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Rich56
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Reged: 06/02/12

Which star party has THE best skies?
      #5893293 - 05/30/13 09:19 PM

I know this can be a loaded question and in many ways subjective but here goes.

Which star party has consistently THE best skies?

Now I'm not talking about the one or two nights you experienced at a party back in the day where the nights were exceptional, I'm talking about overall consistency today.

Any opinions?

Thanks,

Rich


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dmdouglass
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5893317 - 05/30/13 09:33 PM

Oh good.
This will be fun to watch !!


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City Kid
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5893342 - 05/30/13 09:47 PM

Are you asking which star party has the darkest skies when it's clear or are you asking which star party has the most nights of clear skies?

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David Knisely
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5893461 - 05/31/13 12:35 AM

Well, in terms of sky quality when the sky is clear, the Nebraska Star Party is at a site that is Bortle Class 1 to 2 depending on the local weather. The skies will often show stars as faint as from 7.4 to even 8.1 to those with sensitive eyes. The site is in the Nebraska Sandhills at an elevation of around 3000 ft with no major towns or cities within a 90 mile radius. In terms of weather, here is a summary for all the NSPs to date:

. . . . WEATHER HISTORY OF NEBRASKA STAR PARTY SKIES . . . . .
. . . . . . . . (1992 to 2012, 7 nights total run) . . . . . . . . .

For the rankings, "mostly clear" means that about 80% or more of
the sky was clear for 3 hours or more; "partly cloudy" means that
observing was possible, but not over very large parts of the sky or
not for at least 3 hours; and "cloudy" means that, other than some
brief "sucker hole" periods, observing was generally not possible.

NSP-1: 1 night cloudy, 0 partly cloudy, 6 mostly clear.
NSP-2: 1 night cloudy, 1 partly cloudy, 5 mostly clear.
NSP-3: 2 nights cloudy, 1 partly cloudy, 4 mostly clear.
NSP-4: 2 nights cloudy, 3 partly cloudy, 2 mostly clear.
NSP-5: 5 nights cloudy, 1 partly cloudy, 1 mostly clear.
NSP-6: 2 nights cloudy, 0 partly cloudy, 5 mostly clear.
NSP-7: 3 nights cloudy, 2 partly cloudy, 2 mostly clear.
NSP-8: 2 nights cloudy, 1 partly cloudy, 4 mostly clear.
NSP-9: 2 nights cloudy, 3 partly cloudy, 2 mostly clear.
NSP-10: 2 nights cloudy, 1 partly cloudy, 4 mostly clear.
NSP-11: 2 nights cloudy, 2 partly cloudy, 3 mostly clear.
NSP-12: 1 night cloudy, 4 partly cloudy, 2 mostly clear.
NSP-13: 1 night cloudy, 2 partly cloudy, 4 mostly clear.
NSP-14: 2 nights cloudy, 3 partly cloudy, 2 mostly clear.
NSP-15: 0 nights cloudy, 3 partly cloudy, 4 mostly clear.
NSP-16: 2 nights cloudy, 1 partly cloudy, 4 mostly clear.
NSP-17: 1 night cloudy, 1 partly cloudy, 5 mostly clear.
NSP-18: 2 nights cloudy, 3 partly cloudy, 2 mostly clear.
NSP-19: 2 nights cloudy, 3 partly cloudy, 2 mostly clear.
-------------------------------------------------------

APPROX. 7-night AVERAGE: 2 nights cloudy, 2 partly cloudy, 3 mostly clear.

RANKING: (2 points for each clear night, 1 for each partly cloudy night,
and 0 points for each cloudy night.

#1 NSP-1: 12 points.
#2 (tie) NSP-2, NSP15, NSP-17: 11 points.
#3 (tie) NSP-6, NSP-13: 10 points.
#4 (tie) NSP-3, NSP-8, NSP-10, and NSP-16: 9 points
#5 (tie) NSP-11, NSP-16 and NSP-12: 8 points.
#6 (tie) NSP-4, NSP-9, NSP-14, NSP-18, and NSP-19: 7 points.
#7 NSP-7: 6 points.
#8 NSP-5: 3 points.

