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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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JimMo
I'd Rather Do It Myself


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Under the SE Michigan lightdom...
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5611462 - 01/08/13 07:49 AM

Quote:

To be honest about this, Michigan is just like anywhere else in the Midwest three seasons of the year. It's only during winter that those lake-effect clouds set in.

My (admittedly limited) experience from visiting my in-law in Ann Arbor during the winter is that winter does get some clear skies -- but it always comes in short bursts, typical an hour or two long, and quite unpredictable. That really puts a premium on grab-and-go scopes!




Yes, I have a small refractor on a Voyager mount that gets the most use. Yes, I do admit isn't always cloudy here, many times it is clear for a few days in a row, usually around full Moon. My solar scope doesn't care if the Moon is around or not so it gets used a lot, too. When I said 6-8 times a year I meant when using my dob under moonless darker skies.

Here is a Nasa photo that represents a pretty typical Michigan weather pattern from November-March.


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edwincjones
Close Enough
*****

Reged: 04/10/04

Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5611467 - 01/08/13 08:00 AM

Quote:



In Southeast Alaska, aside from Haines and Skagway, the only way to get across the mountains is by foot (takes several days, and tough to carry a telescope!) or airplane.





not for a dedicated observer

edj


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JIMZ7
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/22/05

Loc: S.E.Michigan near DTW
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Ed D]
      #5611491 - 01/08/13 08:24 AM

Ed D the darkest skies I ever saw was thru the Everglades in the Wintertime. All the stars looked like 1st & 2nd magnitude. I had to blink many times to adjust my eyes to the "heavenly glow". It was almost scary to see skies so dark! Jim Mo that satellite view of Michigan in the Winter fits like a glove--in our case a "mitten".

Jim


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uniondrone
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/05/09

Loc: Streetlight Archipelago
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: uniondrone]
      #5611954 - 01/08/13 01:26 PM


If this thread were titled which state's residents like to complain the most about bad astronomy conditions, I'm sure Michigan would win hands down!

All joking aside, we might have it worse than many--and especially this time of year--but it's not quite as terrible as we all like to think it is. Sure, it's no high desert plain, but this past summer when half the country was grumbling about perpetual clouds, SE Michigan was averaging at least two clear nights per week.


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mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: uniondrone]
      #5612232 - 01/08/13 04:05 PM

Clear nights are at a resonable number to me but the number of nights with good seeing and transparency is sure a lot less. Nights of very good skies are sure at a minimum.

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tvoydan
sage


Reged: 09/21/05

Loc: Metro Detroit
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: mich_al]
      #5612377 - 01/08/13 05:34 PM

Here's another vote for Michigan. Just 3 imaging days in over a month. And that was pushing it. Unknown when I'll get a few more days in. Already looking south for spring visual observing. By then I'll forget what color the sun is. If it even exists... just a rumor in these parts...

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JimK
Skygazer
*****

Reged: 09/18/05

Loc: Albuquerque, NM USA
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5612481 - 01/08/13 06:37 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I'm with Tony on that Alaska thing or the north west coast of my island and up the BC coast. If it's not rain/cloud it's wind, which are regularly hurricaine force.




The farther north you get, the wetter it gets.

But the real kicker for people in the Alaska Panhandle is that you can't get away from it. In Portland OR it may be cloudy all winter, but you always have the option of driving across the mountains to the desert.

In Southeast Alaska, aside from Haines and Skagway, the only way to get across the mountains is by foot (takes several days, and tough to carry a telescope!) or airplane.


And I believe in Alaska there's also that thing called "Northern Lights" when its is dark and clear. This astro web page / click here, gave me a chuckle.

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eros312
super member
*****

Reged: 02/14/09

Loc: Tampa, FL
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: la200o]
      #5612530 - 01/08/13 07:00 PM

I'd say anywhere downwind of the Great Lakes is pretty bad. I used to live in Buffalo, NY and winters can be pretty depressing.

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Jb32828
sage
*****

Reged: 08/01/10

Loc: Orlando, FL USA
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: JimK]
      #5612535 - 01/08/13 07:02 PM

Heres a vote for Florida where since Memorial Day weeknd of last year, I have had a total of 6 nights of weather capable of doing any decent imaging. And guess what this new moon brings - yet another cloudy washout.

It used to be that it would storm here something fierce in the summers every day at 3pm but have a reasonably clear sky at night and through the overnight hours but the last 2 years has been like living in a hot bizarro version of Seattle!


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Jb32828]
      #5612666 - 01/08/13 08:39 PM

Quote:

Heres a vote for Florida where since Memorial Day weeknd of last year, I have had a total of 6 nights of weather capable of doing any decent imaging. And guess what this new moon brings - yet another cloudy washout.

It used to be that it would storm here something fierce in the summers every day at 3pm but have a reasonably clear sky at night and through the overnight hours but the last 2 years has been like living in a hot bizarro version of Seattle!




Yep, It's been exactly 1 year since I've pulled out the telescopes as I've spent the time building an observatory. I was upset that I had taken a building break, and would now lose most of another winter viewing "season".

In reality I've missed maybe 2 good nights!


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dan777
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/16/07

Loc: Indiana
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Wmacky]
      #5612782 - 01/08/13 09:49 PM

I would vote for Michigan, where I USED to live We had one or two clear nights each month in the winter. On top of that, I lived 8 miles north of Detroit city limits. Talk about a light dome, in the summer I could barely see Sagittarius and Scorpius.

