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What is the impression under a Bortle 1 sky?

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#1 birger

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 04:02 PM

I have never seen a Bortle 1 sky in my life. I have seen several Bortle 3 skies, and Bortle 2 skies a few times (sadly, before I was into astronomy).

 

What is the impression under a perfect, pristine sky? What does the Milky Way look like? What does the zodiacal light look like? What do stars look like? How much color do you see in the sky? Can you see your surroundings? I have seen reports about people getting lost in the constellations, and not being able to discern even well-known asterism such as the Big Dipper. Note: we talk great skies here, with little atmospheric extinction, perfect seeing, little humidity etc (of course, no moonlight! And preferably, no Venus up...). I know a a few of you have been fortunate enough to experience such skies. Please share your experiences! smile.gif



#2 Cali

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 04:13 PM

What does the Milky Way look like?

 

It looks like a carpet of stars. There are so many stars that it is hard to make out familiar constellations.

 

(I kid you not.)

 

- Cal


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#3 sg6

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 04:15 PM

You can see the dipper, it sits outside the band of the Milky Way. It is one of the few that remains "easy".

Cassiopeia, Perseus, Cygnus all get mixed in and are difficult. If I recall half of Lyra is lost but Vega just sits out of the main band.

 

Cannot see the ground and stumble around cursing.

 

Useful to learn how to use the Dipper to get to Auriga, Bootes, Leo and Ursa Minor before getting to one.

 

Biggest problem is cricking your neck, and keeping mouth closed. grin.gif  grin.gif  grin.gif

As it is dark people don't see you drooling. crazy.gif

Hopefully breathing kicks in automatically after 30-60 seconds. shocked.gif

Just when you start breathing slowly bring the head and neck back to their usual operating position. smirk.gif

Neck is the biggest problem. lol.gif  lol.gif


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#4 InkDark

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 04:17 PM

What does the Milky Way look like?

 

It looks like a carpet of stars. There are so many stars that it is hard to make out familiar constellations.

 

(I kid you not.)

 

- Cal

So true....and M31 just sits there! 

 

 

...and you can see your shadow on the ground.


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#5 Gary Z

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 04:23 PM

I highly recommend that you have a chair to sit down in before you look up.....the view is breathtaking for the first time.

 

Gary


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#6 Bob4BVM

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 04:36 PM

There are a few places where I go in certain mountain areas of far eastern Oregon to get to  Bortle 1.

 

One is a site at over 9500 feet on a mountain surrounded by desert with the nearest town streetlights over 100 miles away.

 

I will never forget the first time we were camped there. The stars were so bright & clear that the experience was like you were standing IN the dome of the heavens, not below it, the 3-D feeling was unmistakable.  Yes the stars colors were very distinct, adding to the 3-D effect.

 

I did however find it initially disturbing that there was a huge band of smoky haze that ran from horizon to horizon roughly following the plane of the Milky Way. I was at first offended that smoke would be messing up the great view of our galaxy.

 

It took a while for it to sink in, but I finally realized... what looked like 'smoke' was the huge outer halo of the galaxy, extending far above and below the bright band of the galaxy, easily tripling  its overall width.  I did not have a telescope along on that first camping trip to that mountain.  None was necessary, it would have diluted the immersive experience of just laying on my back and taking in that enormous river of stars which to its outer limits covered fully half of the visible sky from horizon to horizon.

 

CS

Bob


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#7 Migwan

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 05:01 PM

If you have transparency to go with such dark skies, the stars are amazing.  Jupiter shows a bit of color and should the moon come up, it'll hurt.  So whatever you do, don't stare at it.  

 

jd


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#8 vsteblina

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 05:02 PM

There is Bortle 1....and there is Bortle 1 under great observing conditions.

 

It was August, 1996 and we were camped on the Beaverhead National Forest in Montana.  It was around the time of Perseids shower.

 

I got out my LaFuma recliner, crawled into a sleeping bag and set the alarm for after midnight. 

 

When I awoke, perfectly dark adapted, I might add.  I looked towards the northeast and noticed a dim disk that was rather large.

 

Didn't need a flashlight. It was that bright I could walk over to the star atlas I left on the picnic table.  

 

It was M33.

 

Never, ever came close to seeing M33 as a disk after that observation. I even did a internet search, astronomical history books, and cultural history for comments about a "dark moon".  Nada.

 

I think the important part was being asleep for several hours and waking up with any artificial light.