STATISTICS:

Percentage of Mostly Clear nights:
NSP-1: 86%, NSP-2: 71%, NSP-3: 57%, NSP-4: 29%, NSP-5: 14%, NSP-6: 71%
NSP-7: 29%, NSP-8: 57%, NSP-9: 29%, NSP-10: 57%, NSP-11: 43%
NSP-12: 29%, NSP-13: 57%, NSP-14: 29%, NSP-15: 57%, NSP-16: 57%
NSP-17: 71%, NSP-18: 29%, NSP-19: 29%
AVERAGE: 47% of NSP nights mostly clear.

Percentage of Partly cloudy nights:
NSP-1: 0%, NSP-2 14%, NSP-3: 14%, NSP-4: 43%, NSP-5: 14%, NSP-6: 0%
NSP-7: 29%, NSP-8: 14%, NSP-9: 43%. NSP-10: 14%, NSP-11, 29%
NSP-12: 57%, NSP-13: 29%, NSP-14: 43%, NSP-15: 43%, NSP-16: 14%
NSP-17: 14%, NSP-18: 43%, NSP-19: 43%
AVERAGE: 26% of NSP nights partly cloudy.

Percentage of full cloud-out nights:
NSP-1: 14%, NSP-2: 14%, NSP-3: 29%, NSP-4: 29%, NSP-5: 71%, NSP-6: 29%,
NSP-7: 43%, NSP-8: 29%, NSP-9: 29%, NSP-10: 29%, NSP-11: 29%,
NSP-12: 14%, NSP-13: 14%, NSP-14: 29%, NSP-15: 0%, NSP-16: 29%,
NSP-17: 14% NSP-18: 29%: NSP-19: 29%
AVERAGE: 26% of NSP nights cloudy.


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Rusty
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5893486 - 05/31/13 12:57 AM

I'd agree, having been to about 15 different star parties. Two of the other top contenders (TSP and Okie-Tex) I haven't been to, but my 6 trips to the NSP have been very satisfying.

And David isn't exaggerating about 7+ mag being visible unaided.


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Doc Willie
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rusty]
      #5893832 - 05/31/13 09:04 AM

No data, but my brother, who has been to several says Texas Star Party had the darkest sky.

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Rich56
member


Reged: 06/02/12

Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Doc Willie]
      #5893847 - 05/31/13 09:13 AM

David,

Quote:

Well, in terms of sky quality when the sky is clear, the Nebraska Star Party is at a site that is Bortle Class 1 to 2 depending on the local weather.




Considering how flat Nebraska can be, doesn't wind become a factor at this party?

With nights this clear and with Nebraska's flatness, I would imagine that horizon to horizon of stars would be truly amazing!

Rich

PS...also judging by all your stats, are you a member of the NSP promotion team?


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George N
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5893927 - 05/31/13 10:10 AM

What about seeing?

I've never been to one, but supposedly one of the "features" of the Florida star parties is the frequent excellent seeing.


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Tom Polakis
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Loc: Tempe, Arizona
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: George N]
      #5894127 - 05/31/13 11:49 AM

Quote:

What about seeing?

I've never been to one, but supposedly one of the "features" of the Florida star parties is the frequent excellent seeing.





The seeing at sites in the Western U.S. is best if you can be located above the surrounding terrain. I doubt that many sites do this better than the Oregon Star Party. That site has a great combination of darkness, altitude, and steady seeing. It would be interesting to learn if there is similar weather data as David showed for the Nebraska Star Party. The wildcard at OSP is the possibility that the summer has been too dry, and wildfires in the Cascades are pouring smoke over the Ochocos.

Tom


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Rich56
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5894193 - 05/31/13 12:31 PM

Tom,

Being from So.Calif I've been interested in checking out some of the better star parties in Arizona.

Might you be able to recommend a few of them that have the best skies?

Sorry if this questions a bit off topic.

Thanks,

Rich


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Stacy
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5894279 - 05/31/13 01:17 PM

Quote:

The seeing at sites in the Western U.S. is best if you can be located above the surrounding terrain. I doubt that many sites do this better than the Oregon Star Party. That site has a great combination of darkness, altitude, and steady seeing. It would be interesting to learn if there is similar weather data as David showed for the Nebraska Star Party. The wildcard at OSP is the possibility that the summer has been too dry, and wildfires in the Cascades are pouring smoke over the Ochocos.

Tom




Concerning OSP I hear 2010 was great, the last year I went, (2011) the smoke (most of it) had cleared but the seeing was terrible. I read reports that said last year was never completely smoke free. I am going this year and hoping for better results, but one good year out of the last three doesn't fill me with confidence.

