feel very secure. Besides we are so off the beaten track that I feel we are not any sort of target, but crimes happen in all countries so we have IR motion sensors on our road to tell us of any foot or car traffic. Baja California is very low on the spectrum of per capita violent crimes, especially once you go south of Tijuana. Also we get TSP dark skies coupled with sub arcsecond seeing a lot of the time!




Mike is up in the mountains on a road to nowhere. Baja is a long, narrow peninsula with a range of mountains running down the northern part. Mike is on the western slope of the San Pedro Martir's on a road that only goes further into the mountains but does not go over the mountains. Drug traffic is north-south...

We all should be envious of Mike and his hideaway, great seeing, dark skies... down south... One of these days I am going to visit Mike and his 30 inch Starmaster.

Baja Dark Skies Inn

Back on topic.. My wife and I bought 4 acres about 70 miles east of San Diego. It has about 1000 square feet of living space, a garage large enough to handle a few scopes, a well, electricity and a septic system... these are important amenities. The skies are reasonably dark and it's a little more than an hours drive... And for security, we have our neighbor Rollie who keeps a careful eye on the place.

After searching for the ideal dark site, we decided a long trip would be impractical and maintaining the property would be a hassle. This property is practical.

For truly dark sky observing, we have an older motor home... we take the amenities with us, we are going to have to drive any place worth going to so might as well drive a motor home... With a motorhome we pay more for gas but the hassle of owning a distant piece of property, security, none of that. We have been some amazing places...

Jon

Edited by Jon Isaacs (01/09/13 08:42 AM)


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Skooter
member


Reged: 08/30/12

Loc: middle TN
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5613305 - 01/09/13 08:46 AM

Would love to buy a few acres in northern AZ. Prices are quite reasonable. What's intimidating are the costs after purchase, such as insurance, fencing and security. And since we can't leave TN yet for anything more than a week or two per year, I'm afraid it'll have to remain just a dream for now.

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wky46
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: west Ky.
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5613424 - 01/09/13 10:01 AM

Jon's got the right idea using a mobile home. My wife and I live on a 50 acre farm in a green zone. I get some awefully nice, dark views several degrees east and west of zenith but that makes me only yearn for more. Getting a camper or mobile home and visiting dark sites throughout the US has been our dream for 20 yrs. (ok, the 'dark' part of it is my idea )..... Phil

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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Skooter]
      #5613561 - 01/09/13 11:43 AM

Quote:

Would love to buy a few acres in northern AZ. Prices are quite reasonable. What's intimidating are the costs after purchase, such as insurance, fencing and security. And since we can't leave TN yet for anything more than a week or two per year, I'm afraid it'll have to remain just a dream for now.




Be aware, though, that Northern AZ gets seriously cold in winter. Good skies but if you're expecting warm winters, look elsewhere.


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Skooter
member


Reged: 08/30/12

Loc: middle TN
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Kfrank]
      #5613577 - 01/09/13 11:51 AM

True. We're thinking Kingman area (at a lower elevation)might be the best compromise for an actual place to live in semi-retirement...and still within an hour or two of truely dark skies, solitude, favorable weather, and wide open spaces.

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Skooter]
      #5614053 - 01/09/13 04:40 PM

Quote:

True. We're thinking Kingman area (at a lower elevation)might be the best compromise for an actual place to live in semi-retirement...and still within an hour or two of truely dark skies, solitude, favorable weather, and wide open spaces.




Kingman is pretty nice but it does get quite windy and it is a good sized city. Silver City, New Mexico is pretty sweet. It gets cold, it gets warm but it is very often clear and dark skies are not far at all. It's very similar to Prescott and Flagstaff in terms of altitude but as of yet, it has not been discovered.

