Not quite sure where to post this, so trying it here. I live on Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest, and I have an opportunity to build an observatory at a dark sky site adjacent to Douglas fir forest (above which the planets will rise and set). I have read an article that states that forests will play havoc with "seeing" at night - because of emissions from the trees and because of their effect on air currents. I would appreciate comments on this - on other's experiences with this - as I do not have a lot of options for places to put an observatory here, especially since much of the Island is rich in Douglas fir forest. Thank you for your feedback.
Observatory near a forest
Posted 30 October 2019 - 11:56 AM
Well, the alternative would be naked hills... which one could also argue is problematic. The trees around my dome seem to help --- a LOT! Half arc-seeing is not uncommon here. Tom
- brave_ulysses, jdupton, PirateMike and 1 other like this
Posted 30 October 2019 - 12:27 PM
Some professional observatories in the past have located themselves in forested areas or have even planted forests in the surrounds.
I am reminded of the old Isaac Newton 100 inch telescope that was built in the UK in the 60's at the RGO in Sussex, right by a marsh !
A few acres of pine were planted around it but the fogs and LP finally won out (as did common sense!) and the scope was relocated to La Palma in the Canary Islands, where it now enjoys wonderful bare mountain top views.
- jdupton likes this
Posted 30 October 2019 - 02:04 PM
I have to agree with Tom, they seem to help. I have viewed many a time in state and national forests. Setting up in clear cut areas with the perimeter of forest all around. Good luck with the build, and don't forget we like pictures.
Posted 30 October 2019 - 02:14 PM
I started my observing and astrophotography in your neck of the woods (literally, woods, get it?) on Denman Island. We had a 1.5 acre clearing in the midst of 120-foot-tall second growth Douglas fir forest. While I had trouble seeing anything in the southern hemisphere sky (including M42, for heaven's sake) due to the trees on the neighbours' property, I had no trouble with seeing. Skies were dark, often transparent, and with seeing no worse than anywhere else I have seen.
These days, I am in Nova Scotia, and I have an observatory. It is situated on a clearing that is about 150' x 100' in heavy mixed spruce/birch forest. Again, it is not a problem. The trees help break the wind, and obscure the dusk-to-dawn light from the neighbour's yard light.
Work with what you've got. If you've got the land, build the observatory! There is no reason not to.
- Tom K, jcj380 and Stevegeo like this
Posted 30 October 2019 - 04:11 PM
Posted 30 October 2019 - 05:52 PM
Thank you all so much for your responses! You have been very helpful and encouraging!
I really appreciate your helpful wisdom.
Posted 01 November 2019 - 09:40 PM
Also make sure you're set up far enough away from the trees that they won't drip sap on you.