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Houston, TX Area Dark Sky Sites

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#1 Clete

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 05:56 PM

I've lived in the Houston, TX area for about five years and have only been doing this astronomy thing for about two years and so I don't have a lot of options on where to go to get to some really nicely dark skies. My back yard is right on the outer edge of a red zone on the light pollution map. I can get decent data using a CLS filter but there's just no improving on actual dark skies.

 

I've found a handful of dark sites here and there, several of which I haven't actually used yet and some of which I haven't been able to secure permission to be on the land.

 

One in particular that I've used a few times is near Somerville Lake. It's actually a small little gravel parking area for a Wildlife Management Area, which is public land and thus no need for permission to be there and it costs nothing to access it. The only draw back is that its in a very low lying area and things can fog up really easily. Dew on steroids! Here's the map coordinators..

 

30°17'07.3"N 96°41'34.0"W

 

 

So if any of you are near Houston and know of any good - preferably free or super cheap - dark sky sites within about a two hour drive of northern Houston metro area, please post them here!

 

If we get enough responses, perhaps we can plan a star party if anyone's interested in doing so.

 

Clete


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#2 havasman

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 06:19 PM

https://www.astronomyhouston.org/

 

There's your best bet. They have a well appointed dark site, resources and LOTS of expertise you can tap into.


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#3 BFaucett

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 07:55 PM

https://www.astronomyhouston.org/

 

There's your best bet. They have a well appointed dark site, resources and LOTS of expertise you can tap into.

 

I agree.  I just recently joined the Houston Astronomical Society so I haven't used their dark site yet.  I'm looking forward to it.  One needs to be a member for 2 months before using the dark site.  A member also needs to pass a 12 question online test, after viewing the online tutorial, about using the dark site.  It's not difficult.  The dark site is located near Columbus, Texas.  HAS membership dues are $36 per year. 

 

Their dark site info:

https://www.astronom...has-observatory

 

Here's some photos of their dark site from their website:

 

 

gallery_230527_10667_53338.jpg

 

 

 

gallery_230527_10667_176329.jpg

 

gallery_230527_10667_186207.jpg

 

 

 

 

There is also the North Houston Astronomy Club but I don't know anything about them except for what's shown on their website.

 

http://astronomyclub.org/nhacwp/

 

Their dark site info:

http://astronomyclub...rien-dark-site/

 

 

 

Cheers!  Bob F.  smile.gif


Edited by BFaucett, 17 February 2019 - 07:59 PM.

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#4 Clete

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 07:59 AM

Very cool! I'll for sure be checking into the H.A.S.

 

Either of you guys know what Bortle class their dark sky site it rated at?


Edited by Clete, 18 February 2019 - 08:01 AM.

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#5 BFaucett

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 04:19 PM

This is from their online orientation tutorial for members about their dark site.

 

Cheers!  Bob F.

Attached Thumbnails

  • HAS-bortle.gif

Edited by BFaucett, 18 February 2019 - 04:40 PM.

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#6 rannar

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 07:58 PM

Brazos Bend is a bit far, might be a bit over the mark of 2 hours, but the skies there are relatively dark. There is even an observatory there.



#7 Geo31

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 10:28 AM

I'm a little late to this party.  Sorry.

 

Clete, I am a on-again, off-again member of NHAC.  Their dark site is not far north of Tomball.  It's actually just a bit north of Dobbin.  It's a pretty good site.  There is still a bit of a light dome to the south (Houston) and a couple of other small ones (Conroe to the east and College Station to the NW).  It's generally good skies though.  It's on private property that we can request access to (ground conditions permitting).

 

The club meetings are a bit of a hike for you (they are in Kingwood) as well as me (I live just north of Willis).  My property used to be reasonably dark, but in the last 4 years alone it has very noticeably degraded.  I'm just beginning a dark sky campaign:

 

https://www.facebook...22151975212545/

 

I am a member if the International Dark Sky Association.  I met with them in Tucson last month, and this past weekend attended the Texas Night Sky Festival and Dark Sky Workshop.  I'm formulating plans to move this forward in my community.

 

The HAS site in Columbus is a good one.  I've only been there once, shortly after moving to Houston 23 years ago.

 

I should also mention that NHAC has a fledgling Northwest chapter that meets at the maker barn up 2854, so not far from Tomball at all.

 

PM me if you want more information on any of this.


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#8 BFaucett

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 06:27 AM

I became aware of this video today so I thought I'd share it here for anyone that might be interested in joining the Houston Astronomical Society.

 

HAS Dark Site 8/12/16

Published on Aug 13, 2016

https://www.youtube....h?v=MIKmM0euntQ

 

Cheers! Bob F. smile.gif

 


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#9 AstraGeekette

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 06:11 PM

THANKS for not including too many photos, especially of the test questions!

 

I agree.  I just recently joined the Houston Astronomical Society so I haven't used their dark site yet.  I'm looking forward to it.  One needs to be a member for 2 months before using the dark site.  A member also needs to pass a 12 question online test, after viewing the online tutorial, about using the dark site.  It's not difficult.  The dark site is located near Columbus, Texas.  HAS membership dues are $36 per year. 

 

Their dark site info:

https://www.astronom...has-observatory

 

Here's some photos of their dark site from their website:




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