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General Astronomy >> Light Pollution

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AcesDJD
member


Reged: 10/06/13

Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: obin robinson]
      #6142533 - 10/17/13 09:40 AM

Would a red zone be the same deal? I have a friend with a farm outside of town here with no local lights at all, but its still going to be heavily affected by Seoul's lightdome but at zenith shouldn't be bad at all.

The guy with the 9.25 has six lenses with it as well, are lots of lenses pretty easy to come by? Also he has the weights with it, does the 8se not need weights? I've read posts about the motor getting ruined without weights but I think that was for bigger scopes.

You've got me leaning towards the 8se, but this is going to be the only scope I buy for years so its a tough call..


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AcesDJD
member


Reged: 10/06/13

Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: AcesDJD]
      #6142563 - 10/17/13 09:55 AM

Well the 8se is gone now, snooze you lose I guess. I took an observation under near full moon and partly cloudy conditions a grand total of ten stars/

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obin robinson
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/25/12

Loc: League City, TX
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: AcesDJD]
      #6144008 - 10/17/13 11:55 PM

The 9.25 doesn't sound like a bad deal. It would be worth investigating.

obin


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Live_Steam_Mad
sage


Reged: 07/24/07

Loc: Moss Bank, St.Helens, England
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: obin robinson]
      #6154006 - 10/23/13 04:10 PM

For me here in St.Helens, 12 miles from Liverpool, England I seem to have a sky that looks like a 6 at best on a Moon less light when clear. On the map of ;-

https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/dlorenz/web/astronomy/lp2006/overlay/dark.html

...I am in a darker red area.

I found it interesting that most *very* large cities like London have an inner White core, that inner white core is *several* times larger in e.g. Chicago or Manhattan. Then most large cities such as Birmingham or Manchester, England have a large area of light grey, Toronto, Canada has a very large area of light grey compared to e.g. Manchester, which already has rediculously bad LP.

Then, areas which have a TON of light pollution such as central Liverpool (2 Million people in the whole city), are shown as bright red, no grey, and areas like the centre of St.Helens (186,000 people, 23,500 street lights ) are shown as dark red.

What is interesting also is that in the St.Helens town centre the ability to see anything at all is almost impossible (1 star on a clear night was about all I saw) but that is because of all the unshielded lights pouring orange light and glare into my eyes from large amounts of High Pressure Sodium SON-T 70W lamps (like one every 10 metres or it seems).

And yet here in Hillbrae Avenue, Moss Bank on the "border" between urban / industry and suburban / rural (Pilkington's Glass Cowley Hill plant 1.5 miles away, major source of many huge BRIGHT orange lights pouring into the sky, WAY brighter than any street lights I ever saw, and Pilkington Glass Ravenhead plant 2.5 miles away ( 5 large white BRIGHT lights, again brighter than street lights), and the many many bright lights of British Oxygen Company's industrial plant just a few streets away - and yet there are green fields stretching for miles to my North West and North, the sky is WAY better than in central St.Helens from here, an awesome large difference. At the rear of my home, when I observe from one particular place on the patio, I have no direct lights of any kind visible near me at all.

Also when I go to my friend Jon H's house 2 miles away at Billinge, to use his 8" LX90 ACF, the Southern sky (and the rest as well) gets very much darker and it can be mesmerising from there on a clear night. But even there after 30mins of dark adaptation you can still see you are under a bright suburban sky, just on the verge of starting to be rural. Maybe almost a 5 on that simulation shown on the 1st post in this topic.

And yet all 3 areas above (central St.H, Moss Bank, Billinge) are all shown as dark red! But the skies are nothing like each other! Must be a lot to do with the amount of lights directed towards you, not all to do with the actual sky glow as such. BUT there are no direct lights on me here and neither are there at Jon's house but his sky is quite different from mine (darker) yet both of us are in the dark red zone

So there are areas of St.Helens that (and I can't believe I am saying this) have radically different amounts of visible light pollution even though it's all graded as the same dark red on that map.

