Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19
Like Tree12Likes

Thread: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

  1. #1
    Glenilacqua's Avatar
    Glenilacqua is offline Main Sequence
    Points: 1,971, Level: 27
    Level completed: 72%, Points required for next Level: 29
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement5 Threads Achievement!20 Posts Achievement!First 1000 Experience Points365 Days+ Registered Achievement!
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    60
    Points
    1,971
    Level
    27
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place



    Every year I have intentions of doing a lot of viewing, yet I never get out as much as I'd like. I think that having a good, convenient place to view is my biggest problem. My back yard has lots of trees and is light polluted from street lights. The "local" astronomy club uses a field which is about a 1 hour round trip drive from the house - and it only has eastern exposure - and there's lots of sky glow from a mall not far away.

    I recently moved to a new town in the southern suburbs of Massachusetts (Halifax). It's relatively rural and there must be some good spots to set up a scope for some viewing. There are lots of farms and cranberry bogs, etc. But how does one go about actually finding a place to go? It sounds like a stupid question. But it's not so easy. Most of the places I see, I see while driving - on a road - with lots of cars with headlights at night...

    Does anyone have ways that you use to find places when you go to a new place, on vacation, etc.? Between clouds, frigid cold, snow on the ground, phases of the moon, and finding free time, it's hard to build viewing into one's lifestyle. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Glen
    terrytheunhigned likes this.
    Celestron Nexstar 8SE controlled by SkyPortal and iPad
    Sears 6344-4 76mm f/16 Achromatic Refractor
    Orion 120mm f/5 Achromatic Refractor
    Orion 102mm f/6.5 Achromatic Refractor
    Alvan Clark 18" f/22 Achromatic Refractor (just making sure you're awake!)
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

  2. #2
    A130STB's Avatar
    A130STB is offline SUPER GIANT
    Points: 3,729, Level: 40
    Level completed: 53%, Points required for next Level: 71
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement20 Posts Achievement!5 Threads Achievement!50 Posts Achievement!200+ Posts Achievement!
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Royston, Herts
    Posts
    708
    Points
    3,729
    Level
    40
    Thanks
    280
    Thanked 194x 181 Posts

    Default Re: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

    Hi this question has been asked many times I think

    This google search should help https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=As...Lurv8AeNq4GgAQ

    I would locate somewhere near to you which is clear a small farm with paddocks or some such, once located approach the land owner and if agreeable then agree any rules with them and off you go. At least this is how I would approach it in this country and done this on occasions for rights to shoot on land or have access for dirt bikes.

    Hope it helps no doubt someone with greater knowledge of such things will be along shortly to help
    OTA:
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    Skymax 127 Mak (ALT/AZ), Celestron Omni 6,9,15mm and 1 horrible Skywatcher 25mm
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

    Nikon Dx40x
    " Yes, it's puzzling. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before."

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

  3. #3
    KT4HX's Avatar
    KT4HX is online now HYPER GIANT
    Points: 101,927, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    365 Days+ Registered Achievement!First 1000 Experience Points750 Days+ Registered Achievement!1000 Days+ Registered Achievement!200+ Posts Achievement!
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    11,785
    Points
    101,927
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    1,443
    Thanked 8,097x 4,360 Posts
    Blog Entries
    200

    Default Re: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

    Well Glen, I guess the first thing to do is to check the light pollution maps. Doing so will at least give you a broad sense of where darker skies might be found. A couple you can check are:

    Light pollution map

    https://djlorenz.github.io/astronomy...rlay/dark.html

    And here is the color scaling that goes with the second link:

    https://djlorenz.github.io/astronomy/lp2006/colors.html

    In the first one, in the legend on the left side click on overlay legend which will give you a drop-down scale. It moves from less light at the top (black) to more light (red) at the bottom of the scale. For the second one, the scaling goes from darkest (black) at the left, through dark gray and bright gray, dark blue and bright blue, dark green and bright green, dark yellow and bright yellow, dark orange and bright orange, dark red and bright red, and finally dark white (looks gray) and bright white at the brightest end of the scale indicating the worst light pollution levels. These maps are devised using satellite imagery and algorithms to calculate the spreading of light. They can be a good tool to get a ballpark idea, but there can be local variables that can make some sites that might seem promising not so good.

