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Designated holiday parks,areas darker sky sites for amateur Astronomers!?

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#1 Supernova74

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 08:13 AM

Hi all I’m thinking this topic of discussion is a little bit different from the usual threads amongst the forums!?so here it goes.most of us haven’t got the privilege of having access to class 2,3 bortale scale dark sky locations on our back door step and if you do consider yourself exceptionally lucky as most visual and AP,amateurs just have to make do which is readily available to us however you can get away with more mediocre sky conditions if your imaging is your thing rather than visual Astronomy.however on the plus side i was pleasantly suprised you don,t have to travel miles and miles on end to find let’s say a class 4 location which is in most part a very happy medium in showing more structure and contrast in deep sky objects especially galaxies with a medium aperture scope of any optical design and those objects really start to pop out more in the feild of view of the eyepiece.

 

anyway I’m situated in a place called Stoneleigh which is just outside Epsom downs race course so in laymen’s terms it’s more an less 10-15 miles outside central London with worse seeing conditions imaginable.so most recently I’ve decided to start thinking of finding an alternative observing site and as unfortunately i do not drive it’s not go to be easy for myself personally in travelling with a heavy kind of set up,so I’ve opened up Astro-backyard sky bortale map tracker and have managed find approximately 4 miles away a class 5 sky’s which is a very slight improvement over my current site which is a class 6 however around 20 miles away i can have access to class 4 which I believe is a major improvement in seeing conditions!?so if the darker sky’s don,t come to me I have to go to it so to speak!?.so I’m now in the process in negotiations and contacting various authorities where i would like to observe in a more kind of permanent set up which I can travel to within reason by public transport and hopefully I can erect a small shed or similar building to store my kit in and literally sleep in there in sleeping bag and small camping stove or something and in return I can offer volunteer work to the local council or the national trust in exchange.

 

which brings me to the major point of me starting this thread in the first place as far as I’m aware of because amateur Astronomy has boomed recently by 50% here in the uk and I’m sure you guys across the pond have seen a similer trend occurring!?.so apart from the occasional star party which some of us do attend annually you may be lucky enough to receive some darker seeing conditions at the same time,apart from those very few occasions that’s it basically unless you can travel to better conditions which is really frustrating at times and to be perfectly honest why isn’t there any designated holiday parks for the amateur Astronomer or similer kind of arrangement that an amateur could at least hire a very small plot of land or storage space to store all his or hers kit in securely and from time to time travel to the darker sky location and observe perhaps for short breaks at least with a small majority of us could have ok less observing time however more quality 

When we do with very simple back to basics sleeping either in a tent or small cabin.and lastly I did come across a website with an owner who does offer breaks away in more luxury log cabins with all the creature comforts and mod cons etc and thay do mention good for amateur Astronomy on there website however for the best part part of $1000 for a 4 night stay and you still cannot guarantee the weather behaving so wouldn’t it be nice to see more affordable back to basics cabins for the amateur astronomers who rather do without all the mod cons just to have access to darker sky sites without paying the Earth so yes designated observing holiday homes or parks for amateur Astronomy!?

 



#2 Rickycardo

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 08:53 AM

I think there are 2 factors at play here. 1 is size. the US is approximately 4000% larger in land mass than the UK and finding a darker sky is not always that difficult over here. I can drive 4 hours out of Chicago area to bortle 3 skies pretty easily. I've had the fortune to vacation in bortle 1 skies as well. So over here it doesn't seem as impossible as in other parts of the world. There are also dark sky sites starting to take shape here too. Places like Yellowstone NP, Grand Canyon, even locations in Minnesota and Michigan have designated Dark Sky sites.

Second is interest. Though amateur astronomy is booming it still represents a very tiny niche group. Most people seldom look up and don't want the nights to be dark so there is not a significant drive to keep the night skies dark for us few.

I have surmised that it would take an asteroid strike (or near miss) that came out of the blue for there to be enough concern for populations and governments to drive policies against light pollution.




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