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Kansas - Northwestern

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#1 John O'Hara

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 06:00 PM

I'm within a few years of retirement.  We have some family in Hill City, KS, in the northcentral to northwestern part of the state.  Naturally, I'm interested in dark sky observing locations in the area.  Where I currently live, Northwestern, PA, I have access to Cherry Springs Dark Sky Park.  Are there any public lands suitable for dark sky observing?  Most of the available housing is in small towns, surrounded by miles and miles of farmland.  I suppose I could try to obtain permission from a local farmer, but if there is a suitable state park, that is preferred.  If there are, is overnight camping possible?

 

Also, if this is not the right forum, the moderators are free to move it to a suitable one.

 

Thanks,

John 



#2 Migwan

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 06:32 PM

Most of the reservoirs in Kansas have state parks.    Google satellite Kansas and zoom in on  whatever reservoirs might be near where you'll be.   Webster State park shows 21.97 on light pollution map, but you may have to block out the lights on all the rest rooms.  

 

What Kansas lacks in public lands, they make up in state park restrooms.   smile.gif 

 

It is dark out there. 

 

jd 


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#3 John O'Hara

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 01:40 PM

Thanks, JD.  I'm wondering how the atmospheric seeing is.  I'm sure it depends on the time of year to some degree.  It's nothing to write home about in Pennsylvania, but we're under the jet stream so often up here.  One thing I think I would miss if we relocated there is forest, which does calm seeing to some extent.  



#4 Migwan

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Posted 02 February 2020 - 11:39 AM

Kansas is a part of an extended down slope so seeing may suffer a bit, but transparency will be good.  


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#5 John O'Hara

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Posted 03 February 2020 - 05:39 AM

Thanks again, JD.  When I get out there to visit family, hopefully during a dark moon period, I'll check out Webster SP, which is on the Clear Sky Clock as "Twin Ponds".  This is very close to the area of my family in Hill City.


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#6 Redbetter

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Posted 03 February 2020 - 03:57 PM

I haven't lived in western (Sharon Springs) or central Kansas (Great Bend & Seward) since I was a young boy, but it is pretty dark out there at night.  The main thing I remember about Kansas is the winds, and I had a strong reminder of just how persistent they are at a family reunion in Wichita last year.  I have only lived/worked one place windier than Western Kansas in my life and that was out in the Aleutians on a place informally referred to as "the Birthplace of the Winds" by the naval personnel stationed there. 

 

So my advice is to consider whether a site will offer any windbreaks against the prevailing winds for observing.  These can be planted windbreaks or structures.  Flimsy portable stuff won't hold up to typical Kansas winds.


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#7 John O'Hara

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 05:37 AM

I haven't lived in western (Sharon Springs) or central Kansas (Great Bend & Seward) since I was a young boy, but it is pretty dark out there at night.  The main thing I remember about Kansas is the winds, and I had a strong reminder of just how persistent they are at a family reunion in Wichita last year.  I have only lived/worked one place windier than Western Kansas in my life and that was out in the Aleutians on a place informally referred to as "the Birthplace of the Winds" by the naval personnel stationed there. 

 

So my advice is to consider whether a site will offer any windbreaks against the prevailing winds for observing.  These can be planted windbreaks or structures.  Flimsy portable stuff won't hold up to typical Kansas winds.

I see your point.  I checked the weather forecast for Bogue.  The wind seems to average around 10 mph every night, sometimes more.  It sure would make observing with a shrouded Dob interesting...



#8 City Kid

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 02:31 PM

Well this won't be helpful for your everyday viewing but the site for the Nebraska Star Party is only four hours from Hill City.


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#9 John O'Hara

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Posted 04 February 2020 - 07:35 PM

Well this won't be helpful for your everyday viewing but the site for the Nebraska Star Party is only four hours from Hill City.

One of the things that is positive is the closer proximity to western star parties like Nebraska, Texas and Okie-Tex, all of which are two days drive or more from my current home in northwest Pennsylvania.




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