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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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theritz
member


Reged: 04/12/11

Loc: The Netherlands
Re: Favorite viewing sites new [Re: notoriousmr]
      #5596295 - 12/30/12 02:48 PM Attachment (60 downloads)

My favorite site is in Germany (I live in the Netherlands which is the most light polluted piece of planet you can think of), south of Hamburg. It's a 5 hour drive so we book a long weekend there and go in a group. Last year we had an average SQM of 21.8 with a high of 21.93. Amazing...



The field you see is in the middle of a small town of 15 but usually there's only 5 people present. Some crazy person has thought it up to switch on a light. Here. On one of the darkest places in Europe.
Only disadvantage of the place: it's rather far up north.

Closer to home, a 35 minute drive, is only one spot where I can go: a moor to the east of where I live. The SQM touches 21 but that's it. There's domes around but the south is pretty good (dark clouds!) because it's a nature reserve there. The attached picture shows the surroundings. We have no real wildlife so the only animals that can give you trouble there is in spring when the wild boars have their young.

Edited by theritz (12/30/12 02:53 PM)


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jpcannavo
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/21/05

Loc: Ex NYCer, Now in Denver CO!
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5627485 - 01/17/13 06:20 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Den Mama:

I think this is a great idea of a thread along lines suggested above. It would be a particular benefit for travelers. Nearly 4 million people visit Yellowstone/Grand Teton every year and I've often thought of putting together a list of sites here that I've found rewarding over the years.

Thanks.

Dark skies.

mm




The credit goes to member jpcannavo for the suggestion!




How amazing to see this thread alive and well after being away from these forums and ama ast for nearly 2 years! Ones first child, does shake things up a bit though!
As is turns out I may be taking a new job at The Univ of New Mexico, and moving away from NYC, the worst place in the country to be an amateur astronomer. Now clearly NM has lots of Black skies. But I have two questions:
1) What are some user friendly but still Very Dark (black to grey zones) within an hour or two of Albuequerque.
2) How is seeing? Are steady skies rare, occasional or common? NYC is aweful, as well, in this regard. Star images are always bloated - seeing an Airy Disk in anything larger than 50mm scope is unusual!


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bunyon
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5628405 - 01/17/13 04:20 PM

Not a lot to add but a lot to second. Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, so long as you aren't close to a city, almost any pullout makes for a good site.

But I've yet to see a dark site in the east that comes close to those in the west. A lot of Utah mentions up above but I didn't see Natural Bridges mentioned, which is also excellent. The park does a good job promoting dark skies and in two weeks I spent there, the campers kept dark. It's fantastically dark down in the park.

But every time I've observed in southern Utah I've been blown away. Capitol Reef, Bridges, or just driving out of town 45 minutes and pulling over. There are some seriously dark skies out there. And beautiful scenery.


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petrus45
sage
*****

Reged: 01/31/11

Loc: SW Ohio / N Ky.
Re: Favorite viewing sites new [Re: theritz]
      #5637932 - 01/22/13 10:48 PM

Any suggestions for Ohio/Kentucky area? The closest really dark site seems to be in Monongahela Nat'l Forest in WV....

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quantumphysicist
member


Reged: 12/05/12

Re: Favorite viewing sites new [Re: petrus45]
      #5680617 - 02/15/13 02:58 AM

I have two favorite viewing sites. My absolute favorite of the two has to be In the Valles Caldera right outside of Los Alamos, NM. There is a road and right after you go over the rim into the caldera you can get off and get in the grass. High altitude, no light pollution, and often clear nights especially in the summer. Absolutely amazing views.

coordinates for Google Maps: 35.851671,-106.455162

Now that I live in florida my favorite location I have seen so far is the Shell Mound just north of Cedar Key. Bortle scale 2. Seeing is usually not that good due to the low altitude and humidity I could see more in los alamos but compared to whereI live it is amazing in comparison. It even has a bathroom and you can set up on an observation deck in the middle of the marsh with no trees surrounding you.

Coordinates in Google maps: 29.206825, -83.068831


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jpcannavo
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/21/05

Loc: Ex NYCer, Now in Denver CO!
Colorado observing sites? new [Re: quantumphysicist]
      #5693738 - 02/21/13 11:00 PM

Very likely moving with my family and 16" F5 to Denver this summer. Wondering about Dark yet accessible locations within 2 hours of Denver?

