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Thread: Moon Vs Light pollution - A question

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    Default Moon Vs Light pollution - A question



    I have reasonably easy access to a dark sky site - By way of comparison I live in red- orange. But observe in gray at my dark site.

    My question is - what is the trade off for say first quarter moon compared to artificial light pollution. I am thinking open clusters may be a more interesting target to observe from a dark sky site with Moon interference, than in an orange-red zone.

    Is my thinking flawed, or is it something that would give me a bit of advantage?
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    Default Re: Moon Vs Light pollution - A question

    Moonlight is a lot like light pollution. Open clusters are always a good bet when you have LP from any source and you want to observe anyway. Even globular clusters are not bad. It's the really fuzzy stuff that gets washed out by the Moon.
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    Default Re: Moon Vs Light pollution - A question

    From my experience dealing with the moon at both dark sites and under LP, the impact of the moon is more pronounced at dark sites. That stands to reason, because in typical locations the sky is already bright. The impact at the dark site definitely does depend upon the amount of illumination of the moon's surface and also its position in the sky. If it is nearer to a horizon then observing in the opposite direction can be helpful. I can tell you from experience at my dark site, which is typically SQM-L 21.2 to 21.5, that the first quarter moon can have a lot of impact. But again, choosing your objects wisely can help make the session more successful. Open clusters and asterims are always better choices. Globulars can also be viewed, but you will also lose some of the outer portions. Some high surface brightness planetary nebulae can also weather the moon better. But as Keith said, diffuse nebulae and galaxies really get hammered by the increased sky brightness. Bottom line is it is doable, but not preferable to observing when the moon is out of the way.
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    Default Re: Moon Vs Light pollution - A question

    There is a drastic difference between viewing at my home in town and at my dark site 25 miles NW of town. If the moon is more than a quarter full, I hesitate to make the trip. If the moon is more than half full, I don't even consider it, I might as well stay in my driveway and observe what I can.
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