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

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: dan777]
      #5613858 - 01/09/13 02:52 PM

Los Angeles has to come close.
I've observed, on a clear night, from a house in the Hollywood Hills, and the night sky was blue, like permanent twilight. In Orion, on the merdian at the time, Rigel, Saiph, Bellatrix, and Betelgeuse and the 3 belt stars (Alnilam, Alnitak, Mintaka) were visible, and with difficulty. Period. My SQM (for those familiar with this tool) read mag. 16.6, about the same as 20 minutes after sunset in my dark site.
We estimated the naked eye limiting magnitude around 3.
On the best night I've ever seen here (no moon, dry, quiet air, and after midnight) We've gotten to an NELM of 4.5.
Plus, hazy most of the time.
Not auspicious for astronomy.


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t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5613885 - 01/09/13 03:04 PM

Syracuse NY...63 clear days, 98 partly sunny, 46% sunlight...the lowest in ALL of New York state to include Buffalo and Rochester!!! And #1 for snowfall!

http://goldensnowglobe.com/current-top-10-snowiest-cities/



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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5614044 - 01/09/13 04:36 PM

Quote:

Los Angeles has to come close.
I've observed, on a clear night, from a house in the Hollywood Hills, and the night sky was blue, like permanent twilight. In Orion, on the merdian at the time, Rigel, Saiph, Bellatrix, and Betelgeuse and the 3 belt stars (Alnilam, Alnitak, Mintaka) were visible, and with difficulty. Period. My SQM (for those familiar with this tool) read mag. 16.6, about the same as 20 minutes after sunset in my dark site.
We estimated the naked eye limiting magnitude around 3.
On the best night I've ever seen here (no moon, dry, quiet air, and after midnight) We've gotten to an NELM of 4.5.
Plus, hazy most of the time.
Not auspicious for astronomy.




Don:

L.A. is not a state but a city. Yes, there is a great deal of light pollution but the seeing is often quite good and there are a fair number of clear nights.

But most importantly, within an hour or two, one can be out where the skies are quite dark and very often clear. The coastal clouds that may blanket the basin, this can be escaped.

In most places, if it's cloudy where you are, drive 100 miles, it's cloudy, drive 200 miles, its cloudy. In San Diego we have it better than you but you have it pretty good compared to those folks in many parts of the US...

Just my two cents

Jon


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

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5614254 - 01/09/13 06:39 PM

As people have often remarked, LA is an area. The standard metropolitan Statistical Area contains 5 counties and 12.6 million people the last time I read about it.
Yes, I can get to truly dark skies with drives of 100-200 miles. In most places of the country, and to most observers, that would make dark skies inaccessible. Only in LA would you find a driver willing to go 400 miles round-trip for an overnight viewing session.
So, in a sense, to paraphrase the beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities":
SoCal is the best of sites and the worst of sites.


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orion61

*****

Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Pinbout]
      #5614319 - 01/09/13 07:16 PM

Quote:

I'll vote for the garbage...I mean garden state NJ.



It has garden State on the Liscense Plates cause the Industrial,Chemical,Refining and Shipping Dock State wont fit. LOL
But tho fairly dark Iowa has the Cloudiest, Bumpiest skys,
20 below in the Winter and Skeeters the size of 747's in the Summer.
Observing at My buddys at 10,000 feet in Colorado was a DREAM COME TRUE... Untill the Spring storm blew in with no warning!
Lightening is SCARY in the Mountains..


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bremms
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/31/12

Loc: SC
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5614330 - 01/09/13 07:20 PM

Grew up 3 miles from lake Ontario, not a lot of clear days. VERY few, less than Syracuse. Only saving grace is our house was in a green/blue zone. So it was pretty dark when it was clear. Lived IN Baltimore when at Space Telescope. You look up and say " Look there's the star!" (since you can only see one or two.)

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5614348 - 01/09/13 07:29 PM

Quote:

So, in a sense, to paraphrase the beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities":
SoCal is the best of sites and the worst of sites.




I am pretty happy down here in San Diego. I consider my backyard a very good site for planetary and double star observing, enjoyable for deep sky. And the mountains are an hour or so away....

San Diego County and LA County are both about the same size, a bit over 4500 square miles, each the size of a small eastern state. In this tale of two counties, I'll take San Diego...

Jon


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: orion61]
      #5615153 - 01/10/13 09:58 AM

"Lightening is SCARY in the Mountains.."

Lighning is DANGEROUS in the mountains....and scary.


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*skyguy*
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5615176 - 01/10/13 10:14 AM

HA ... HA ... HA ... S.E. Michigan ... Pacific Northwest as the worst areas for observing? You gotta be kidding! Buffalo, New York is ranked as the #1 cloudiest city in the good old USA ... 311 cloudy or partly cloudy days a year ... that's 85% of the time with bad astronomy days.

Cloudiest Cities in the USA

BUT ... hold on ... I live 25 miles south of Buffalo ... in a lake effect cloud/snow belt area that Buffalo is not a part of. From mid-October to mid-March ... lake effect clouds and snow blanket my observatory and I have about 4-5 clear nights during this time (usually during full moon, of course!). I've had friends call me on a clear night in Buffalo asking to come out and observe ... and I laugh at them because I'm usually in the middle of a raging snow storm! Overall, from my location I estimate there are at least 335 cloudy or partially cloudy days a year, leaving about 30 days/nights suitable for observing or imaging (and looking back over the past year, that figure seems high).

If you think you've got it worse than me ... you better back it up with facts!


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