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Thread: Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.

  1. #1
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    Default Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.



    First off, I just want to state that I'm in no way affiliated with this site or trying to promote for any gain. We have so few dark sites left that I felt I should let people know that this place is available for use. I use it as often as possible and figured I'd share the info with others who may be interested.

    The site in question is the Lennox & Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area. The site is located on Hwy 41 north of Napanee, about midway between Erinsville and Kaladar. It's coordinates are N 44° 33’32.92 W 77° 06’59.61. The site was established a few years back by the L&A county in association with Terence Dickinson, who's a regular visitor and user of the site.

    It's quite a beautiful site and is billed as the most southerly dark sky in eastern and southern Ontario. According to the light pollution maps, they're correct. And a beautiful dark sky it is! I've been there several times over the summer since I'm just 75 km away, but people drive as far as Hamilton to drop by and use it. It's really that good.

    There's ample parking available, a porta-potty on site, and a large, perfectly level concrete pad with clear north markings for setup of your scope or other equipment. And best of all, it's FREE.

    Very worthwhile visiting if you're within reasonable driving distance and want pristine skies to either observe or image.


    Dark Sky Viewing Area
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    Default Re: Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.

    Thanks for sharing Crunchmeister. I am always looking for dark skies in Southern Ontario.

    To return the share, I have a nice dark sky location in the Northern Bruce Peninsula that has public star parties in the summer from July 1 till labour day in LionsHead - called Bayside Astronomy (about 30 min north of Wiarton on hwy 6). If you are up vacationing some time drop by!
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    Default Re: Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.

    I spent a night observing at the L&A site a couple of weeks ago and found it to be a great location with very dark skies. I arrived about an hour before sunset to look over the site and set up. People started arriving just before dark and I was able to show them some beautiful views of the moon and Saturn while we were waiting for the skies to darken. I was the only one there with a telescope, so I was extremely popular and had some long line-ups at the eyepiece. Throughout the night I estimate that between thirty and forty people had been there. I was amazed to find that so many people that had driven from the Toronto area for a few hours of dark sky appreciation and they were still arriving at 3am. The last few departed around 5am so I packed up and drove back to Kingston. It was a fantastic night of viewing and I'll definitely be going again.

    I'd like to check out one of your Lion's Head star parties, Hikescdrckys. Do you have a web site or somewhere else to get info? I try to spend a week or two at Sauble Beach during the summer and always take my scope. I usually set up in the empty field half a km south of the Cabot Head lighthouse when I'm there but if there's a star party in the area, I'm in.
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    Default Re: Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.

    I visited my sister this past summer out your way Crunchmeister and her place was the darkest spot I'd ever seen. They just built a new house about 20 miles out from Bellville and there are NO street lights (yet) where she is!!! I saw the Milky Way for the 1st time and with my naked eyes. I brought my little ST80 with me and I was stunned by what I could see with that sucker from her back yard - it didn't matter where I pointed that baby, the EP was always full of stars! Gotta go back and visit her again and with something bigger next time
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    Default Re: Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryEyeBall View Post
    I spent a night observing at the L&A site a couple of weeks ago and found it to be a great location with very dark skies. I arrived about an hour before sunset to look over the site and set up. People started arriving just before dark and I was able to show them some beautiful views of the moon and Saturn while we were waiting for the skies to darken. I was the only one there with a telescope, so I was extremely popular and had some long line-ups at the eyepiece. Throughout the night I estimate that between thirty and forty people had been there. I was amazed to find that so many people that had driven from the Toronto area for a few hours of dark sky appreciation and they were still arriving at 3am. The last few departed around 5am so I packed up and drove back to Kingston. It was a fantastic night of viewing and I'll definitely be going again.

    It is a beautiful site, hence why I thought I'd share it here since I didn't see any info on it. Dark skies are a rarity these days. These things are good to know!

    I'm often the only one out there with a telescope when I go out as well. That too makes me quite popular with all the visitors that come and go through the course of the evening. And the uninitiated are always very impressed to see a computerized scope whirring and buzzing as it finds different targets.
    Most of the time I end up having my camera attached to my scope while out there, so there's not a lot of visual observation. I'll let people look through the eyepiece when I have it on, of course. I never get tired of seeing the look on peoples' faces when they see these things. And most are always blown away when I tell how far these things are and that this is how the object looked X millions of years ago.

    But whenever I show people what I've been taking pictures of, there's always quite a sense of awe. I'll often show them on my camera's screen, but it's hard to really get a good view from there. I keep a bunch of my pics on my phone or computer to show them and they're always impressed. Even though I'm quite a novice, I often become the resident "expert" and spend my time pointing at things with my green laser and basically giving a lecture. I may not be as well versed as some, but I guess I know a lot more than they do, so I'm always more than happy to share the knowledge and get people interested.

