darkest skies in the lower 48 states

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 03, 2011 6:35 AM GMT
    what are some of the naturally darkest night skies that you've experienced over the lower 48 states?

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    i made these gifs of twinkling stars. hope you like.

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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 03, 2011 3:56 PM GMT
    Very pretty! Twinkle, twinkle little star :p

    Whenever I used to go camping, the skies would always seem that dark if not darker. It was nice to get away from the lights and look at the stars. I think it was in Connecticut. I can't really remember though.
  • a303guy

    Posts: 829

    Dec 03, 2011 4:05 PM GMT
    A few years ago i was on the Keewenaw peninsula in the U.P. of Michigan. The Keewenaw juts out into Lake Superior, and I cant ever remember being any place darker.

    I'm fortunate in that I live on the western slope of Colorado, about 25 miles outside of Steamboat Springs. its pretty darn dark here too. But nothing compared to that Lake Superior experience.
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    Dec 03, 2011 4:22 PM GMT
    In the late 1950s my parents had a summer cabin on a hill in Vermont for a few years. We never went there in the snowy winter, not a skier among us.

    And at night I sometimes went outside, and was amazed by an incredible star show I never saw from our home in the NYC suburbs. The night air was always cool there, our elevation about 1700 feet, no city lights to obscure the stars. It was like being at the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, where you doubted anybody ever really saw all those stars at once that they projected on the domed ceiling.

    And every night I saw this same faint cloud in the same place. And I wondered about that, at age 8. Until it finally struck me, DUH, that's the Milky Way!

    And so I would have to nominate Vermont skies. And also rural North Dakota, where I saw the Aurora Borealis many times. Always greenish, shimmering and quite magical, against a setting of a billion stars.
  • BrownsTown

    Posts: 158

    Dec 03, 2011 4:29 PM GMT
    I was BIG into Astronomy for many years, and this is a great topic!

    Darkest skies I've seen ... Middle of nowhere on I-80 in rural Iowa. Stopped in the middle of the night, pulled off an exit and turned the lights off ... and it was amazing. Same thing in central New Mexico. Stopped in the middle of the night while driving and just pulled over and got out. Another amazing place is Snowshoe, WVa ... the ski area is a lovely excursion in the summer, and is in the middle of nowhere. My astronomy club took a few trips there years and years ago.

    Also, sorry, this is off topic, but a couple of years ago, was staying at Poipu on Kauai. Got my son and nephew up at 2 a.m. to go stand on the beach for a few minutes and just stare at the brilliant Milky Way. A memory I will never forget.
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    Dec 03, 2011 8:16 PM GMT
    Camping in northern Arizona, a few hours north of Flagstaff (Former planet, Pluto was discovered from Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff)
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    Dec 03, 2011 9:30 PM GMT
    Honolulu. Even in the city.
  • a303guy

    Posts: 829

    Dec 03, 2011 9:43 PM GMT
    GAMRican saidHonolulu. Even in the city.


    hehe, geography fail. not lower 48 icon_smile.gif

    but yes, I would agree, the one time i was in Honolulu, i was amazed at how dark it was even in the city.

    I'm saving my pennies to return. wonderful memories and good friends there.
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    Dec 04, 2011 4:25 AM GMT
    I grew up just outside of the DC suburbs, so it was much darker in my neck of the woods compared to the rest of the DC area. I recall my mom and I busting out the telescope to observe all sorts of cool stuff in the night sky. Unfortunately it was challenging sometimes because I lived near a wooded area, and the trees were fucking tall.
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    Dec 04, 2011 5:51 AM GMT
    Basically I've always heard that it's best to observe the night sky out in the boonies, on a bit of elevation, on a super cold, clear night.
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    Dec 04, 2011 6:06 AM GMT
    Out in high-altitude deserts. Sometimes in the high Cascades, but the air isn't as dry and calm. I once had a field project in New Mexico, about a hundred miles southwest of ABQ, on top of a ridge. It was easy to feel like I was floating in space.

    Once in a while, it's dark enough at my place that I can see Andromeda from my bed, without opening the window. But usually when it's freakin cold.