As a guide, when I used my 19.5" dob some years ago, M13 globular cluster looked just like a photo taken with a 100" reflector in an old book I had, absolutely awesome, possibly several thousand stars directly visible without needing hardly any averted vision, a very large twinkling ball of sugar dust, rather bright as well, M57 Ring nebula was just awesome too and quite bright. The limiting magnitude is about 4.4 from here at the very best, judgeing by what stars I can see in Corona Borealis when I last checked. It's a very bright suburban sky here. Ground is very dark, sky is very bright, and that's on a clear moonless night.

M31 is impossible to see with direct vision of unaided eyes here when it's directly overhead on a clear moonless night with good transparency. I checked several times. I can see it easily in binoculars though. Even in the 19.5" I never saw ANY dust lanes or detail, I was so dissappointed that it hardly looked any different from the view in my 10x50 bino's

BTW I seem to have quite "noisy" night vision, not exceptional at all. AND I have severe Astigmatism (3+ dioptres) and am forced to wear glasses.

What is really sickening is that some years ago when there was a blackout of the street lights for more than 2 miles in every direction due to a local substation blowing out, the sky did NOT change at ALL overhead It was still as bright orange as when the power was ON...

Best Regards,

Alistair G.

Edited by Live_Steam_Mad (10/23/13 04:29 PM)


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Live_Steam_Mad
sage


Reged: 07/24/07

Loc: Moss Bank, St.Helens, England
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: Live_Steam_Mad]
      #6154075 - 10/23/13 04:59 PM

Forgot to mention, this is what my Bortle level 6 / dark red zone sky looks like here in Moss Bank, St,Helens, England, UK ;-

https://picasaweb.google.com/101932667412801910198/LightPollutionFromStHelens...

Regards,

Alistair G.

Edited by Live_Steam_Mad (10/23/13 05:24 PM)


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AcesDJD
member


Reged: 10/06/13

Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: Live_Steam_Mad]
      #6154356 - 10/23/13 08:17 PM

When I first looked at your pictures I was thinking it looked lit up like Christmas even worse than here, but when I took a closer look at the skyglow, I see that yours is much lower on the horizon. Was this an evening picture? I suspect a lot of those house lights get turned off and you could get some good viewing very late at night.

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Live_Steam_Mad
sage


Reged: 07/24/07

Loc: Moss Bank, St.Helens, England
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: AcesDJD]
      #6154697 - 10/24/13 12:59 AM

Hi, Yes these were a set of evening pictures taken out of my upstairs house windows (I live 1/2 way up a hill) at maybe 8PM if I remember right. Nope those lights NEVER get turned off during the night. The reason is that they are NOT house lights, they are all the lights of streets or roads or industry (I labelled most pictures to say which).

However St.Helens has a new policy in certain places where they have installed new lights as part of the BLISS project where they are starting to dim (can't believe I just wrote that ) maybe a thousand or so street lights (out of 23,500) after 10pm to 75 per cent, then down to 50 per cent after midnight, and they usually also change the High Pressure Sodium SON-T 70W lights to White CPO lights but with 50W lamps, BUT usually NO shielding (Cobra Heads), but that was a European partner project that only lasted 3 years. Also however they just passed a thing through the council saying that they are spending 1.7m GBP over the next several years to change a lot more of the lights to save energy. Probably more of the same (white light conversion, usually NOT LED's, St.Helens is a wierd place and seems to prefer White incandesent lights with NO shielding ).

The only lights I ever saw that were shielded were the ones in Queensway road just down the road where they are on short posts and have FULL CUT OFFS (I can't believe I just wrote that either), it was like a walk in a foreign country when I went down there a few nights ago for a look, and on Martindale Road on the way to Jon's house 2 miles away to use his 8" ACF at Billinge (fully shielded, HPS, very tall masts). Oh and some LED sort-of-shielded lights on trial down the road from Jon's in a Cul De Sac. Preposterously BRIGHT , but the houses were in near darkness and the road was bright white. I shuddered when I saw them.

