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Possible dark sky trip to Beaver's Bend, OK

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#1 SeaBee1

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:55 AM

I have vacation time coming up at the end of September, and I didn't have any plans, you know, one of those staycation things. My youngest son found out I would be off from work and asked me if I had any plans. Since I didn't, he asked if I was interested in going out to Beaver's Bend, and BRING A SCOPE? Are you kidding me??? Yeah, I'm in!

 

So, I looked into some cabin rentals, found some nice ones... but they are all in the deep woods, and no clear horizons. And without a location to view from at the cabin site, something nearby in the area would be nice. Is anyone familiar with the area and know of any good sites for viewing?

 

TIA

 

Keep looking up!

 

CB



#2 mashirts

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:10 AM

Have you thought of the satellite view in Google maps to find clear areas in the park?
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#3 SeaBee1

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:00 AM

Have you thought of the satellite view in Google maps to find clear areas in the park?

 

Duhh! I did not... I'll have a look, thank you for the reminder!

 

Clear skies!

 

CB



#4 MikeBOKC

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 07:08 AM

End of September in Oklahoma? Well there is this:

 

http://www.okie-tex.com/

 

Just one of the biggest and darkest star parties in the western hemisphere . . .


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#5 SeaBee1

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:06 AM

End of September in Oklahoma? Well there is this:

 

http://www.okie-tex.com/

 

Just one of the biggest and darkest star parties in the western hemisphere . . .

 

Hi Mike!, Okie-Tex is certainly on  my bucket list, but I can't do it this time. That is a trip I'll have to do when it's just my Dearest and me. Since my son is planning this trip, and he decided on Beavers Bend, I'm trying to find a way to make the astro part of this trip a bit more productive. As suggested above by mashirts, I took a look at Google Maps satellite image for the area... Holy Smoke... nothing but forest for MILES AND MILES... very little clearing... and I love forested areas, heck I grew up in Mississippi, home of the densest pine forests I have ever seen, but I was hoping I would see a break in the tree line SOMEWHERE. I'm sure there is, but the satellite view didn't look promising. There could be a break in the tree cover near the western boat dock. I'll find out when we get there.

 

Clear skies guys!

 

CB



#6 bunyon

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:14 AM

I'm from western OK and had never heard of Beaver's Bend. Looks like a pretty place. I've made one trip through the southeastern part of the state - at the age of 6 or so in the 70s. 

 

I'm not sure where you're coming from, but Okie-Tex is almost 10 hours of driving from Beaver's Bend. Just a hair closer than Atlanta.

 

So, yeah, I think stick with Beaver's Bend. Hopefully someone in the area sees this and suggests an observing spot.


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#7 SeaBee1

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:25 AM

Hi Paul! We are in the Dallas, TX area. B's Bend is about a 3.5 hr drive for us. Okie-Tex is quite a bit further, though that isn't the real issue. I'm not driving this trip, this is my son's deal. He does want the astro part but his main goal is to get out of town and into the woods. B's Bend was his pick. We'll find a spot I think, though it may not be ideal. Okie-Tex will be for another time...

 

Clear skies!

 

CB


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#8 wrvond

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 11:00 AM

Since Beavers Bend is your destination and a sky view is secondary, I'd contact the ranger's office and ask if there is a location they can recommend to set up a telescope.

In the meantime, here is an old guidebook you might find interesting:

 

http://ogs.ou.edu/do...ebooks/GB11.pdf


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#9 SeaBee1

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 09:33 PM

Since Beavers Bend is your destination and a sky view is secondary, I'd contact the ranger's office and ask if there is a location they can recommend to set up a telescope.

In the meantime, here is an old guidebook you might find interesting:

 

http://ogs.ou.edu/do...ebooks/GB11.pdf

 

Good suggestion, I had not thought of the Ranger's office. And thanks for the PDF. I'll take a look at it this weekend.

 

Best regards!

 

CB



#10 kksmith

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 06:28 PM

My mom's  family used to do a family reunion in the fall every year at Beaver's Bend. We stayed in the cabins on the river - the park itself is heavily wooded. I would suggest possibly observing outside the park on the lake side of the dam.  I didn't own a telescope then and trout and family fellowship were the priorities.

 

Ken


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#11 SeaBee1

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 08:09 AM

Good morning Ken! Apologies for the late response, its been a hectic couple of days...

 

After a bit of research, and looking at the satellite data, the dam area looks like it might be a good spot. Can't really tell what the lighting at night will be like, however. I also got our cabin rented and it looks like the cabin area will have some unobstructed sky, judging by the pictures on their website.

 

All this time I was thinking how nice it was going to be having a good dark sky, no moon until early morning, perfect for viewing DSO's, right? Then my son tells me last night he is hoping to get some good views of the moon on this trip...

 

I had to explain to him that we can see the moon anytime it's up, at my house, all he has to do is come over... no need for special trips...

 

I think he will like the DSO plan...

 

Clear DARK skies!