 

I have a observing site in a somewhat dark site that is off-grid.  One evening, we were observing while the kids were playing in the house a couple hundred feet away.  They put a candle in the window so they could play.

 

I had to ask the kids to move the candle out of the window and block its light.  It was too bright and definitely affected our viewing.

 

If your at a Bortle 1 site.....sleep outside and view the sky before turning on the RED light.


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#9 Tannhäuser Gate

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 05:02 PM

Cannot see the ground and stumble around cursing.


In my experience under bortle 1 skies in northern New Mexico and out at the Okie-Tex star party, once I'm dark adapted I can get around fairly well because the milky way is so bright. It's so bright it casts a shadow if you look for it. It's not a hard shadow like from a pinpoint light source but it's discernable.
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#10 Rocklobster

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 12:12 AM

So true....and M31 just sits there!


...and you can see your shadow on the ground.

My mind boggles at the thought of the MW being bright enough to cast shadows. Amazing.

I lived in Saudi Arabia till the age of 13 and and spent many nights camping in the desert. I so wish I had paid attention to what the night sky looked like there, but it was sadly before I was heavily into astronomy.

Cheers

Sent from my N10 using Tapatalk

#11 esd726

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 05:10 AM

SOME day fingerscrossed.gif



#12 Allan Wade

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 05:53 AM

What is impressive is how many objects are visible naked eye. I should do a Messier tour sometime and see how many I can bag. I know that’s something many people have done.

 

I went around the globular clusters to see how many naked eye ones I could see, and managed 16 over an observing year.

 

The biggest impression a Bortle 1 sky makes on me is that let down feeling the next time I observe from my bright suburban home.


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#13 LDW47

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 06:33 AM

I have never seen a Bortle 1 sky in my life. I have seen several Bortle 3 skies, and Bortle 2 skies a few times (sadly, before I was into astronomy).

 

What is the impression under a perfect, pristine sky? What does the Milky Way look like? What does the zodiacal light look like? What do stars look like? How much color do you see in the sky? Can you see your surroundings? I have seen reports about people getting lost in the constellations, and not being able to discern even well-known asterism such as the Big Dipper. Note: we talk great skies here, with little atmospheric extinction, perfect seeing, little humidity etc (of course, no moonlight! And preferably, no Venus up...). I know a a few of you have been fortunate enough to experience such skies. Please share your experiences! smile.gif

At my remote camp on the Ottawa River up here in northern Canada under Bortle 1, SQM-L 22.05 skies, on the great nites, it is everything you mention except for the color ! When you look at the tops of the 200+ year old pine they shine from the glow of the Milky Way as if there was a / the moon shining ! And to think I and my wife have had 50 years of that, we are truly blessed !  Clear Skies !


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#14 Ladyhawke

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 06:35 AM



I have never seen a Bortle 1 sky in my life. I have seen several Bortle 3 skies, and Bortle 2 skies a few times (sadly, before I was into astronomy).

 

What is the impression under a perfect, pristine sky? What does the Milky Way look like? What does the zodiacal light look like? What do stars look like? How much color do you see in the sky? Can you see your surroundings? I have seen reports about people getting lost in the constellations, and not being able to discern even well-known asterism such as the Big Dipper. Note: we talk great skies here, with little atmospheric extinction, perfect seeing, little humidity etc (of course, no moonlight! And preferably, no Venus up...). I know a a few of you have been fortunate enough to experience such skies. Please share your experiences! smile.gif

It looks like this. The most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. Cerro Tololo observatory - Chile

 

get.jpg?insecure


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#15 LDW47

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 06:37 AM

744C9EAA-282D-46D6-BE54-94B84BA97643.jpeg 2E65BFDD-EC4A-4E2B-BC1C-CA3DDBBDCD13.jpeg The most impressive is the Big Dipper hanging over the high pine covered hills to the north with M81-82 waiting to be seen !  The first is at early twilight !  PS:  When I post these pics in a reduced size I lose the mass of stars under my Bortle 1 skies, its a shame !


Edited by LDW47, 01 February 2020 - 11:15 AM.


#16 Traveler

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 08:23 AM

At an altitude of 5000m, -15 degrees Celsius and Bortle 1 skies in Nepal, M33 for instance is a big and bright object. When i first saw this, i can not believe it...After this ( i was several times at that area with my wife but without any telescopes) one gets very spoilled...if one can stand the hike, the food, the cold, the bad smells, no shower, the lack of oxygene etc. etc.  to get to those places.