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LateViewer
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 11/17/05

Loc: Manhattan
Re: Favorite viewing sites new [Re: quantumphysicist]
      #5704201 - 02/27/13 08:26 PM

I only ran into this site tonight and think it is great.

Let me agree with someone along the thread that Stone Tavern Farm is really great.

I try to get there when I can.





Love seeing the viewing sites from around the world


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Geoff M
member


Reged: 03/08/12

Loc: Tahoe, CA
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: Bill Llano]
      #5705874 - 02/28/13 06:01 PM

Quote:

Kodachrome Basin State Park,Utah
Grandview Campground, Inyo National Forest,Ca
Kennedy Meadows,Southern Sierra Nevada,Ca
Are all dark,no light domes, fantastic viewing ,weather permitting.




Wow, Grandview and Kennedy Meadows are awesome! I've never been scopin' at Kennedy, but I've had some epic hikes there...had a couple of great nights at Grandview-first view of M82 thru an 18"dob-wowww!(image was holding decently at about 500x) I would like to add Eureka Valley, which is accessible from Big Pine, CA and splits off the road to Grandview(White Mountains/Westgard Pass). Not as high as Grandview (better spring/fall spot), but has darker skies. One night, Venus in the sky was really blowing out my night vision(lol), and I kept mistaking the Las Vegas light dome (120 miles away)for sunrise. Seeing is usually great, too(resolved individual stars one night in Omega Centauri at 7 deg. above horizon) and clouds seem to avoid Eureka when the surrounding areas are cloudy). Nobody ever goes there, either. Saw 3 cars total in 4 trips. Well worth the drive from Tahoe's fairly dark skies!


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Rich0000
member


Reged: 10/18/08

Loc: On the Road
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5793527 - 04/11/13 11:23 PM

My wife and I have been traveling the country for the last four years after retirement. At present we are in the Davis Mnt. Region of Southwest Texas. I would have to say that this area has the darkest skies and the best atmospheric clarity I have observed from. The McDonald Observatory is near by and they "claim" the darkest skies in the continental U.S. The largest telescope in the northern hemisphere is located here for this reason. Number two would be the Apostle Island Area in northern Wisconsin. I have had many excellent nights observing there. Almost zero light pollution.
***************
Celestron 9.25HD on A CGEM DX
5" Maksutov on a SWAN AltAZ
20x80 D3 Oberwerks Binoculars
90mm Seben Maksutov
University Optics, GSO, Celestron, Clave Eyepieces
BLOG: http://skynotesbyrich.blogspot.com/
***************


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Colorado observing sites? [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5806817 - 04/18/13 02:20 PM

Quote:

Very likely moving with my family and 16" F5 to Denver this summer. Wondering about Dark yet accessible locations within 2 hours of Denver?



The Denver Astro society has a dark site (blue zone) about 1hr 15 min East of town. It has cement pads (North aligned), power toilet, break shed and a domed obsevatory with a honker of an SCT on a Losmundy mount (must attend a training session before you can use). The DAS is a very active club. Also, be forewarned, Denver has scope store, S&S Optika, which hosts montly star parties where they pull out their display models and is open to the public. I know there's a good amount of my annual income in their cash register....Great store and people.


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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: Connecticut observing site new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5859462 - 05/14/13 09:42 AM

I like the Colebrook River Burying Ground in Colebrook, CT.

Heron Cove Park in Tolland is not bad, but you want to set up in the northernmost portion of the parking lot to avoid lights from the road.

White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield is good. One of the local astronomy groups (Mattatuck? Litchfield Astro Society?) has an observing field that they mow on a regular basis. You need to call/email White Memorial to ask to use the field, but they've never told me no.

The christmas tree field at the Goodwin Conservation Center is good as well, but you need to call to ask about using it.


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Starkid2u
newbie


Reged: 05/15/13

Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5863504 - 05/15/13 11:39 PM

Here in the NE, one of the gems for viewing is Cherry Springs State Park in north central Pennsylvania. Excellent dark-sky site built specifically for astronomical viewing. PA's first official Dark Sky Park! The sky can be mag 7 with mag 5-6 common. There are even TWO official star parties held there, the Cherry Springs Star Party in June and the Black Forest Star party, held in September. A must-see for every astronomer who lives in the Eastern half of the USA. I'm a long time astronomer who's done some traveling to star parties up and down the US eastern seaboard and as far west as Missouri but I always come back to Cherry Springs in the fall for a great star party and a fantastic tour of the darkest skies in the NE!