 

CB



#12 Unknownastron

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 09:22 PM

Beaver's Bend and Okie-Tex are literally the 2 points in Oklahoma most distant from one another.  Look at the map!

I have been to Beaver's Bend but over 10 years ago.  We did not go for stargazing but it will be dark.Bring something to help combat dew, as it will get damp.

Clear skies and clean glass,

Mike


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#13 SeaBee1

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 09:00 AM

Thanks Mark for the heads up about the dew, hadn't given that much thought... rarely have a dew problem here in the DFW area.

 

Clear skies!

 

CB



#14 SeaBee1

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 09:49 AM

Update:

 

All systems are GO! Cabin is rented, and while not completely ideal for stargazing, there is some clearing in the area. It should be adequate for our purposes. I have been working on compiling a list of targets, I'll present them here for any feedback anyone might wish to provide.

 

Since I was perusing my latest S&T and there was an article about September planetary nebula, I decided to focus on those primarily. I will be taking the SW120ED and AVX as well as binoculars for the viewing.

 

NGC 6543 (Cat's Eye Nebula)

NGC 7048

NGC 7008

NGC 6826 (Blinking Planetary)

NGC 7026

NGC 7027

NGC 6905 (Blue Flash Nebula)

NGC 7009 (Saturn Nebula)

NGC 7293 (Helix Nebula)

NGC 6818 (Little Gem Nebula)

NGC 6720 (Ring Nebula)

NGC 6853 (Dumbbell Nebula)

NGC 457 (Owl cluster)

I also wanted to take in some galaxies, and so added a few to my list of targets.

 

M31 (naturally!)

M102

M33

M74

 

Collinder 399

 

If anyone has other suggestions, I am entirely open to it!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

CB

 

Edit to add targets


Edited by SeaBee1, 23 August 2019 - 09:05 PM.


#15 Chesterguy1

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 01:18 PM

CB--

 

You might ask Havasman about prime viewing spots. If I recall correctly, he is from the DFW area and goes to a dark site over there in SE OK. I have a colleague with 250 acres due south of there near Avery, TX. Amazingly dark there, but not as good as Black Mesa where Okie-Tex is held.

 

Chesterguy


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#16 SeaBee1

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 06:26 PM

Chesterguy, Dick (Havasman) and I discussed the club observing site a long while back, when I had first signed in to CN, but that really hasn't been an option for me, as I would need to join the club to have access. Right now, club membership just isn't a priority. As far as any other prime spots in and around DFW... I don't think there are any... ya gotta get out of town...

 

It's all good!

 

CB



#17 MEE

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 07:59 PM

Especially for your son:

Owl cluster NGC 457
Coathanger cluster in Cygnus

#18 MEE

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 08:00 PM

Especially for your son:

Owl cluster NGC 457
Coathanger cluster in Vulpecula

Edited by MEE, 23 August 2019 - 08:03 PM.

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#19 SeaBee1

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 09:01 PM

Thanks, MEE, I will add those!

 

CB



#20 edwincjones

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 08:13 AM

I have never been to Beaver Bend but camping next door in Arkansas state parks,

beautiful areas but many trees do block the dark sky.

More to do during the day, but less at night.

 

edj


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#21 SeaBee1

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 09:07 AM

Good morning Edwin! Arkansas is a beautiful state! My Dearest and I have camped at Spring River years ago, and made the canoe trip down the river... the rapids there were tons of fun... for youngsters! I would never attempt that at my age now. We also like Eureka Springs, but haven't been there in years either. Life has a way of getting in the way!

 

We are stoked for this trip, we need a get-away, the hustle and bustle of DFW can wear you down...

 

Clear skies guys!

 

CB



#22 Bloated Star

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 10:19 PM

A few years ago, when I still had my motor home, we stayed at an RV park in Beaver’s Bend. The skies were great. I had the 10” DOB and really enjoyed it. It’s pretty heavily forested so sometimes the views are limited.
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#23 SeaBee1

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 08:11 AM

A few years ago, when I still had my motor home, we stayed at an RV park in Beaver’s Bend. The skies were great. I had the 10” DOB and really enjoyed it. It’s pretty heavily forested so sometimes the views are limited.

 

Oh how I wish I could take my 10 inch Dob! I way over built it, it's far too bulky to transport along with all the other stuff we need to take... but I think the SW120Ed will make a nice showing... and it will be much easier to tree dodge with...

 

CB



#24 SeaBee1

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 09:36 AM

Everything is set for travel on Tuesday! If the weather forecast holds, Wednesday night looks like it will be clear and cool, Thursday a bit cloudy, but maybe manageable. I ordered a UHC and an OIII and all have arrived and are packed in my eyepiece case. I have a couple of target lists set up in SkySafari 6 Plus that should provide a wide range of targets. Needless to say... I'm pumped!

 

Good hunting!

 

CB


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#25 Chesterguy1

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:41 PM

Good luck CB. It has rained like crazy here in this part of OK in the last 15-18 hours. I checked this morning and we had received 2" overnight. I too, would like some clear viewing with the onset of more comfortable evening temps.

 

Chesterguy


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