I went to Table last year and while we had some clear nights, the seeing was ho-hum. Being at 6,400' didn't seem to provide much of a benefit.


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David Knisely
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5894341 - 05/31/13 01:44 PM

Quote:

David,

Quote:

Well, in terms of sky quality when the sky is clear, the Nebraska Star Party is at a site that is Bortle Class 1 to 2 depending on the local weather.




Considering how flat Nebraska can be, doesn't wind become a factor at this party?

With nights this clear and with Nebraska's flatness, I would imagine that horizon to horizon of stars would be truly amazing!

Rich

PS...also judging by all your stats, are you a member of the NSP promotion team?




I actually am on the NSP planning committee (I am the Beginner's Field School Coordinator), but the data is pretty accurate. As for wind, like many of the western star parties, the wind can be a problem at times, although not all the time by any means (helps keep the mosquitoes at bay). That part of Nebraska isn't very flat, as Merritt Reservoir sits in the middle of the Nebraska Sandhills, a region of rolling fixed grass-covered dunes that individually can be from 100 to as much as 300 feet in height. Clear skies to you.


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Tom Polakis
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5894408 - 05/31/13 02:21 PM

Quote:

Tom,

Being from So.Calif I've been interested in checking out some of the better star parties in Arizona.

Might you be able to recommend a few of them that have the best skies?

Sorry if this questions a bit off topic.

Thanks,

Rich






Rich,

The largest one in Arizona is only a week away. The Grand Canyon Star Party is a week long, and meant for the public, but they disappear well before midnight, and the site is plenty dark.

Other that, the Phoenix clubs have a Messier Marathon and the All-Arizona Star Party in March and October, respectively. They are held at a low desert site that's about an hour east of the CA border along I-10.

Tom


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5894428 - 05/31/13 02:36 PM

The Wickenburg folks have a monthly (for the most part) public outreach star party (this Saturday will be the last until September or October due to heat and the monsoons).

Pretty much darker than the old All Arizona Star parties held at Farnsworth Ranch and almost as dark as the new site. Seeing is always the biggest issue and I have yet to see it excellent (one night at Farnsworth being the benchmark I have yet to see any night equal it) and is dependent on the jet stream. But we've had some pretty good nights.


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LivingNDixie
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: rboe]
      #5895194 - 05/31/13 10:36 PM

For the big star parties... Texas Star Party
For small star parties... Cathedral Gorge Star Party (hosed by the LVAS about 3 hours NE of Las Vegas, NV at Cathedral Gorge State Park).

I have no been to the Nebraska Star Party, but I would think haze could be an issue being it is held in the summer.

Edited by LivingNDixie (05/31/13 10:37 PM)


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David Knisely
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5895431 - 06/01/13 02:10 AM

Quote:

For the big star parties... Texas Star Party
For small star parties... Cathedral Gorge Star Party (hosed by the LVAS about 3 hours NE of Las Vegas, NV at Cathedral Gorge State Park).

I have no been to the Nebraska Star Party, but I would think haze could be an issue being it is held in the summer.




Generally, low-level summer night haze is not much of a problem at NSP. The humidity on clear days is usually moderately low up there much of the time, with the only "haze" one is likely to see is in the form of occasional high altitude cirrus clouds. The temperature can be 100F during the day and then go down to the upper 50's that same night, which is one reason we tell people to be sure and bring a coat. I recall my first drive from my home (1327 ft elevation) up to Merritt Reservoir (~3000 ft elev.: the site of NSP) in the summer and marveling as how the daytime sky gradually turned a somewhat deeper blue during my trip, especially as I drove through Broken Bow and climbed past the 2500 ft elevation level. At night, clouds are black against the starry night sky, and those who have been to the Texas Star Party say that NSP skies are often on-par with those at TSP. Clear skies to you.


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Doc Willie
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: George N]
      #5896741 - 06/01/13 08:48 PM

Quote:

What about seeing?

I've never been to one, but supposedly one of the "features" of the Florida star parties is the frequent excellent seeing.



I would agree. The sky at the Winter Star Party is steadier, and Texas has the darker sky. Florida probably has more cloudy nights.