#17 MikeBOKC

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 08:26 AM

Looks like this: Okie Tex star party.

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#18 MEE

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 10:43 AM

Some posts from Cloudynights members describing experiences under Bortle Class 1 skies:


From CN member Wyatt Davis, Texas, May 2019

“You could see the structure across the entire expanse of the Milky Way, and it was lit light blue from within and seemed almost translucent.”

The original post:

https://www.cloudyni...sp-at-22-mpsas/

Christopher Beere, Namibia, July 2011

Part of this original thread:

https://www.cloudyni...ons-of-the-ifn/

“The main factor that distinguishes these perfect class 1 skies from excellent class 2 skies is the natural sky phenomena. They are very prominent features of the sky. In fact the zodiacal light dominates the sky in the hours before sunrise and the band is visible all the way into the star clouds of Sagittarius setting on the western horizon. I couldnt believe it when i saw it on the first night - it arcs across the entire sky.

Airglow is very bright throughout the night and really prominent on the eastern and southern horizon. Again you cant quite believe your eyes at first its so bright.

You often hear people talk about The Galaxy stretching from horizon to horizon. But ive never seen it anything like this before. The lack of extinction because of the incredible transparency means you can actually see the starclouds glowing on the horizon.”


Extra notes:

The zodiacal light and band extend across the entire sky, from one horizon to the other

There is a color difference between the zodiacal light (yellowish) and the band of the Milky Way (blue)

Airglow is visible all the way around the horizon
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#19 dusty99

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 10:58 AM

I’ve temporarily lost constellations and planets in the Milky Way under a moonless sky in S. Utah, and seen nebula with a bit of color.



#20 LDW47

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 01:03 PM

Air glow on the tops of the tall White Pine at my remote camp under a new moon ! You are looking straight up into the Milky Way in the NE. These were taken with my simple Kodak point&shoot cam with a CCD sensor, only a shot (15 seconds) can pick up the glow quite like that !

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Edited by LDW47, 02 February 2020 - 11:14 AM.

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#21 Araguaia

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 02:40 PM

In Bortle 1, the zodiacal band is bright enough to annoy you and degrade the view of objects in its path.


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#22 vsteblina

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 07:38 PM

At an altitude of 5000m, -15 degrees Celsius and Bortle 1 skies in Nepal, M33 for instance is a big and bright object. When i first saw this, i can not believe it.......

Did it have a distinct "disc" appearance??? 

 

Everybody doubts my observation, but it was fairly easy...no averted vision necessary.  

 

I would really enjoy hearing more about your observations of M33.


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#23 Traveler

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Posted 02 February 2020 - 02:32 AM

Let me tell you about the first time i saw M33 in Nepel (the  Kachenjunga-area).

 

First when i saw it i thought: whats that? Of course i have seen M31 many times with naked eyes. It stand (of course) more north of the object...so i concluded quickly that the little cloud i saw was M33... 

Yes, it was a small disc.A disc that was brighter in the centre then at the edge less brith. And No, averted vision was not needed (at all). The small disc got even brighter when doing so. Funny enough i saw M33 better with naked eyes then with my little 8x21 binocular. That small binocular is the only instrument i bring with me when doing those hikes (4 weeks). My wife which have very sharp eyes but no special  interested in astronomy saw M33 as well without telling her.

 

As said, i managed this observations every time i was there in Nepal and Sikkim. I guess besides the Bortle 1 skies that is necessery to do so, also the altitude helps a lot. At 2400m for instance from La Palma (also Bortle 1 skies), i need averted vision to see a glimpse of M33.

 

Believe your own eyes Vsteblina and have fun! Where did you made your observation?



#24 Araguaia

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Posted 02 February 2020 - 05:07 AM

Did it have a distinct "disc" appearance??? 

 

Everybody doubts my observation, but it was fairly easy...no averted vision necessary.  

 

I would really enjoy hearing more about your observations of M33.

On good nights in the dry season I can see M33 as a very faint "disc" with direct vision.  It is marginal, although quite distinct in averted vision.  I am at 200 m above sea level.  I can well believe that it looks much brighter and sharper at high altitude dark sites.



#25 chrysalis

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Posted 02 February 2020 - 08:10 AM

Loving this thread!! I. My once experienced Bortle 1, from outside Angel Fire NM. It was magical. I’d be standing there still if it hadn’t been for the unearthly sound that scared me off that I later learned was an elk!




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