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Good public places for observing ?

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#1 Dark Photon

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:24 PM

I'm wondering if anyone has a list of good public places where one can setup a telescope in New England? I'm in CT (near New Haven) and getting tired of being chased from a local municipal park by the police. "Open from sunrise to sunset." I was even threatened with a ticket once while out with 2 young kids in a quiet park minding our own business that is watching the stars and planets.

 

I'm sure it's easier to find great places for astronomy in the less densely populated states, but in CT it's a challenge. Willing to drive, but where ?

 

A park with a wide clearing that's not closed at night or a well located baseball field would be all that one would need as long as it's dark around. A list of such places would be helpful to those of us who cannot watch from their backyard. I would welcome all suggestions.

 

Dark Photon


Edited by Dark Photon, 28 October 2020 - 03:40 PM.

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#2 Augustus

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:29 PM

Where in CT are you? You can join WAA and observe up at Ward Pound Ridge in Cross River NY, or join LHAAC and come up to White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield which has nice and dark skies (with a small observatory to boot).


Edited by Augustus, 28 October 2020 - 04:30 PM.

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#3 Dark Photon

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:55 PM

Thanks, I'll check out the White Memorial Center in Litchfield. I'm near New Haven.


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#4 ShaulaB

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:27 PM

It might be good to join a club and observe with others at a dark(er) site. Random strange things can happen, and I am referring to two-legged night creatures causing trouble.

 

Learning from others by just hanging out with them--priceless.


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#5 Augustus

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:30 PM

It might be good to join a club and observe with others at a dark(er) site. Random strange things can happen, and I am referring to two-legged night creatures causing trouble.

 

Learning from others by just hanging out with them--priceless.

LHAAC is a great club to join and I highly recommend them - we manage the observatory at WMCC



#6 Sky_LO

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 11:59 PM

Dark sites at or near your home......

Is a big key to enjoyment of the hobby !   The back yard is fine, but a darker site makes objects show better.  

 

The way I see it... public places is generally not such a good idea.   

Parks and public places, usually have annoying lights.... and annoying two legged creatures that go there...

 

I like to look for places that are not considered destinations in any way.  

I don't know if where you are is rural enough for this to work, but I like to look for 

 "dead end roads"    I have a couple of nice dark ones very close to me.   

 

Each has just one home at the end of a LONG (mile plus) road - (shared access roads, not private roads).  

There are big advantages to finding a quiet dead end road, or other "not a destination" sites.  

    1) Super Quiet - Zero traffic 

    2) Look for "NOT" a park, cemetery, wildlife reserve, hunting area, campground, school grounds, ball field, lovers lane, lookout point,  Something off the beaten path that is NOT a destination

    3) not a "destination" = no "yahoos" and no homeless, no campers, no hunters, no police patrolling 

    4) you can set up at the edge of the road and avoid any trespassing concerns.

        If you are on the road, you are not on anyone's property.     

        Just make sure you are on a county or shared access road.   

    I set up cones on either side of my "area" just for advance visibility in the rare case a car does come by. 

    

    I am fortunate to live in a rural enough area to have a few dark, safe, quiet, "non-destination" places to observe from !!!  

 

-Lauren   


Edited by Sky_LO, 29 October 2020 - 01:30 AM.

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#7 phillip

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 06:20 AM

Yes if reasonable distance any rural area might be the best option. 

 

I'm not in a large city, more rural, and short distances starts to get dark sites, my favored is farm field entry when not being used. Most just wide enough to get off low traffic roadway. Easy to setup there. Work Great! 

 

Clear Sky


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#8 spkerer

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 07:29 AM

I'll echo the sentiments to look for a local astronomy club.  They typically have observing sites you can use where you don't have to worry about safety or police check on you (with their bright flashlights), etc.



#9 MalVeauX

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:09 AM

Heya,

 

Join a local club; they will have access to property(s) for night viewing.

 

Also, many "parks" can be accessed after hours; it's just a matter of having clearance and giving notice that you will be there so that if someone calls the cops or alerts local wildlife, etc, authorities, it's a known thing. I'm not sure it works up there the same, but it's often done this way in Florida. We just check in at the local FWC and say we are doing astronomy after hours and want access to the park on a particular date from time X to Y and it's not a problem, doesn't cost anything, it's just a way to alert the keepers and police and FWC agencies to not swoop in on someone doing something illegal. If anything they may want to take a look too.

 

But that said, that's a lot of rigamarole I realize, so sometimes just going to a rural area is better.

 

And if none of the above works, find a local area you want access to that is private property and get in touch with the owners. They likely will give you permission. You can always tip them or something for appreciation and access to the property.

 

Very best,


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#10 Augustus

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:37 AM

Heya,

 

Join a local club; they will have access to property(s) for night viewing.

 

<...snip...>

OP lives around New Haven.

 

ASNH doesn't have a place.

 

ASGH doesn't have a place AFAIK.

 

WAS technically does but you'd have to get a key if you want reliable access on clear nights, which requires at least a year of membership.

 

Only options are WAA which is a bit of a hike and LHAAC which is a bit less so.



#11 DSOGabe

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:48 AM

Is there a state park close by? I approached the rangers of the state park that borders the city here. I asked if I could set up in the parking area for observing. I made it clear I wasn't planning on jumping over the gate into the park itself, just the parking lot. They had no issues with me being there. Maybe you may be able to do the same.



#12 Dark Photon

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Posted 01 November 2020 - 07:44 AM

Thank you for all the suggestions, I appreciate it.




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