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5896845 - 06/01/13 09:50 PM

Either Astronomy or Sky and Telescope did an article a few months back listing what they ranked as the ten best star parties. Okie Tex, Texas and I think Florida were all on the list. A search would probably turn up the article.

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5896905 - 06/01/13 10:35 PM

The seeing at the Winter Star Party can be superb but it doesn't have extremely dark skies.

Dave Mitsky


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Rich56
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Reged: 06/02/12

Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5897590 - 06/02/13 10:45 AM

Mike,

Quote:

Either Astronomy or Sky and Telescope did an article a few months back listing what they ranked as the ten best star parties. Okie Tex, Texas and I think Florida were all on the list. A search would probably turn up the article.




I remember reading that article and there were more than a few star parties that left me scratching my head wondering why they would include some and exclude others.

I guess they incorporated star parties that were close to populated areas for convenience even though the skies were so-so.

What I'm talkin about on this post are the parties with the best skies, not the closest.


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astronomania
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5898149 - 06/02/13 04:28 PM

Mount Bachelor star party at Brothers.
http://www.mbsp.org/


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square_peg
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5901023 - 06/04/13 01:57 AM

Quote:

The seeing at sites in the Western U.S. is best if you can be located above the surrounding terrain. I doubt that many sites do this better than the Oregon Star Party. That site has a great combination of darkness, altitude, and steady seeing.




Hard to beat the darkness and elevation of OSP. On a good night the constellations just disappear in a sea of stars. And if you never went out at night and just enjoyed the Ochoco National Forest by day it would still be worth the trip. Drawback is the infamous 'Mars dust'.


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Bernie Poskus
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5912299 - 06/09/13 11:58 PM

I have been to the Nebraska Star Party, Okie-Tex and Texas Star Pary, each more than once. I would not want to say any of them have better skies than the other. All three are well worth attending.

My only complaint with Nebraska was the heat and the bugs, but the sky there is incredibly dark, and there are NO light domes, as Valentine (the nearest town, with a population of under 3,000) is about 27 miles away. It's a very mellow, laid-back star party.

Okie-Tex is also without light domes, and is incredibly dark. It does have some wind issues (in '07 or '08, they had an incident which forever christened that year as "Blokie-Tex" since several scopes blew over). But I've had some incredible nights there.

Texas Star Party is also without light domes, and of the three, in my experience, has the most consistent clear skies. I am saying that even after my first TSP, which was in '07, and had only one good night. The other four times I've gone, I had at least 3-4 good nights, and one time, every night of the week was spectacular.

Like I said, all three are worthy of your attendance.

Clear Skies.


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omahaastro
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Loc: Omaha, NE
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Bernie Poskus]
      #5914238 - 06/10/13 10:52 PM

I do wish sometimes NSP were held during the spring or fall... and the heat/bugs would not be an issue. But one of the things that makes NSP such a great star party, is in catering to the whole family, as a summer vacation. Merritt Reservoir is an absolutely fantastic lake for recreation... you literally have your own, hundred foot stretch of sandy beach (fine, soft Sand Hills sand), there is a great children's program, the Valentine High School is a wonderful, air conditioned venue for speakers, Niobrara River has been ranked one of the ten best canoe/kayak rivers in the nation, it really is more than a star party with incredibly dark skies.

Another option is to tie it in to a trip to nearby Black Hills/Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park.


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Rich56
member


Reged: 06/02/12

Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: omahaastro]
      #5914744 - 06/11/13 10:00 AM

Although I've heard a lot about TSP, doesn't it have high humidity?

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bicparker
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5914820 - 06/11/13 10:53 AM

Quote:

Although I've heard a lot about TSP, doesn't it have high humidity?




You're kidding, right?


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Rich56
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Reged: 06/02/12

Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: bicparker]
      #5914839 - 06/11/13 11:03 AM

Quote:

You're kidding, right?




No, I'm not actually. I've been in desert regions where there's been high humidity...it does happen.


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bicparker
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5915004 - 06/11/13 12:42 PM

Rich,
I was just kidding you here.... TSP is dry dry dry, except when it is wet. The reason for my comment was that the average humidity there ranges from 12-20+% and it is often in the single digits during TSP.

We have had very rare times of humidity and even dewfall at TSP, but that is something for which one doesn't typically prepare during this event (unless you just happen to have your dew heaters in your go kit). Normally, if it is humid there, it has been raining.