It's odd how I look out of the landing window at Pilkington's lights and see the sky near the horizon is very, very bright, which is my ruined view to the South (unfortunate that's where all the interesting things are!! )

But that if I look about 110 degrees round to the right hand side out of the same window, facing West or just past it to NNW, the sky goes hugely darker in comparison, near the horizon. And believe me it does have an effect. My Southern sky is a washed out disaster zone, but my Northern sky is actually impressive for 5 seconds when I walk out the back door until my eyes very quickly adjust, and within 10 minutes I am starting to feel annoyed, and within 20 mins I start to feel a little physically sick at the sight of the brightness of the sky. But I am very grateful that it's not worse. I am insanely jealous of my local friend Jon H. who is 2 miles futher out from St.Helens at Billinge, his sky is remarkably different and darker than mine, and his Southern sky is very good compared to mine. Until I've spent 30 mins in the dark at his house and then realise it only really seems maybe 1/3 darker than where I live, if that, and it's really a rather depressingly bright suburban sky (if not almost rural).

I used to just about see the Milky Way from here in the late 1980's but that's LONG gone. I sometimes think I can see the Milky Way running through Perseus into Cygnus directly overhead, like I saw tonight under a 75 per cent Moon which was 45 degrees altitude, but it's very hard to tell and I think it might be my imagination? It's like an extremely subtle higher density "cloud" of stars with a very dark grey color. I've never seen the Milky Way in Summer at all, ever.

I checked the limiting magnitude here tonight with the clear sky and good transparency which we had (a clear sky being rather unusual for NW England, but good transparency is not uncommon since it rains a LOT, but we usually have terrible seeing with powerfully scintillating stars) and I was able to see the two mag 4.3 and one mag. 4.2 stars in the Small Bear's (Ursa Minor) Tail coming down below Polaris. I was outside viewing at like 1AM until 2:30AM. Those stars were only at around 40 degrees above the horizon. Not as bad as I thought, given the 75 per cent Moon destroying the contrast (which my home was shielding). I must check the LM at Zenith next time it's a clear transparent moon-less sky.

I am 39 years old and I have never seen a dark sky in my life, I have only ever lived in either Crosby / Waterloo Liverpool or Marshall's Cross, St.Helens or Moss Bank St.Helens and only ever had 2 holidays in my whole life, and they were both in Torquay, Devon (loads of LP).

If I ever see a proper dark sky I am worried I might either faint from the excitement or have a middle aged heart attack miles from the nearest hospital at the sight of thousands of stars in a high contrast sky

Seriously, I need to attend a Star Party sometime. The local Liverpool Astronomical Society has an observatory in fairly moderately badly light polluted Widnes, about 6 miles away, with a 12" Meade SCT in a dome, or there are the Side Walk Astronomy events. But that's not a dark sky Even when they go to Martin Mere (rather darker than here, orange on the map) they hold the event on a Moon lit night for the public!

My Uncle George lives about 10 miles away in Burscough and even though that's not that far from Liverpool, it's further North from here and surrounded by fields and is orange on the map (supposed to be rather darker than even my friend Jon's house) but he has BRIGHT outside security lights that he says are rigged to come on every time he opens the back door Anyway I must go round there sometime with binoculars and check out how dark it really is. It would fascinate me. Also he very occasionally visits Shetland (island far off the Coast of Scotland, used to be owned by Norway) where he does family history research and stays at the local hotel. There is virtually no light pollution there. I have asked to go with him next time he goes.

My cousin Jacqueline lives in a hamlet high on a hill outside Barrow in Furness, England, called Broughton Beck, it's rediculously remote and hard to imagine. I asked my Aunt if the sky there glowed orange at night like it did here and in Culcheth locally where she is. I was shocked and went green with envy and red with rage when she said no the sky was black when she went into the garden for 20 mins to look at all the hundreds and hundreds of stars that were visible

The other side effect of going to a dark sky site (so I am told) is that you feel like you can't observe for months afterwards from where you normally live I have yet to experience all this... Sorry I am so long-winded

Best Regards,

Alistair G.

Edited by Live_Steam_Mad (10/25/13 02:35 PM)


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: Live_Steam_Mad]
      #6154881 - 10/24/13 06:47 AM

Quote:

I found it interesting that most *very* large cities like London have an inner White core, that inner white core is *several* times larger in e.g. Chicago or Manhattan.