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okieav8r
I'd rather be flying!
*****

Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: Starkid2u]
      #5869342 - 05/18/13 01:35 PM

My favorite place to observe is the Black Mesa area in the far northwestern tip of the Oklahoma Panhandle. As true dark sky sites go, it's the closest one to where I live in central Oklahoma, so I try to get up there a few times a year, one of those times being to attend the Okie-Tex star party. Other times, I mostly observe at my folk's cattle ranch near Beggs, Oklahoma, and a few other sites closer to me that I frequent with my observing friends.

Edited by okieav8r (05/19/13 03:18 AM)


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the1andonlyfinn
member


Reged: 07/17/11

Loc: Rancho Cucamonga, California
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5870660 - 05/19/13 02:15 AM

Living in Southern California, I'd have to say Amboy Crater along old Route 66. Gas station 2 miles away w/ water, easy parking, and after 8PM, NOTHING. No sounds besides a passing BNSF train, no lights save for the old Roys sign. Minor light dome from Vegas, barely detectable in the NE. Omega Centauri resolved in bino's just 8degrees off the horizon, pipe and snake nebulae obvious, northern coalsack clear as day. My first sight of the Milky Way in full glory. Plus you get a volcano as a bonus!

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krp
Vendor. DarkSiteFinder.com


Reged: 11/10/10

Loc: Central Illinois
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: the1andonlyfinn]
      #5878396 - 05/22/13 03:38 PM

I found a good viewing site in Central Illinois, southwest of Peoria. It's called Spring Lake State Wildlife Area: http://goo.gl/maps/ZYkEf The northern sky isn't very good with Peoria's light pollution. And all but one of the parking lots have the western horizon obstructed with trees. But as you can see on the map, there is nothing to the south until Springfield, 50 miles away. So the view of the Milky Way is very good (for Illinois), and you can see it reflected on the lake. The boat launch on Spring Lake Rd. has a couple streetlights and there are some lighted houses near there too. But there are several parking lots off of State Park Rd. where you can set up and the lights are far enough away that they are not an issue. Here's a shot of the milky way over Spring Lake

Portrait of a Galaxy by kevin-palmer, on Flickr

More here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjF51Zft

Edited by krp (05/22/13 03:40 PM)


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Smittty692k4
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/05/11

Loc: East Bernard, TX
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: krp]
      #5924219 - 06/16/13 06:27 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

How about "Most Dangerous" viewing site?
Between Laredo, Tx and Eagle Pass, Tx.

28*0'33"N, 99*49'35"W

Sure is pretty though.


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BarbMoore
sage
*****

Reged: 05/11/09

Loc: South central New Mexico
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #5924790 - 06/17/13 02:11 AM

Our astronomy group hosts a monthly star party at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park in south central NM but my favorite place to view from would have to be New Mexico Skies.

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youngamateur42
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 11/21/12

Loc: La Verne, CA
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: BarbMoore]
      #5924891 - 06/17/13 05:50 AM

On the dark side of the moon of course!

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celtictexan
member


Reged: 04/02/13

Loc: Amarillo Texas
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: Smittty692k4]
      #5924893 - 06/17/13 05:56 AM

I totally understand the dangerous part. The last time I was at BigBend NP there were signs everywhere cautioning against leaving a car unattended or hiking or camping without being in a big group. The only rangers I saw anywhere were in the offices. And the sky is so dark. Sad:(

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WStewart
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/02/05

Loc: Dallas, TX
Re: Favorite Viewing Sites new [Re: celtictexan]
      #5925351 - 06/17/13 11:59 AM

Quote:

I totally understand the dangerous part. The last time I was at BigBend NP there were signs everywhere cautioning against leaving a car unattended or hiking or camping without being in a big group. The only rangers I saw anywhere were in the offices. And the sky is so dark. Sad:(




That is sad to hear. It's been several years since I've made the trip to Big Bend, and I've been wondering if conditions there had changed with respect to safety.

At least Davis Mountains State Park is a little further away from the border.


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