Humidity does happen in the desert, or in this case, mountains surrounded by desert. It is just not something that I would characterize as a typical facet of TSP.


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Bernie Poskus
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: bicparker]
      #5916186 - 06/12/13 12:52 AM

David speaks the truth. TSP will be a humid star party when they move it to Houston, which will likely never happen. It is so dry and dusty there that the second time I went (first time, we did hit moisture repeatedly), I came down with a cough, and when I saw my doctor (because it wouldn't go away), he asked me if I'd been to a dusty place lately. When I told him I'd been to West Texas, he said I'd had an allergic reaction to all the dust and put me on steroids (good thing I'm not a track and field athlete). Now, when I go down there, I start on nasal spray and allergy meds a week before I go so that allergic reaction doesn't even have a chance to start.

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Bernie Poskus]
      #5939969 - 06/25/13 03:13 PM

It was actually rather wet at times at this year's Texas Star Party. There was enough rain on Friday that there were puddles on the grounds of the Prude Ranch.

Dave Mitsky


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George N
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5941847 - 06/26/13 06:03 PM

Quote:

The seeing at the Winter Star Party can be superb but it doesn't have extremely dark skies.

Dave Mitsky




Iíve only observed in Florida from the Atlantic coast, with bright sky in one direction, the over-ocean darkness in the other.

However, I have a friend who *lives* about a half-mile from the WSP site (with EdgeHD C-14 on a Titan mount), and another mutual friend who lives in south Florida, with lots of star party experience (including CSSP). They both recommend the Chiefland Star Party as the best compromise in Florida: darker sky, still often excellent seeing, almost as far south.

The guy who lives in the Keys is a marine biologist who often observes from Dry Tortugas and claims that island in the Gulf is excellent. However, he says we really need access to the mountains of Cuba Ė high, dry, dark, very far south, excellent Caribbean seeing.

Iíve also heard great things about the Keck visitorsí center at Mauna Kea, but they donít have a star party there Ė yet! People think youíre crazy going to Hawaii with heavy winter clothing.


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: George N]
      #5943064 - 06/27/13 12:52 PM

They aren't bad but I wouldn't call the skies at the Chiefland Astronomy Village terribly dark either. The Cedar Key Star Party's Shell Mound dark site is a bit better.

http://www.observingsites.com/ds_fl.htm

Dave Mitsky


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Zamboni
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5943261 - 06/27/13 03:00 PM

I may be biased, but I'm partial to the skies at Rocky Mountain Star Stare near Gardner, CO. Exceptionally dark, dry, unobstructed and high altitude. Can't beat it.

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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: George N]
      #5943410 - 06/27/13 04:48 PM

Quote:

However, I have a friend who *lives* about a half-mile from the WSP site (with EdgeHD C-14 on a Titan mount), and another mutual friend who lives in south Florida, with lots of star party experience (including CSSP). They both recommend the Chiefland Star Party as the best compromise in Florida: darker sky, still often excellent seeing, almost as far south.




How are the skies at WSP these days? I have not been there since 1997. At the time the west and northwest were not good, but south was fine. And of course WSP has some huge built in advantages:

1) 11+ hours darkness per night;

2) You can reach declination -66 degrees;

3) Laminar airflow results in consistently excellent seeing; and

4) You can do it all in a short-sleeved shirt during the winter.


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Rich56
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Reged: 06/02/12

Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5943530 - 06/27/13 05:55 PM

Rocky Mountain Star Stare? I've heard of it but not nearly as much as TSP or OSP.

Anybody ever been? and what did you think?


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MRoedel
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Reged: 11/10/06

Loc: Michigan
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5943959 - 06/27/13 10:54 PM

My wife and I went to RMSS in 2004. The skies were quite good. Lightning every afternoon.
We went to Weekend Under the Stars (Wyoming) the following year. Slightly darker, no daily afternoon lightning storms, +1000' higher elevation, pretty severe altitude sickness by the third day.
The following year we went to the NBANB Star Party on Mount Carleton in New Brunswick, Canada. The skies were darker yet. No light domes, but it was the end of black fly season. We both got a few bites. The park wasn't restricted to astronomers. No lighting etiquette. Most people were sleeping by midnight. Darkest skies I've seen so far.