    The best thing to do is kind of get familiar with your local area, such as a park that might afford less light intrusion and above all else, personal safety. You might also drive outside the city limits during these excusions to see what kind of properties are outside of town. Perhaps a farmer would not mind you setting up in one of his fields, with permission of course. Also, do any of your club members have sites they use personally other than the club field? Biggest thing is to just take road trips to see what kind of promising properties there are, and approach owners. You might find someone who is willing to let you set up. If something looks promising, survey around the area to look for potential lighting that might create problems, or bodies of water that might result in fog. Then do a drive by at night as well to confirm that it is usable. Of coruse as mentioned, always work with the land owner to make certain they are on board with your use and any stipulations they may place upon you for using. Good luck.
    Lowjiber and terrytheunhigned like this.
    Alan || My DSO Blog:
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Astro Sky 17.5 f/4.5 Dob ||
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    f/5 Dob || Zhumell Z10 f/4.9 Dob
    ES AR127 f/6.5 and ES ED80 f/6 on Twilight-II Mount
    ES 82° 24mm, 18mm; Pentax XW 10mm, 7mm, 5mm
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Astronomers: We look into the past to see our future.

  4. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to KT4HX For This Useful Post:

    Glenilacqua (08-12-2016),Jnielsen (08-19-2016),terrytheunhigned (10-07-2016)

  5. #4
    MG1692's Avatar
    MG1692 is offline HYPER GIANT
    Points: 12,974, Level: 78
    Level completed: 64%, Points required for next Level: 126
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement20 Posts Achievement!50 Posts Achievement!200+ Posts Achievement!400+ Posts Achievement
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    2,812
    Points
    12,974
    Level
    78
    Thanks
    26
    Thanked 1,280x 844 Posts

    Default Re: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

    I cant speak for your neck of the woods but in Kansas I have found the farmers very accommodating. As others have said check with the land owner and establish rules. Here for instance driving on a ploughed field will get you shot. I am usually allowed access to tracks or boundary roads around the field. Again another area that can be useful are city owned quarries and depots.

    I have two reasonable observing sites both quarries that I have permission to use - As long as I don't do anything silly. These day I will be set up. Police will pull in, flick their lights give me a wave and leave.

    Something to consider. I noticed you seem to have a number of wildlife management areas near you. Might be worth approaching whoever is in charge to see if they will allow you access to some of the tracks. Astronomers seem to have a pretty good reputation among conservation groups and I know of a lot of people who have gained access to these sensitive areas
    eeowyn likes this.
    Nexstar SE8 mount with Farstar C8 OTA (Caroline) Meade Series 5000 HD-60 25mm Paradigm Dual ED 25mm 18mm 15mm, Baader 21mm 17mm plus tunning rings, X-Cel LX 2X
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    , various other bits and bob.

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to MG1692 For This Useful Post:

    eeowyn (01-19-2017),Glenilacqua (08-12-2016)

  7. #5
    rickg18704's Avatar
    rickg18704 is offline Bronze Supporter
    Points: 12,613, Level: 77
    Level completed: 61%, Points required for next Level: 137
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement5 Threads Achievement!20 Posts Achievement!50 Posts Achievement!Got three Friends
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Kingston PA
    Posts
    1,417
    Points
    12,613
    Level
    77
    Thanks
    292
    Thanked 407x 297 Posts

    Default Re: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

    There's a lot of good advice here. In the past I've received permission from state park rangers to remain in the park after dark. As for recreational parks, I've found that police officers are very accommodating as well when there after dark. Best to drive around and scout out some areas. Keep it close too. My club's sight is 45 minutes away and while its worth the drive, I travel to the closer sites within 3-10 minutes frequently. All depends on what I'd like to observe and how dark I really the skies.

    Don't rule out observing from home. Just make the best of it. Most nights I'm setup in front of the apartment on the sidewalk. Direct street light can be mitigated with large pieces of cardboard spray painted black and used to block the light. I clamp mine to a parking sign. Still get the glare that washes out the sky above them but at least there's no light right in my eyes. A dark towel helps a lot as well. Mind you, in the summer it can get hot under there.

    I've even asked my neighbor's permission to park the scope in front of their house across the street to get a better view North and East. Didn't want them looking out their window one night at 2am and getting scared: "Honey, wake up. There's a man with a black cloak on his head point a huge mortar at the house!!!"