    And it's amazing how far people drive from to get to the DSVA. And they're usually quite curious and friendly. I've met people from Toronto, Hamilton, Brampton, and other places who've come out there on a few occasions. Last time I was out a couple of weeks back, there was a large Indian family from Toronto that showed up at about 1 AM. There were 12 of them packed in 2 mini vans. Their ages varied from young kids under 10 all the way to the oldest who were easily in their 70s. They were very curious and constantly asking questions. Despite some language barrier (some things required translation by the younger members of the group), they were just thrilled at the things I was explaining to them. And as my friends and I left about 3 AM, one of the girls came up to my car with a box and offered us some delicious home made samosas.

    I do love going out there. I've been out there 7 times now since the spring, and it's not enough. I just wish I could get out more often. Sadly, the weather doesn't always cooperate with my schedule.
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    Default Re: Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.

    Quote Originally Posted by AbbN View Post
    I visited my sister this past summer out your way Crunchmeister and her place was the darkest spot I'd ever seen. They just built a new house about 20 miles out from Bellville and there are NO street lights (yet) where she is!!! I saw the Milky Way for the 1st time and with my naked eyes. I brought my little ST80 with me and I was stunned by what I could see with that sucker from her back yard - it didn't matter where I pointed that baby, the EP was always full of stars! Gotta go back and visit her again and with something bigger next time
    It's amazing what you can see from a dark site. Even when you know what's up there, it's hard to really grasp it until you look into the eyepiece and actually see it for yourself.

    I have a funny story that's somewhat related.

    During the northeast blackout of 2003, I was out in my driveway with my scope - something I could normally never do - enjoying a rare view of the southern sky that I normally didn't get. A young couple walked by, saw me with my scope, and stopped to chat. They were just in total amazement of what the sky looked like.

    Then the girl asked me what I initially thought was a strange question - "What are all those little lights in the sky? And what's that white band stretching across the sky?".

    "Stars", I replied.

    "That's a star, and that one, and that one..", she said, pointing out to the bright stars that would normally be visible under light pollution. I then realized she had never seen a dark sky before.

    I thought about it a bit and asked "You've always lived in the city, and never been out in the country, right?"

    "Yes, I'm from Toronto. I never really left the city and we just moved here 2 weeks ago."

    So I proceeded to explain the effects of light pollution, how every one of the lights she saw were stars, and explained that the white band was just a dense concentration of distant stars in our own galaxy. I pointed my scope to the core of the Milky Way, popped in a wide angle eyepiece, and let her take a look. I thought the poor girl was going to faint when she took a look.

    Moments like that are just priceless.
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    Default Re: Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hikescdnrckys View Post
    Thanks for sharing Crunchmeister. I am always looking for dark skies in Southern Ontario.

    To return the share, I have a nice dark sky location in the Northern Bruce Peninsula that has public star parties in the summer from July 1 till labour day in LionsHead - called Bayside Astronomy (about 30 min north of Wiarton on hwy 6). If you are up vacationing some time drop by!
    Sure enough HarryEyeBall. You can go to the facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/darksky.astronomy or the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association at this link: Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association. We have a dedicated group of 6 to 9 volunteers who bring their own scopes and we have recently acquired Terry Dickinson's 20" StarMaster dob for the program next year (2015), so it should be exciting. Our site is also much closer to Sauble than Cabot Head and a lot easier to drive to (that road to Cabot Head is a real killer to the car's shocks!). We would love to have you stop by!
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    Default Re: Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hikescdnrckys View Post
    Thanks for sharing Crunchmeister. I am always looking for dark skies in Southern Ontario.

    To return the share, I have a nice dark sky location in the Northern Bruce Peninsula that has public star parties in the summer from July 1 till labour day in LionsHead - called Bayside Astronomy (about 30 min north of Wiarton on hwy 6). If you are up vacationing some time drop by!
    Sure enough HarryEyeBall. You can go to the facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/darksky.astronomy or the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association at this link: Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association. We have a dedicated group of 6 to 9 volunteers who bring their own scopes and we have recently acquired Terry Dickinson's 20" StarMaster dob for the program next year (2015), so it should be exciting. Our site is also much closer to Sauble than Cabot Head and a lot easier to drive to (that road to Cabot Head is a real killer to the car's shocks!). We would love to have you stop by!
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    Default Re: Eastern / Southern Ontario Dark Sky site - L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hikescdnrckys View Post
    Sure enough HarryEyeBall. You can go to the facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/darksky.astronomy or the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association at this link: Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association. We have a dedicated group of 6 to 9 volunteers who bring their own scopes and we have recently acquired Terry Dickinson's 20" StarMaster dob for the program next year (2015), so it should be exciting. Our site is also much closer to Sauble than Cabot Head and a lot easier to drive to (that road to Cabot Head is a real killer to the car's shocks!). We would love to have you stop by!
    Agreed. That final stretch to Cabot Head is brutal but the black skies were always worth the effort. I've bookmarked your site and I'll be sure to visit Lion's Head next summer. Thanks for the info and the invite.

 

 

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