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Escape from the cold

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#1 Tim Hager

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 07:24 PM

What is your opinion of what area of the continental United States offers the best combination of warmer weather and dark skies during the winter? 

 

I've never tolerated the cold well but as I've aged, I tolerate the cold even less. At the same time my backyard has gotten brighter in the last 35 years as the neighbors' trees obscure more and more of the sky.   

 

Where is a good area to spend the winter astronomically?

 

...Tim


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#2 DLuders

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:28 PM

Consider the Tuscon, Arizona area!   smile.gif     https://www.climates...ona/tucson-intl

 

There are some dark skies southwest of town, near the Kitt Peak National Observatory.     https://www.lightpol...0FFFFFTFFFFFFFF


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#3 Richoff

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:29 PM

Well, I'm sitting here in 70deg evening weather, about 11/2 hrs south of Orlando near the Atlantic, and the skys are quit a bit darker than in my Canadian hometown south of Lake Ontario :)



#4 Aaron Small

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:31 PM

If money is no object... Australia or South America. 

 

If your stuck in the US, I'd say SW US (Arizona-Nevada-New Mexico).  As you know, warm temps mean higher humidity so desert is it.  Personally, I prefer the beach so I'd head to South FL.  Good fishing there, too.



#5 Stargezzer

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:38 PM

Tim I moved to Arizona in Oct and the temp has been very mild (29 to high 30's at the lowest).The sky conditions have been very poor however only been able to run a few long AP sessions....but those session have produced some of my best photos ever. There is still light pollution even with Tucson light pollution ordinances but the sky is still very good.



#6 TXsky

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:54 PM

Another option.... I like NW Florida around Pensacola and Gulf Shores Alabama.  Several good Astronomy clubs there too. 

 

There's some dark Bortle 2 skies in south Alabama too. 


Edited by TXsky, 19 January 2020 - 08:58 PM.


#7 sunnyday

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:55 PM

I would go to Arizona, not a lot of humidity to say the least, with good sky, the view is simply wow.



#8 TXsky

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 08:57 PM

I want to go to AZ and NM  too. 



#9 vsteblina

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 09:03 PM

leaving in the morning


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#10 jgraham

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 09:31 PM

While you are looking, you might give some thought to an EAA system. I assembled a dedicated kit that I can operate remotely from inside my house. This keeps me warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I can reach all the way down to magnitude 18 from my Bortle 8 backyard. When its nice to be outside I like to get some eyepiece time, but my EAA gear lets me use all of my clear nights and scout ahead for promising visual and imaging targets.

 

However...

 

With retirement within sight I'm thinking about relocating as well. :)



#11 Tony Flanders

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:13 AM

What is your opinion of what area of the continental United States offers the best combination of warmer weather and dark skies during the winter?


How warm is warm? The low-altitude desert Southwest has some many dark areas with excellent transparency, but deserts are characterized by huge day-night temperature swings. So even in southern Arizona, temperatures around freezing aren't rare.
 
Florida is warmer but has worse transparency, and finding a habitable spot that's far from all the major cities is a bit of a challenge.


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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:19 AM

How warm is warm? The low-altitude desert Southwest has some many dark areas with excellent transparency, but deserts are characterized by huge day-night temperature swings. So even in southern Arizona, temperatures around freezing aren't rare.
 
Florida is warmer but has worse transparency, and finding a habitable spot that's far from all the major cities is a bit of a challenge.

 

Deserts can be windy and the combination of the wind and the cold is not that much fun.   Still, I would choose cool winters and warm/hot summers over dealing with mosquitoes and the like.. 

 

Jon



#13 Chucky

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 08:42 AM

<<  Where is a good area to spend the winter astronomically?  >>

 

I'll tell you.....it's not here in central Ohio !


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#14 Stargezzer

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 10:12 AM

Guys temps in Tucson have been Highs ....60's-70's (66 is avg) Lows...40's. this past month. We did have a cold spell (29-low 30's for a week or so a few weeks ago. I am waiting for the clouds to clear out by tomorrow (rain moving through). I have yet to see any dew....it is really dry here.