    Point is, make the best of what you've got. If we all waited for clear dark moonless perfect skies we would get out maybe five times a year. Remember, there are many objects you will observe a lot more than once. Gives you something to look forward to when you get to darker skies.
    eeowyn and Voyageur like this.
    - Rick
    Astronomical League Member-At-Large
    Scopes: Zhumell Z10, Explore Scientific AR152, Celestron 8SE, Meade Infinity 80
    Eyepieces: ES 82° - 30mm, 24mm, 18mm, 14mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm, 4.7mm, ES 2" 2X Focal Extender
    Filters: DGM NPB, Lumicon OIII Binoculars: Apogee 25x100, Oberwerk 9x60, Gordon 10x50

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

  8. #6
    Glenilacqua's Avatar
    Glenilacqua is offline Main Sequence
    Points: 1,971, Level: 27
    Level completed: 72%, Points required for next Level: 29
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement5 Threads Achievement!20 Posts Achievement!First 1000 Experience Points365 Days+ Registered Achievement!
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    60
    Points
    1,971
    Level
    27
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default Re: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

    Thanks everyone! These are fantastic suggestions. Getting to know some people in the area, especially the people with small farms and bogs should help. And I never thought about the state parks since they close in the evening - but getting permission to go out after dark is probably not hard. Rick, I get it about the mistake of waiting for perfect conditions... I may get some flat stones in the back yard and level them so I can have a nice firm platform to place the tripod on.

    Alan - thanks for the link to the light pollution maps. Although it's a little grim if you live in the Northeast as I do! I have a brother in rural New Hampshire. I should see about getting up there a bit too. But the real goal is to make it convenient enough so that it becomes part of my lifestyle rather than an "event." All of this great advice should help me get there...

    Thanks again - and clear skies to all!

    Glen
    Celestron Nexstar 8SE controlled by SkyPortal and iPad
    Sears 6344-4 76mm f/16 Achromatic Refractor
    Orion 120mm f/5 Achromatic Refractor
    Orion 102mm f/6.5 Achromatic Refractor
    Alvan Clark 18" f/22 Achromatic Refractor (just making sure you're awake!)
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

  9. #7
    PhotoBiker's Avatar
    PhotoBiker is offline SUPER GIANT
    Points: 11,505, Level: 74
    Level completed: 19%, Points required for next Level: 245
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    First 1000 Experience Points365 Days+ Registered Achievement!750 Days+ Registered Achievement!1000 Days+ Registered Achievement!3 Years + Achievement
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Maine (USA)
    Posts
    616
    Points
    11,505
    Level
    74
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 113x 94 Posts

    Default Re: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

    Hey Glen,

    Another Glen here from New England up here in Maine. When I was growing up, my friends and I would hang out in the local cemeteries for stargazing, we had a few scopes that we'd bring with us. We were often the furthest from the road and the gravestones actually helped block any lights from cars coming by. Looking back on this, if you think about three or four teenaged boys hanging out in a cemetery at night, had the cops ever shown up, they might never believe us (even though we had telescopes and red lights).

    I actually find myself in a similar boat as you right now, even though we've been in our house for close to 20 years now. Traffic has picked up in the front, important trees that blocked out neighbor's porch and garage lights are missing, and other trees have grown up so high as to basically render large portions of the sky unviewable.

    My wife and kids are out all away this coming weekend so I've been frantically searching for a place to go do some star gazing that would allow me to not have to keep averting my eyes every minute due to traffic and was also devoid of streetlights. Cemeteries have come to the top of my list again, provided they are not gated up at night.

    Another option would be sections of deserted beaches, but this is the Seacoast in summer, I'm not even going to try. There is a local mountain (hill) with an auto road that would be perfect if they didn't close the gate at the base at sunset (I am actually considering a way to bike my gear out).

    For me, the option has to be close by and convenient, otherwise I won't do it. The weather up here this coming weekend looks very conducive to stargazing too.

    -Glen
    eeowyn likes this.
    Glen | N1XF
    Scopes: Zhumell Z10, Explore Scientific AR102, Explore Scientific 16" Truss Tube Dob Gen2
    Eyepieces: 40mm, 30mm, ES (82°) 24mm (on the way), 14mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm, 4.7mm, Zhumell 8-24 Zoom
    Binoculars: Oberwerk 11x70, Canon 10x30IS, Nikon 16x60

  10. #8
    Glenilacqua's Avatar
    Glenilacqua is offline Main Sequence
    Points: 1,971, Level: 27
    Level completed: 72%, Points required for next Level: 29
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement5 Threads Achievement!20 Posts Achievement!First 1000 Experience Points365 Days+ Registered Achievement!
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    60
    Points
    1,971
    Level
    27
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default Re: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

    Hey Glen! I never thought about cemeteries. Ha! What a great idea. I'm completely with you in that it has to be convenient. And the colder it gets, the more convenient it needs to be! I just turned 51 and I don't know - I just don't have the drive to be standing out in 25 degrees for hours any more. But If I could just go down the street and know it would be a good spot, it might happen more often.