Jon


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tedbnh
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5615158 - 01/10/13 10:02 AM

Have you looked into the Granite Gap development south of Lordsburg, NM? If you are in a hurry it might not be the place for you (my observatory has been a slab of concrete for more than a year) but you could not ask for a better community of fellow observers, upwards of 50 now. Progress is being made. (Disclosure - I have a standard lease on 1/4 acre and an observatory under construction at GG.) There's a yahoo group called GraniteGap for more information. Great skies and nice people. I like the vibe. I've visited 3 times and am storing my 18.5" Starmaster out there until my observatory is complete. Last February's week of observing was the best of my life, although it's a bit of a hike from New Hampshire. :-) Glad to answer any questions offline.

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Mr. Bill
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/09/05

Loc: Northeastern Cal
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: tedbnh]
      #5615910 - 01/10/13 05:15 PM

I bought the GG 6 month RV site 99 year lease and 1/4 acre for a future observatory with the option to make it a 12 month RV site lease and put a permanent trailer. This would have electrical, water, sewage, and internet hookups.

Seems like a great value for the money, solves the security issues, has light restrictions in place, and lots of potential for an astronomy community.



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HellsKitchen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/05/08

Loc: Melbourne Australia
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5998322 - 07/30/13 12:23 PM

I just happened to jump on the real estate websites today and found a land that costs barely more than my SDM!

There is a 1720 sq meter property going for $4800 in a remote NSW town called Nymagee. This town has a population of 103, and lookng on Google Earth, there is all of 20 buildings along the main street. The next biggest town, Cobar (population 5200) is 75km away as the crow flies. The place is accessible from Melbourne by paved roads so no worries about bouncing along washboard dirt. The skies here cannot be anything but full on black zone. Straight line distance to Sydney is 500km and to Melbourne 660km.

It is a long drive, but not out of the realms of a weekend. If anything, the remoteness means you can floor it without having to worry about cops


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FJA
Sketcher Extraordinaire
*****

Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: 50.65° N, 1.15° W
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5998343 - 07/30/13 12:34 PM

Quote:

I just happened to jump on the real estate websites today and found a land that costs barely more than my SDM!

There is a 1720 sq meter property going for $4800 in a remote NSW town called Nymagee. This town has a population of 103, and lookng on Google Earth, there is all of 20 buildings along the main street. The next biggest town, Cobar (population 5200) is 75km away as the crow flies. The place is accessible from Melbourne by paved roads so no worries about bouncing along washboard dirt. The skies here cannot be anything but full on black zone. Straight line distance to Sydney is 500km and to Melbourne 660km.

It is a long drive, but not out of the realms of a weekend. If anything, the remoteness means you can floor it without having to worry about cops




Good luck with it if you decide to do it! I wish I could do that and, if I ever win a large sum of dosh on the lottery I am buying land in a remote, arid area and moving away from here! Win the lottery and I AM GONE FROM HERE!


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HellsKitchen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/05/08

Loc: Melbourne Australia
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: FJA]
      #5998369 - 07/30/13 12:50 PM

Thanks Faith! For that price, I am darn well tempted, this lot is 75km from the nearest population center of Cobar which is only 5200, the nearest 10,000+ town is Dubbo (33,000), 215km away. The skies here cannot be anything than pure black zone. Looking up the weather data for the nearest station ( Cobar), mean rainfall is 349mm (14"), mean no of rain days (>0.2mm) is 67.3, mean number of clear days 158.9 and average annual sunshine hours is 9.0 per day.

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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5998423 - 07/30/13 01:12 PM

Quote:

I just happened to jump on the real estate websites today and found a land that costs barely more than my SDM!

There is a 1720 sq meter property going for $4800 in a remote NSW town called Nymagee. This town has a population of 103, and lookng on Google Earth, there is all of 20 buildings along the main street.




1720 square meters is minuscule; it means that your nearest neighbors could be just 30 meters away. If your neighbors on both sides have bright porch lights, being in the black zone won't help you one little bit.

However, it should also be easy to find a good spot not too far from town where you don't have to worry about nearby lights.


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Ed Wiley
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Kansas, USA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5999091 - 07/30/13 08:50 PM

I went in the opposite direction and have an observatory in my backyard under (at best) mag 4ish skies. I simply pick projects that I can do, imaging and measuring variable stars and double stars. No end to the projects that do not depend on really dark skies, even including spectrometry if I wished. This puts me in the observatory in 5 minutes anytime I wish when skies are clear.