Can you say "green belt?" Urban planning does have an effect! Also, the New York metropolitan area is much bigger than London's. Manhattan itself generates a negligible fraction of New York's light pollution.

Quote:

Toronto, Canada has a very large area of light grey compared to e.g. Manchester.




This is a know anomaly in the original Light Pollution Atlas. The satellite readings were done in winter, so areas with snow cover (Chicago, Minneapolis, Toronto, Montreal) appear much, much worse on the map than they really are.


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AcesDJD
member


Reged: 10/06/13

Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: Live_Steam_Mad]
      #6156523 - 10/24/13 10:46 PM

Well it sounds like your area is at least off to a good start with having some lights shielded and dimming lights late at night. Perhaps a reason for future optimism? Here in Korea I think there's no chance of even moderate improvements at all, because environmentalism isn't even on the radar here let alone light pollution.

The one lucky stroke I have is that our appartment complex has a huge wall built of some kind of thick plastic or something that is designed to block out the road noises (which it accomplishes quite well) I don't think it does anything for the sky mag, but it blocks out many of the immediate area street lights.

I'm almost certain I can't see mag 4 stars when the moon is out here. I'm now second guessing myself, but when there was no moon I believe I made out a mag 4 constellation, well anyway I haven't been able to see it at all since the moon is over the horizon now, not even a single star from it.

Well anyhow, things could be much worse


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Live_Steam_Mad
sage


Reged: 07/24/07

Loc: Moss Bank, St.Helens, England
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: AcesDJD]
      #6157645 - 10/25/13 03:13 PM

Quote:

environmentalism isn't even on the radar here let alone light pollution.




The Environment is almost entirely irrelevant to most people in the heavily populated parts of the North West of England, I have lived here long enough to know that. Hence the popularity of the SIX MILES long Blackpool Lights / Illuminations ;-

http://www.itv.com/news/granada/2012-08-31/blackpools-illuminations-preparati...

...that I *loved* as a young boy and now have very mixed emotions about since I still adore the colors and styles of the illuminations and ESPECIALLY the TRAMS ;-

http://www.blackpool-illuminations.net/trams.html

...but look what it does to the astromoners in Blackpool when seen from a mile or two away ;-

http://www.ephotozine.com/articles/blackpool-illuminations---nighttime-photog...

...I feel a bit sorry for the local Astronomers (and there are some would you believe it), it's an event which has been going since virtually the invention of the electric light itself. It will never be ended. Glare shields would not be practical there I suppose, but UPLIGHT shields would be a good idea.

The late Patrick Moore (Host of The Sky At Night TV programme) once complained of the beam being sent out from Blackpool Tower which could be seen 30 miles away and I can see his point. BTW Sky at Night has just been nominally cancelled by the BBC after more than 50 years and there is a petition about it that 51,700 people have signed (Google it for those in UK) including me and some of my friends.

Most people here are afraid of the "dark" and energy must be very cheap as every 1 in 8 approx. houses has an outside unshielded light left on permanently all night. Yet people complain bitterly about the recent 10 per cent hike in energy bills. Well turn the lights off then doah! And my car was vandalised (mirror snapped off and hanging down by it's wires) right across the road from a VERY bright unshielded street light here so light does NOT deter crime in my experience.

If I am honest I don't really need it to be jet black or anything with EVERY light turned off, I am just wanting a low brightness soft glow, aimed straight down (absolutely no uplight, FULL cut off uplight and glare shields on the street lights). Then they could leave every light on and not even need to turn off every alternate light or switch them all off as some councils are doing. I would then feel a LOT happier, but I wonder how much real dfference it would make to the brightness of my night sky?

Best Regards,

Alistair G.

Edited by Live_Steam_Mad (10/25/13 03:15 PM)


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Live_Steam_Mad
sage


Reged: 07/24/07

Loc: Moss Bank, St.Helens, England
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: AcesDJD]
      #6157683 - 10/25/13 03:31 PM

Quote:

The one lucky stroke I have is that our appartment complex has a huge wall built of some kind of thick plastic or something that is designed to block out the road noises (which it accomplishes quite well) I don't think it does anything for the sky mag, but it blocks out many of the immediate area street lights.

