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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: la200o]
      #5615183 - 01/10/13 10:22 AM

I think the title of this thread should be "Nobody's got it as bad as me," or "The grass is always greener on the other side."

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5615228 - 01/10/13 10:47 AM Attachment (16 downloads)

Quote:

I think the title of this thread should be "Nobody's got it as bad as me," or "The grass is always greener on the other side."




Tony:

It does seem that way.

Myself, I am pretty much keeping my mouth shut because I think I have it pretty darn, good. The grass isn't very green because it rarely rains, rain requires clouds. The mountain skies are generally clear and reasonably dark.. It gets cold but rarely below about 25F, cold is in the 30s and 40s. It's windy but the wind blows away the dust and keeps the transparency high.

Other small bonuses, those little things (mosquitoes etc) that fly around and bite people are few and far between. Outside at night in the middle of summer, short sleeved shirt is all that is needed...

I'll take San Diego and it's mountains and the one day drive to some truly dark skies and not complain. Now if I were into to ice fishing, or viewing the aurora, I might be able to complain...

Jon

Edited by Jon Isaacs (01/10/13 11:15 AM)


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LakeHavasu
member
*****

Reged: 07/21/09

Loc: Lake Havasu City, Arizona, U....
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: la200o]
      #5617968 - 01/11/13 08:36 PM

I'll nominate Lake Havasu City, Arizona not because of the dark skies but because of the politics of the local City Council. They enact a light pollution ordinance then they don't enforce the ordinance or violate it themselves with improper lighting of city properties. All talk, no actions.

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rick-SeMI
sage


Reged: 01/08/11

Loc: Michigan - USA
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: JimMo]
      #5618163 - 01/11/13 10:44 PM

Quote:



It is tough. Unless I go to an outstate star party I might observe 6-8 nights a year. Ironically, Michigan has the first state designated dark sky preserve, Lake Hudson Rec. Area, which is where I usually observe. Just recently the legislature designated 22,500 acres in the northern lower peninsula from the Mackinac Bridge west to Cross Village as a dark sky preserve, but realistically the whole area is mostly forest and the sky usually has clouds. See this thread for some pics of the Headlands Preserve on page two.




Port Crescent State Park in Port Austin.
Became a Dark Sky Preserve in June 2012.
Stayed up there July 11-14. Really nice skies.
FAAC working with the DNR had the "Meteors and Smores"
outreach, on August 11th, but we got clouded out.
http://michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=613545

http://legislature.mi.gov/(S(zdbkrr45ooqzyafle2org0ey))/documents/2011-2012/p...

Edited by rick-SeMI (01/12/13 08:51 AM)


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krp
Vendor. DarkSiteFinder.com


Reged: 11/10/10

Loc: Central Illinois
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: LakeHavasu]
      #5618168 - 01/11/13 10:46 PM

I think the Chicago area may be the worst for light pollution. The light pollution from Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee and even up to Madison all merge into one bright sky. Dark skies are nowhere close. But I know it could be worse as far as cloud cover.

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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: LakeHavasu]
      #5618584 - 01/12/13 08:21 AM

Quote:

I'll nominate Lake Havasu City, Arizona not because of the dark skies but because of the politics of the local City Council. They enact a light pollution ordinance then they don't enforce the ordinance or violate it themselves with improper lighting of city properties. All talk, no actions.




I imagine most folks would trade the Lake Havasu light pollution for their own... and at least they have a light pollution ordinance.

Jon


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Norm42
super member
*****

Reged: 10/17/08

Loc: Webster, NY
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5618721 - 01/12/13 10:08 AM

I live in the Rochester NY area, I am sure I am in the top 10 at least.

I did run across an interesting website that shows a map of the US and where it is clear/cloudy, some stats as well. Gives a quick look at who to envy and who to commensurate with.

Cloud Cover Map

Jon from San Diego, who as he indicated enjoys clear skies, reminded me of a joke from Lewis Black about weatherman goes something like this:

What is the best job to have in the US? Being a weatherman in San Diego, you get a five figure income and the daily report goes like this:

News anchor to weatherman: Whats the weather like today?
Weatherman: Mmmm.....Sunny, back to you.

Norm


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Dave M
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/03/04

Loc: Ohio
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Norm42]
      #5618792 - 01/12/13 10:52 AM

Has to be Ohio, we get lake effect clouds and snow, all the crud from the Pacific NW heads strait for Ohio, on top of that we also get a lot of clouds and moisture pumped up from the Gulf, so drawing a line from Washington State through Ohio and another from the Gulf of Mexico through Ohio and what do you get, X marks the spot.

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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: tvoydan]
      #5622853 - 01/14/13 03:10 PM

Quote:

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...



At least parts get relief from the Lakes modding the temps.
Here in Ipwa it Bakes in the Summer with High Humidity,
(the crops hold moisture like a sponge,
the Winters are brutal, I have seen -34 degrees, the wind blows from the Plines with nothing to slow them down
so the wind chill was -84 those 3 days in a row in the mid
70's
and again in 1989!
The Skeeters sound like Dive Bombers (Native American Indians) called them Birds with teeth! Biting Gnats..
then in the Fall and Spring it either Cloudy or raining!!
thats why I.O.W.A. stands for; I. O.tta W.ent A.round


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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: orion61]
      #5622920 - 01/14/13 03:47 PM

The last full year I lived in western Indiana (1976), we had 3 clear nights the entire year. It was cloudy all summer, with not one clear night.
It was unusual, but indicates how bad things can get within normal variation.