But, I do love dark skies, and am lucky to belong to a club with a dark sky site (ASKC) about 60 miles south of Kansas City. And I am a regular attendee of the TSP and Okie-Tex. Between the ASKC site and two star parties I get all the dark sky experience I need each year without pain or desire of ownership.

Ed


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #5999158 - 07/30/13 09:33 PM

Quote:

Why sweat over finding ideal public sites when I can have my own private land for peanuts, in a dry arid location to boot




This was once my dream. Doubt now that I will ever have a truly dark site.


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bunyon
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: GeneT]
      #5999715 - 07/31/13 09:20 AM

I just want to echo Tony's comments. Buying land in a town seems a really bad way to get dark skies. 103 people can make a lot of light if they put their mind to it. If there aren't local light ordinances (against a lot of light, not for a lot of light), I would not buy land in a small town with the hope of observing from there. If you just want to live closer to dark skies but not completely isolated, then, sure, it might be a nice little village to move to.

I grew up in a town of about 800 and in the 70s, it was fairly dark. I've been back in the last few years and town is not, by any means, dark. It's obviously darker than the city of 200K I live in now but local lights are bad and there are a couple of businesses with all-night lighting. 15 miles out of town, over the hill, is excellent. But in town would not be a good place to move for observing.


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HellsKitchen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/05/08

Loc: Melbourne Australia
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: bunyon]
      #5999817 - 07/31/13 10:33 AM

Quote:

I just want to echo Tony's comments. Buying land in a town seems a really bad way to get dark skies. 103 people can make a lot of light if they put their mind to it. If there aren't local light ordinances (against a lot of light, not for a lot of light), I would not buy land in a small town with the hope of observing from there. If you just want to live closer to dark skies but not completely isolated, then, sure, it might be a nice little village to move to.

I grew up in a town of about 800 and in the 70s, it was fairly dark. I've been back in the last few years and town is not, by any means, dark. It's obviously darker than the city of 200K I live in now but local lights are bad and there are a couple of businesses with all-night lighting. 15 miles out of town, over the hill, is excellent. But in town would not be a good place to move for observing.




This "town" consists of this:


I don't actually know exactly where the block is situated, I'll have to call the agent to find that out. If it's anywhere away from this tiny collection of buildings, then it's a winner. Only worry is the long drive, but that's what long weekends and sick days are for It is after all only $4800 for a black-zone property in a semi-arid climate with 158 clear days per year... and Australia is notorious for its high real estate prices....

Another place I'm looking at is Mt Hope in NSW, not far from the above location but slightly closer to me. The place basically consists of 10 buildings. There are 2 blocks for sale @ $3900 each, the real estate site says "2 blocks in total at 2300 sq meters, don't know if that means each block is 2300m sq, or if both combined. If it's the former, that is a good price.

Edited by HellsKitchen (07/31/13 11:04 AM)


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LoveChina61
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 06/20/09

Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: HellsKitchen]
      #6036410 - 08/20/13 12:34 PM

I am on the lookout for a nice retirement place with good skies as well. I am torn between trying to find a truly dark site to settle in (sounds lonely), versus being on the outskirts of a fairly dark area yet still with reasonable access to the anemities of a bigger city. I might just end up purchasing a piece of residential property in southeast Phoenix like Queens Creek. I would still be in the suburbs but could dimly see the Milky Way at night and would get a lot of use out of a backyard observatory. My wife would be happy to still be near the big city, yet 1/2 drive to the east would put me at Picket Post where the skies are pretty phenomenal (except back towards the west where Phoenix is). An hour or two drive in most any direction would put you in very dark skies.

Arizona, here I come!


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #6036421 - 08/20/13 12:41 PM

Be warned that vast swatchs of AZ are subject to very windy conditions that blow all that sand/dust at near hurricaine speeds...........and they come up quickly, almost without notice.......