I'm almost certain I can't see mag 4 stars when the moon is out here. I'm now second guessing myself, but when there was no moon I believe I made out a mag 4 constellation, well anyway I haven't been able to see it at all since the moon is over the horizon now, not even a single star from it.




I am very interested and curious to hear from you as to whether you can see magnitude 3.8,3.9,4.0, 4.1, 4.2 or 4.3 stars from your location at all, at about 45 degrees or more altitude on a clear nearly moonless night with good transparency?

I use Skymap Pro 9 or 11 free demo, it's a simple but VERY handy and usable and intuitive planetarium program, to see what brightness certain stars are (make sure not to use variable stars if you can!) so I can do the test.

I pick fainter stars in Ursa Minor, Lyra, Draco, Pegasus, etc. since then I am familiar with the constellation shape and can see where a faint star is supposed to be. Use AVERTED VISION to detect the faintest ones, aim your eyes to the right of the faint star by about 1,2 or 3 degrees and then you will see much fainter things than by direct vision. Make sure you have been "dark" adapted by at least 15 to 20 minutes with NO direct lights shining into your eyes from anywhere.

Then finally when you have seen which is the faintest one you can see, do the same test but now pick stars overhead or close to it. That last part is one I need to do soon.

I'd be interested to hear what your results are. So far I got mag. 4.36 with a 75 per cent phase, shielded moon which was 45 degrees up, for stars 40 deg. up from my Northern horizon. I can't hardly begin to imagine what it's like from parts of Nevada or Galloway Forrest Park, Scotland (our darkest place here, even Llampeter Wales is brighter! and that's DARK) or Hawaii where you can see down to mag. 7 with the naked eye

Cheers,

Alistair G.

Edited by Live_Steam_Mad (10/25/13 03:39 PM)


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mak17
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/08/11

Loc: Central Florida
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: Live_Steam_Mad]
      #6157703 - 10/25/13 03:46 PM

I live in bortle 7/8 but observe in bortle 4/3/2 only.

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AcesDJD
member


Reged: 10/06/13

Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: mak17]
      #6159311 - 10/26/13 02:38 PM

Is this worksheet accurate? http://www.globeatnight.org/dsr/Dark_Skies_Rangers_Lessons/Constellation_at_Y...

According to it, with a half moon I have mag 5 skies. Don't quite buy that. Here's the strange part is that I can just barely make out the head of Orion and yet the sword is clearly visible. I would say 4 makes more sense, the sky is more dark gray than black tonight.

Thanks for the link I downloaded it. Two questions if you don't mind...How do you set your local time and what do you do when your trial period runs out?

Edit After an additional observation with orion moving away from the moon a bit I wouldn't say the head is so hard to see, but the sword still looks somewhat brighter to me. I caught his bow this time, something I've never caught before what mag is that?

Edited by AcesDJD (10/26/13 02:57 PM)


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Live_Steam_Mad
sage


Reged: 07/24/07

Loc: Moss Bank, St.Helens, England
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with [Re: AcesDJD]
      #6200189 - 11/17/13 03:46 PM

Quote:

According to it, with a half moon I have mag 5 skies. Don't quite buy that. Here's the strange part is that I can just barely make out the head of Orion and yet the sword is clearly visible. I would say 4 makes more sense, the sky is more dark gray than black tonight.

Thanks for the link I downloaded it. Two questions if you don't mind...How do you set your local time and what do you do when your trial period runs out?

Edit After an additional observation with orion moving away from the moon a bit I wouldn't say the head is so hard to see, but the sword still looks somewhat brighter to me. I caught his bow this time, something I've never caught before what mag is that?




If you are asking about SkyMap Pro, you don't need to set your time in the program for just the date and time setting, but you do have to make sure your PC has the correct time zone in Control Panel / Date & Time settings / Date & Time tab / Change Date & Time and/or Change Time Zone (GMT / UT for me here in England) if you are using e.g. Windows Vista like I am on this laptop, and I use the Internet Time tab and the Change Settings button and then Update Time to synchronise the PC with an Atomic clock.