    The weather does seem promising for this weekend. My new scope is due tomorrow. So with any luck, I'll get some viewing in Saturday night.

    Good luck!

    Glen
    Celestron Nexstar 8SE controlled by SkyPortal and iPad
    Sears 6344-4 76mm f/16 Achromatic Refractor
    Orion 120mm f/5 Achromatic Refractor
    Orion 102mm f/6.5 Achromatic Refractor
    Alvan Clark 18" f/22 Achromatic Refractor (just making sure you're awake!)
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.

  11. #9
    Just A Simple Guy's Avatar
    Just A Simple Guy is offline Bright Giants
    Points: 3,294, Level: 37
    Level completed: 63%, Points required for next Level: 56
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    2 Posts Achievement20 Posts Achievement!50 Posts Achievement!5 Threads Achievement!200+ Posts Achievement!
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    532
    Points
    3,294
    Level
    37
    Thanks
    88
    Thanked 128x 94 Posts

    Default Re: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenilacqua View Post
    Hey Glen! I never thought about cemeteries. Ha! What a great idea.
    I use a cemetery near my summer camp and it's a very good site!
    PhotoBiker likes this.
    ~Joe~

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    :
    Zhumell Z10
    Eyepieces: Tele Vue Plossl 40, 25, 11 | Zhumell 30, 9 | ES 68 Series 16 | ES 82 Series 18, 11 & 8.8 | Meade UWA 5.5
    Barlows: Televue 2x
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 5 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
    1.25 inch
    Finders: 8x50 RACI, Telrad

  12. #10
    PhotoBiker's Avatar
    PhotoBiker is offline SUPER GIANT
    Points: 11,505, Level: 74
    Level completed: 19%, Points required for next Level: 245
    Overall activity: 0%
    Achievements:
    First 1000 Experience Points365 Days+ Registered Achievement!750 Days+ Registered Achievement!1000 Days+ Registered Achievement!3 Years + Achievement
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Maine (USA)
    Posts
    616
    Points
    11,505
    Level
    74
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 113x 94 Posts

    Default Re: Finding a Good Viewing Site in a New Place

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenilacqua View Post
    My new scope is due tomorrow. So with any luck, I'll get some viewing in Saturday night.
    New scope? You can't just let that sit out there without details.

    I've settled on my hunting grounds for tomorrow, it's our town forest that has a pretty good sized field. It should be plenty dark, only problem is there are a few 'yotes out there that I have to be wary of (my game cam has picked them up a number of times over the years).

    My next option which is a little further north is a turf farm that is also used by a model rocket club, and not your little Estes rockets, they have a few events where MIT students come up and launch some pretty cool rockets. That would be perfect for viewing, I just have to work out permission which is no longer clear to me who or where to contact.
    Glen | N1XF
    Scopes: Zhumell Z10, Explore Scientific AR102, Explore Scientific 16" Truss Tube Dob Gen2
    Eyepieces: 40mm, 30mm, ES (82°) 24mm (on the way), 14mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm, 4.7mm, Zhumell 8-24 Zoom
    Binoculars: Oberwerk 11x70, Canon 10x30IS, Nikon 16x60

 

 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Finding a dark site, how do you do it?
    By LightTraveler in forum Astronomy Beginners Forum
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 08-20-2014, 10:53 PM
  2. help finding site
    By tylerm in forum Astronomy Beginners Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-18-2014, 04:37 AM
  3. Finding a good viewing place
    By zeppelin in forum Astronomy Beginners Forum
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-18-2013, 07:03 PM
  4. Finding a good dark sky site
    By SpaceTrees in forum Astronomy Beginners Forum
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 03-01-2012, 04:32 AM
  5. Finding a dark site
    By epeddy1 in forum Astronomy Beginners Forum
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 01-27-2012, 10:07 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0
Powered by vBulletin®
All times are GMT. The time now is 02:43 AM.