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Seldom
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/05/12

Loc: N of Cedar City Light Dome
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6036444 - 08/20/13 12:50 PM

Quote:

Be warned that vast swatchs of AZ are subject to very windy conditions that blow all that sand/dust at near hurricaine speeds...........and they come up quickly, almost without notice.......



Same here. Blew the cups off my anemometer twice.


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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6036509 - 08/20/13 01:23 PM

Quote:

Be warned that vast swatchs of AZ are subject to very windy conditions that blow all that sand/dust at near hurricaine speeds...........and they come up quickly, almost without notice.......




Well, it's really not THAT bad here...


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Tom Polakis
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/20/04

Loc: Tempe, Arizona
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6036683 - 08/20/13 02:47 PM

Quote:

Be warned that vast swatchs of AZ are subject to very windy conditions that blow all that sand/dust at near hurricaine speeds...........and they come up quickly, almost without notice.......





It sounds like you are referring to a period during summer than lasts about 10 weeks, when the conditions are so cloudy that you would not be observing anyway. The other 40-plus weeks are generally calm, and particularly so at night.

Tom


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ADW
member


Reged: 07/26/13

Loc: Penticton, BC, Canada
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: bunyon]
      #6037030 - 08/20/13 06:05 PM

I (a Canadian) wanted to retire in Arizona or New Mexico in a high altitude astronomy village, but my American wife flatly refused to leave British Columbia's almost free and very good medical system which she has been a major user of during the 39 years since she married me and moved to Canada. So we looked for the darkest available skies in British Columbia's semi-arid southern Okanagan Valley. We have just one-quarter acre in the village of Skaha Estates, only 10km south of the small city of Penticton (area population about 50,000). Skaha Estates voted to be streetlight-free in a referendum decades ago, because the citizens recognized that the night sky was a part of nature, just like the over-abundant deer. My neighbours all know that I have an observatory and are very considerate with their lighting.

The zodiacal light is instantly visible in January through March as soon as I step out onto my deck, without any dark adaption needed. The Gegenschein is occasionally visible in October. My sky has gotten darker during the 16 years that we have lived here! The Weyerhauser sawmill shut down in the village of Okanagan Falls and now I can occasionally see the faint zodiacal band that lies between the Gegenschein and the bright zodiacal light. My neighbours do have lights spilling out of their living room windows and porch lights in the evening, but this is a retirement community and almost everybody is in bed with their lights off by 11pm. I do almost all of my deep-sky observing after midnight, when my neighbours's lights usually are all off.

The classic observatory is on a hilltop, but that exposes you to distant lights in the line of sight. I am down on the valley floor below nearby low ridges and that and dense cedar hedges and grape vines protect me from distant lights. My observatory walls finish the job.

Certainly there are nights when there are too many lights on in the neighborhood to do serious observing, but I get enough opportunities that most of my Sky&Tel articles result from my backyard observatory's equatorially-mounted 16-inch located on the valley floor across the street from Skaha Lake.

I know that I have been lucky, but careful study before we bought has worked out very well for me. Darker sites are available in the nearby mountains, but I really appreciate not having to drive home late at night.

Alan Whitman


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Illinois
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/18/06

Loc: near Dixon, Illinois USA
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: ADW]
      #6037841 - 08/21/13 07:59 AM

Illinois land is very expensive! Upper Michigan land is cheaper but short summer and nothing much there unless you love woods and ski in winter. My wife and I don't want live there and too far from Chicago. Nice place for vacation. Now I live near Dixon and nice home with one acre. Its 2 hours west of Chicago. Wild open view from East to south and west. Few trees far away. some light pollution is north is Dixon. 15 minutes drive south to Green River state park is green zone. Plan to own observatory or dome in my backyard. Most of vacation is drive to dark sky during no Moon.

Edited by Illinois (08/21/13 08:01 AM)


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csrlice12
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Very cheap land in dark sky areas new [Re: Illinois]
      #6038397 - 08/21/13 01:50 PM

Lived in MI, SkeeterWorld!

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