Edited by MRoedel (06/27/13 11:08 PM)


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hbanich
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 06/17/05

Loc: Portland, Oregon
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: MRoedel]
      #5949981 - 07/01/13 04:10 PM

I'm surprised Tom Clark hasn't chimed in - or did I miss your post Tom? - but on several occasions he's said/written that OSP has the best combination of darkness, transparency and seeing of any of the star parties he's been to, and he's been to all the well known SP's across the country.

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SkyHound
sage


Reged: 03/20/05

Loc: Dark Skies Il.
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: hbanich]
      #5962718 - 07/09/13 06:14 PM

Mia Kea Star Party 9000 feet Hawaii...Nothing can touch it...

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kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: SkyHound]
      #5962800 - 07/09/13 07:09 PM

LONNNNNG drive.

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Tora
super member


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Illinois
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5963280 - 07/09/13 11:56 PM

Quote:

LONNNNNG drive.




and wet....


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Rich56
member


Reged: 06/02/12

Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Tora]
      #5964057 - 07/10/13 01:22 PM

Quote:

Mia Kea Star Party 9000 feet Hawaii




Isn't that at the Mauna Kea Visitor Center?


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: Rich56]
      #5965245 - 07/11/13 07:22 AM

OzSky in Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia. After some consideration, it really is the darkest. One week near Siding Spring Observatory with absolutely stunning dark southern skies.

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FJA
Sketcher Extraordinaire
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Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: 50.65¬į N, 1.15¬į W
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: bicparker]
      #5965249 - 07/11/13 07:35 AM

Quote:

OzSky in Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia. After some consideration, it really is the darkest. One week near Siding Spring Observatory with absolutely stunning dark southern skies.




And I'm getting to experience it for myself next year, this time properly instead of the one-night rained-out experience of four years ago (I could only stay one night as I had to leave for a pre-booked pelagic birding trip at Wollongong, the least said of which the better! It was cancelled because of bad weather. I should have stayed at Coonabarabran and forgot the birding trip. ), so I have some Unfinished Business! Can't wait!


My previous experience of star parties is Queensland Astrofest in 1997 (pretty dark), four TSPs (among the darkest skies I've ever seen), our local Isle of Wight Star Party (reasonably dark but nowhere near the likes of TSP, etc, because it's not very far from the major south coast population centres of Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth, plus one of Europe's largest oil refineries) and the one night at OzSky 2009 (can't judge because of the one night I was there which was wet).
I'd live to do some of the other big US star parties in the future.


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iam1ru12
sage
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Raleigh/Durham, NC
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: FJA]
      #6012590 - 08/07/13 10:32 PM

I'll place a vote for the darkness of the skies at the Almost Heaven Star Party in West Virginia. AHSP arguably has some the darkest skies on the East Coast with a Bortle scale value of 2. However being at 4,200 feet above sea level provides for better seeing than most of the few very dark sites (in the gray light pollution zone) on the East coast. However being in WV mountains in the summer can expose you to some really nasty thunderstorms!

-Mike


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TonyF
member


Reged: 04/24/06

Loc: N. California, USA
Re: Which star party has THE best skies? new [Re: iam1ru12]
      #6017942 - 08/10/13 04:47 PM

Here's my take on the few I've been to..

Table Mountain Star Party: It was dark, noticeable light dome from near by city. The year I went only 1 good night. Rest cloudy or rain. Left early.

Nebraska Star Party: Dark over-head, great deal of extinction towards the horizon. Mosquitoes were very numerous(I'm from California, so only a few skeeters). Damn cactus got me every night. Humid. 1 night good, 1 night cloudy, 1 night thunderstorms. Forecast for more rain. Left early.

Oregon Star Party: Very dark, seeing was just ok. Hot during day. 2 good nights, rained late saturday. Left on time. Heard the night b4 I showed up was the best, LOL! Year
before, paid but never went due to weather/smoke(it's a 13hr drive).

Golden State Star Party: Reasonably dark. Diurnal wind every night(It is located in a valley). No rain the few times I've been there. Noticeable extinction towards horizon. Stayed duration of 3 nights.

On most star parties.. If your lucky that year it is GREAT! If not, leaves that lasting impression of disappointment.

Best non star-party? Base of Mt. Whitney at 12k elevation. Darkest sky I've ever seen in my life, transparency was just mind boggling... LoL!! And that's with the oxygen deprivation.

TonyF


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