In SkyMap Pro you click on the icon of the Earth (for your location and time zone setting) on the left, then use Google Earth and zoom in and find your Longitude and Latitude in degrees, minutes, and seconds (in Google Earth, choose Tools / Options then on the 3D View tab in the Show Lat/Long section choose Degrees, Minutes, Seconds) then put it carefully into SkyMap Pro, then make sure your time zone is correct in SMPro(which would be 540 minutes ahead of UT for South Korea / Seoul, and make sure Daylight Savings is ticked or not ticked as appropriate (for us in England, Daylight Savings is now OFF) then I put in 7 Celcius and 1013 mBar for pessure (cold, fairly high pressure i.e. clear) and I put in my height of 54 meters above Sea Level as I am 1/2 way up a fair sized hill and I took my height reading from Google Earth where it says elev. just between the lat/long and eye alt at the bottom of the screen.

Then choose OK (do NOT click on home) and then select File and Save Defaults. Now your time and location will automatically be correct every time you launch the program.

From here I can see Sigma Orionis, a star of mag. 3.77 is just below to the left side of Orion's belt, and you can see Iota Orionis mag 2.75 which is the star of Orion's Sword. But that part of the sky (South) always has an unpleasant mid orange glow to Orion, from where I am, which is unfortunate as I love Orion.

See if you can make out 29 Orionis mag 4.13, 2.5 degrees left of Rigel and 2/3 degree above Rigel approx. Then try 32 Orionis mag. 4.45, 2 degrees to the left of Gamma, and 1/2 degree below approx. I'll try and do the same next time it's clear with no moon and good transparency. I very much doubt you have a mag. 5 sky, if you do then I am very jealous LOL..the best I seem to do from here is about mag. 4.3 so far in the Northern sky.

I'd be interested to know if you can see those two.

Best Regards,

Alistair G.

Edited by Live_Steam_Mad (11/17/13 03:50 PM)


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Live_Steam_Mad
sage


Reged: 07/24/07

Loc: Moss Bank, St.Helens, England
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: Live_Steam_Mad]
      #6277346 - 12/28/13 02:26 PM

OK after a few nights, checking now and then with the Moon below the horizon, I see Tau Orionis fairly easily (mag. 3.59) about 3 degrees above and 1.5 degrees to the left of Rigel (1/6 of the way between Rigel and Delta Orionis, the right most star of the Orion's belt), and I can also see 29 Orionis (mag 4.13), 2.5 degrees left of Rigel and 2/3 degree above Rigel approx.

But that's about as faint as I can see in terms of stars in the lower part of Orion. Below mag 4.13 is impossible to see from here. 29 Orionis at mag. 4.13 needs averted vision and some experience to see it, and sometimes I can just hold it with direct vision but it's very difficult.

In the Northern sky with less LP I do better from here with mag 4.3 being fairly easy with averted vision and sometimes direct.

For these people who can see down to mag. 5.5 or 6, I cannot imagine what it's like to see that. Must be wonderful.

When I was about 13 years old, Orion rose over the East in what seemed like a fairly dark sky to me, it looked magnificent. Now in the East from here the LP is horribly worse. Something has definitely gone a LOT worse in St.Helens in the last 25 years in terms of Light Pollution.

Best Regards,

Alistair G.

Edited by Live_Steam_Mad (12/28/13 02:28 PM)


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scottk
sage


Reged: 08/29/09

Loc: Tennessee
Re: Which number on the scale best correlates with new [Re: obin robinson]
      #6277542 - 12/28/13 04:37 PM

Light pollution really is a horrible disgusting thing. I use my unmodified dslr to see things I can't see visually through my scopes. Even that gets quite annoying though, because after seeing the results some people get from setups just like mine from dark skies, it makes me wish I could get images like that.

I read a post from someone not long ago who complained about only being being able to take 7 or 8 minute exposures at iso 1600 because of light pollution.... BWWAAHAHAHAAHHAAA.

My histogram is well beyond one third from left at about 30 seconds.

On an exceptionally clear night, I can count maybe 40 or 50 stars from my back yard, but I try to look on the bright side - I can count at least 64 highway street lights.


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