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#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 10:47 AM

Guys temps in Tucson have been Highs ....60's-70's (66 is avg) Lows...40's. this past month. We did have a cold spell (29-low 30's for a week or so a few weeks ago. I am waiting for the clouds to clear out by tomorrow (rain moving through). I have yet to see any dew....it is really dry here.

 One thing about the southwest:  Temperature correlates to altitude.  Summer at 6000 feet is relatively cool and dry.  Winter at 6000 feet can be cold but winter at 1000 feet can be warm or at least relatively warm.  Last time I looked, there were no 6000 foot mountains in Florida.. The highest point is 300 feet above sea level.  

 

Jon


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#16 Spikey131

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 02:15 PM

I’m in the Florida Keys and the skies are very dark. It’s a little hard to get away from surface lighting, but the skies are black and steady. Nice to get out at night in January without freezing!

#17 JMW

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 05:39 PM

We go to Death Valley to observing in the Winter for a long weekend every couple of years. 


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#18 Kent10

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 05:42 PM

Jeff, how is the seeing in Death Valley?  Thanks.



#19 SonnyE

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 06:26 PM

Jeff, how is the seeing in Death Valley?  Thanks.

...it's Deathly quiet. 

Visit April/May for the Flower bloom.

 

Sorry, couldn't resist. Bortle 1

_________________________________________

 

Take a look at this light pollution map, and if something appeals to you, investigate the climate.

Nevada, Utah, Eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming have darker skies. But you won't escape all the cold.

Right now, it's even cold here in Southern California. 60 degrees is freezing here.

But like was suggested, go remote and sit inside to observe/image. I do.


Edited by SonnyE, 21 January 2020 - 06:37 PM.

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#20 JMW

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 10:00 AM

The seeing has variable like the weather. There are the Sierra Nevada to the west and it depends on how settled the weather is. I have probably had clear nights there 60% of the time on my several trips between January and March over the years.

 

The park can have some light pollution down near Furnace Creek. The darker areas are further north. 

 

I like observing at Mesquite Spring which seems to be very dark with no light pollution once campers go to bed. I have participated at the public outreach events at Furnace Creek but it isn't quiet as dark because of local light pollution. Its still great just not perfect.

 

The best part of winter observing is you can start early and observe a lot and still go to be by midnight and not be cold at the end.



#21 Cotts

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 10:42 AM

I would choose Florida's seeing over AZ/NM darkness.... (But I'm a double-star guy, mostly...)

 

I have my eye on the area east of Naples...  I might rent a suburban or semi-rural house there for 3 or 4 months next winter.. 

 

I sure as shootin' can't observe here in S. Ontario from about November to early April....  This old guy can't "do" cold any more....  My limit is about 5C (40F).......

 

Thanks goodness for the Winter STar Party where I will get my taste of winter objects in one week... 

 

Dave 



#22 dreeves2015

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 10:52 AM

I started astronomy living in Windsor, CT...the winter sucked with that. I had bought a laptop to work with a CCD camera shortly after i bought my LX200 in 2006. I had to have a space heater while using it as the winter would literily freeze the LCD screen on the laptop and was hard to see through all the nasty frozen screen stuff. Anyways, i left CT in Jan 2009 and bought a house in Arizona City which is just south of where I-8 ends at I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson. 

 

I had very dark skies, no street lights, and no freezing all year long. Was beautiful for observing.



#23 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 12:04 PM

I would choose Florida's seeing over AZ/NM darkness.... (But I'm a double-star guy, mostly...)

 

I have my eye on the area east of Naples...  I might rent a suburban or semi-rural house there for 3 or 4 months next winter.. 

 

I sure as shootin' can't observe here in S. Ontario from about November to early April....  This old guy can't "do" cold any more....  My limit is about 5C (40F).......

 

Thanks goodness for the Winter STar Party where I will get my taste of winter objects in one week... 

 

Dave 

Dave, time to put wheels and a tow bar on your seein' shed and hit the road. Doubles as accommodation 'swell. Don't need no floor with a hammock or a Murphy bed nether. Giddy up.


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