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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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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 [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
*****

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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