It could be worse: Ketchican Alaska gets 195 inches of rain a year and "clear" to the local weatherman is when the skies are 50% cloudy.
Eek.


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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: Norm42]
      #5623288 - 01/14/13 07:35 PM

Quote:

Jon from San Diego, who as he indicated enjoys clear skies, reminded me of a joke from Lewis Black about weatherman goes something like this:

What is the best job to have in the US? Being a weatherman in San Diego, you get a five figure income and the daily report goes like this:

News anchor to weatherman: Whats the weather like today?
Weatherman: Mmmm.....Sunny, back to you.

Norm






Being a weatherman in San Diego is actually not so easy. If you are the weatherman in Kansas City, you can be pretty sure that the weather in Independence is not too much different and that if you drive an hour in any direction, there maybe differences but they are relatively minor.

San Diego is a mosaic of micro-climates so the weatherman has to try to predict the each and every one.. An hour's drive takes you from the beaches and canyons of the coast through the foothill up to the mountains, the highest peak in the county is 6500 feet and it snows... Another 30 minutes east and you will be in the desert where it maybe 110F while the city is covered in the marine layer...

That variety makes San Diego a great place to live, a great place for an amateur astronomer. In the summer, the mountains are clear and cool with wide open vistas. In the winter, the deserts can offer a haven with the mountains blocking the storms...

Jon


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droid
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5623512 - 01/14/13 10:01 PM

We actually had a good summer here in north east Ohio, many more clear than normal, naturally it been cloudy, rainy, snowy or a combination of the three pretty much ever since, lol.

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Steve Drapak
member


Reged: 09/18/08

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. - Try Canada! new [Re: la200o]
      #5623628 - 01/14/13 11:19 PM

For those of you who think living in Canada is a good thing (at least as far as astronomy goes), here's the report of clear days accoring to Wolfram Alpha, for the last 6 months from my location (Brampton Ontario):

Clear days 2012

July 2.6 days
August 3.6 days
Sept 3 days
Oct 1.1 day
Nov 1.9 days
Dec .75 day

Just under 13 clear days in the last half year. Count the nights that were clear but with a moon, and you might as well use your telescope as a BB gun target.

I was in Tucson last week, I didn't know whether to be happy or cry. Envious for sure!


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. - Try Canada! new [Re: Steve Drapak]
      #5623630 - 01/14/13 11:24 PM

Ouch.

-- Chris


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csrlice12
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. - Try Canada! new [Re: CJK]
      #5624041 - 01/15/13 09:18 AM

Son, let me tell you 'bout the time I went scope huntin' with my BB gun..........

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NeilMac
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/25/10

Loc: MedHat, AB, Canada
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. - Try Canada! new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5624150 - 01/15/13 10:39 AM

LOL

It has been a terrible year


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Starman81
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/06/08

Loc: Metro Detroit, MI, USA
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. - Try Canada! new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5624473 - 01/15/13 02:01 PM Attachment (16 downloads)

Quote:

LOL

It has been a terrible year




So, are you saying I should not be jealous when I see this--concentric rings of ever-darkening skies and ~10-12 mile drive from city center to the blue Zone and maybe 15-18 miles to grey zone skies?



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Steve Drapak
member


Reged: 09/18/08

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. - Try Canada! new [Re: Starman81]
      #5624499 - 01/15/13 02:16 PM

True, it is dark if you can drink enough antifreeze to keep the blood from congealing in the cold. And of course there are the many documented cases of moose attacks on telescopes :-)

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Starman81
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/06/08

Loc: Metro Detroit, MI, USA
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. - Try Canada! new [Re: Steve Drapak]
      #5624593 - 01/15/13 02:59 PM

Quote:

True, it is dark if you can drink enough antifreeze to keep the blood from congealing in the cold. And of course there are the many documented cases of moose attacks on telescopes :-)




Alas, reality rarely matches fantasy! It couldn't be that bad could it? I did just sit in the cold last night for 2.5 hours (22* F).

Edited by Starman81 (01/16/13 05:02 PM)


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stevetaylor199
sage
*****

Reged: 09/21/11

Loc: SE Wisconsin
Re: Worst state or area in the U.S. for astronomy? new [Re: krp]
      #5627104 - 01/16/13 10:02 PM

Quote:

I think the Chicago area may be the worst for light pollution. The light pollution from Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee and even up to Madison all merge into one bright sky. Dark skies are nowhere close. But I know it could be worse as far as cloud cover.




I second this. I live 20 miles NW of Milwaukee, and I have a NELM of 4.5 (though not lately with continually partly cloudy conditions). I've had high hopes for relatives' homes 20 and 80-minute drives west or north, but, even though these aren't very densely populated areas, I'm not getting the dark skies I was hoping for. It looks like I need to drive west (or north) of Madison...until I get to northwestern Nebraska.


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