    Unfortunately, the damned stupid wind machines that are covering the west like a cancer all have huge strobe lights that blot out the sky for hundreds of miles. All the PC eco-freaks in the city don't see any problem because they've never seen the sky anyway.
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    Dec 05, 2011 6:29 AM GMT
    Coming onto the eastern part of the Wasatch Range in Utah, was the first time I was able to see the constellation....
  • Montague

    Posts: 5205

    Dec 05, 2011 6:32 AM GMT
    BrownsTown saidI was BIG into Astronomy for many years, and this is a great topic!

    Darkest skies I've seen ... Middle of nowhere on I-80 in rural Iowa. Stopped in the middle of the night, pulled off an exit and turned the lights off ... and it was amazing. Same thing in central New Mexico. Stopped in the middle of the night while driving and just pulled over and got out. Another amazing place is Snowshoe, WVa ... the ski area is a lovely excursion in the summer, and is in the middle of nowhere. My astronomy club took a few trips there years and years ago.

    Also, sorry, this is off topic, but a couple of years ago, was staying at Poipu on Kauai. Got my son and nephew up at 2 a.m. to go stand on the beach for a few minutes and just stare at the brilliant Milky Way. A memory I will never forget.



    I always feel like "The hills have Eyes" when I'm in New Mexico icon_eek.gif
  • a303guy

    Posts: 829

    Dec 06, 2011 12:33 AM GMT
    jpBITCHva said
    a303guy saidA few years ago i was on the Keewenaw peninsula in the U.P. of Michigan. The Keewenaw juts out into Lake Superior, and I cant ever remember being any place darker.

    I love it up there. It's the place where you catch the ferry to the only National Park that is an island.....Isle Royale, in the middle of Lake Superior. The ferry goes from Houghton/Hancock.

    Isle Royale is a great place for canoeing and camping. You have to be careful though, because if your canoe capsizes, Superior is so cold that you can only survive a very short time in the water, even in summer.


    It is an amazing place - I've only been up there for work, so I never really got a chance to explore the area much, but I wouldnt mind going back. Lots of history there dating back to the late Industrial Revolution days, its interesting to me how the area is reverting back to nature on its own. Its really like everyone just up and left, pretty much at the same time, and all that remains are a lot of crumbling ruins of factories and copper mines.
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    Dec 11, 2011 1:55 PM GMT
    ThePenIsMyTier saidCamping in northern Arizona, a few hours north of Flagstaff (Former planet, Pluto was discovered from Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff)


    FYI:
    The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) named Flagstaff the first International Dark-Sky City.
    http://www.flagstaffdarkskies.org/

    Flagsign_sm.jpg
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    Dec 11, 2011 2:14 PM GMT
    I grew up in Minocqua, Wisconsin (very northern part). We used to watch the stars all the time, the milky way was easily visible...as were the satellites crisscrossing the night sky. What is most spectacular is to witness the northern lights (Aurora Borealis).

    You can wake up in the middle of the night, put your hand right in front of your face...and not see it at all....one of the darkest places I know of.

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  • jock_1

    Posts: 1491

    Dec 11, 2011 2:18 PM GMT
    anywhere in northern wisconsin or the UP of michigan. darkest nights i have ever seen
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    Dec 11, 2011 2:39 PM GMT
    Montague said
    BrownsTown saidI was BIG into Astronomy for many years, and this is a great topic!

    Darkest skies I've seen ... Middle of nowhere on I-80 in rural Iowa. Stopped in the middle of the night, pulled off an exit and turned the lights off ... and it was amazing. Same thing in central New Mexico. Stopped in the middle of the night while driving and just pulled over and got out. Another amazing place is Snowshoe, WVa ... the ski area is a lovely excursion in the summer, and is in the middle of nowhere. My astronomy club took a few trips there years and years ago.

    Also, sorry, this is off topic, but a couple of years ago, was staying at Poipu on Kauai. Got my son and nephew up at 2 a.m. to go stand on the beach for a few minutes and just stare at the brilliant Milky Way. A memory I will never forget.



    I always feel like "The hills have Eyes" when I'm in New Mexico icon_eek.gif

    In New Mexico they probably do. Remember the Roswell incident?
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    Dec 11, 2011 2:49 PM GMT
    the darkest, and eeriest, skies i've ever encountered, r on the Hopi Mesas. it's hard 2 explain the eerie part, but trust me on this 1.
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    Dec 11, 2011 2:52 PM GMT
    New Bern, NC can see the milky way any given night from my grandmother's house!