Author Topic: Is it me?  (Read 639 times)

explacgarco

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Is it me?
« on: December 29, 2017, 11:07:08 PM »
So we're here waiting for nightfallwhile hanging out, waiting for the eclipse tomorrow. We got talking about where we should 'downsize' to. Common topic with us this summer.
So, what are the 'collectives' thoughts?

Does anyone know of a true Bortle 1 (Dark Site Finder “Black”) left in the continental US?
I know the light pollution in the Continental US (CONUS) is steadily getting worse everywhere. Unfortunately it seems to me that the rise in light pollution is increasing logarithmically.
15 years ago: Our ‘home’ viewing site (~39.3N, -105W), was ~Bortle 2, Dark Site Finder [DSF] “Light Gray” to “Blue”. Our cabin in the Pike National Forest, at 10,200’ was a Bortle 1, Dark Site Finder [DSF] “Black”. Our property Northwest of Maybell, CO was a Bortle 1, Dark Site Finder [DSF] “Black”.

7 years ago: Our ‘home’ was a Bortle 3, DSF “Blue” to “Light Blue”. The cabin was still Bortle 1, DSF “Dark Gray” and our property in NW Colorado was a Bortle 1, DSF “Black”.

Today, our ‘home’ is ~Bortle 5, DSF “Chartreuse” bordering on “Yellow”. The cabin has slid to a definite Bortle 2+, DSF “Light Gray” while the property is a solid DSF “Dark Gray”.

When I worked near Sheridan, WY several years ago I use to viewnear the Outlaw Cave campground which was a true DSF “Black”. We went by that area earlier this summer and I’m guessing it’s now a DSF “Gray”.

So, where canwe move that still has Bortle 1, Dark Site Finder “Black” skies in the continental US? If not in CONUS, any place that’s within striking distance of the continental US? [Couple hour flight to a major US airport as I don’t do long flights well anymore. ]
We’re considering looking at Eastern Nicaragua. Costa Rica was nice but not any better than a DSF “Blue”.



Lauro Mason

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2017, 05:00:33 AM »
I'm thinking that unless you get totally wilderness, there are no truly dark skies anywhere.

Light pollution is an indicator of economic growth and population density...may someday in the future, our descendants will get a clue about light pollution...

brigtigeartgib

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2017, 11:17:07 PM »
Actually, there are a number of locations in the lower 48 where Bortle class 1 skies still are to be found. However, they are situated mostly in locations where no one in the right mind would care to live! They are hours removed from assistance of any kind, and even then often accessed over only unimproved roads. Yet even at such wilderness sites no one can guarantee just how long they will remain pristine. Do you imagine that the forks in the rural upper midwest ever dreamed fracking would illuminate their skies?

My best advice is to simply enjoy what you still have...it will only get worse.

BrooksObs

dextcinthrervest

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2018, 12:34:05 AM »
Quote
Actually, there are a number of locations in the lower 48 where Bortle class 1 skies still are to be found. However, they are situated mostly in locations where no one in the right mind would care to live! They are hours removed from assistance of any kind, and even then often accessed over only unimproved roads. Yet even at such wilderness sites no one can guarantee just how long they will remain pristine. . . {snip} . . . .

BrooksObs

Thanks BrooksObs,
So what are your suggestions for these remote locations?
In scanning the Dark Site Finder maps of the US for 'Black' sites, nothing stood out, that a normal person could move into. I understand that everywhere will eventually be Light Polluted. Look at what's happened to the dark sites we own now in Colorado. I just don't feel like that means I shouldn't try when I fully retire in the near future. 
The only places I noticed that fit the criteria were Government owned or I'd have the win the $510 Million Lotto and still need a mortgage.  Admittedly I haven't poured over the maps enough and my better half is pretty sure she'd rather be somewhere 'warmer' than Montana. That's why we're looking at remote areas in Central America.
BTW, per this definition, I'm not in my right mind. I've worked on 5 Continents in some of the most remote places on the planet. From Off Shore Oil rigs to Jungles to deserts where there are no roads at all. Places where the everything has to be flown or helicoptered on site. Access to our old cabin on Grand Mesa in the winter was by snow mobile only and Jeep or Quad in the summer.Ourlog cabin is totally off-grid. It does nothave 'running water', commercial electricity, or cell service. So what you're referring to isn't a problem. But thanks for the concern, appreciate it.

Matt Hodge

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2018, 01:55:01 AM »
"somewhere 'warmer' than Montana"

There's going to be trade-offs, no matter where you decide to move. I'm more than happy with my 21.5+ average SQM skies, living in the mountains on 20 acres. And even if you find that "perfect" place, absolutely no guarantees that it will remain pristine; if you find it, so will others, with their light pollution!

tiocartratca

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 10:49:44 AM »
Unless you can find a site you can access that is at LEAST 200 or 300 miles from the nearest large city, I would say no. Only places like Antarctica and remote regions of the world's oceans hundreds of miles from land and away from shipping lanes and oil rigs are the other locations are that dark.

Taras

James Schaefer

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 04:56:55 PM »
Quote
............

There's going to be trade-offs, no matter where you decide to move. I'm more than happy with my 21.5+ average SQM skies, living in the mountains on 20 acres. And even if you find that "perfect" place, absolutely no guarantees that it will remain pristine; if you find it, so will others, with their light pollution!


and if one finds that perfect astro place, what about those other needs
-friends
-family
-food
-medical care
-church
-social activities
-job and income
why does no-one else lives there
life is a balance
edj

caheadhilldea

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 01:47:33 AM »
Quote
"somewhere 'warmer' than Montana"

There's going to be trade-offs, no matter where you decide to move. I'm more than happy with my 21.5+ average SQM skies, living in the mountains on 20 acres. And even if you find that "perfect" place, absolutely no guarantees that it will remain pristine; if you find it, so will others, with their light pollution!

Hey Carol,Long time!
Totally agree. Just trying to do the best I can.  (We looked ata sectionSW of Fox Crossing(North of Great Falls) which is when my wife decided it'd be too cold in the winter.)
Do you still enjoy Masuyama EPs? I sent some 25mm to BillP to do a 'New' MOP versus old comparison. Should be interesting.
Take care & Clear Skies!

tradunjuwa

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 01:11:51 AM »
Quote
......
We’re considering looking at Eastern Nicaragua. Costa Rica was nice but not any better than a DSF “Blue”.

There's more to a good astronomical site that 'dark'. How many clear nights do they have in Central America?

Yes, they have great seeing, but...... it's hard to observe once your stuff is crushed under a hurricane storm surge or blown away.... and Central America is on the Pacific "ring of fire" volcano, earthquake, tsunami line. Volcano ash is not nice to optics.

You might consider the Australian 'out back' if you don't mind bugs and snakes..... last month I met an Aussy at Stellafane and he said a 15 minute drive from his house leads to very dark skies.....

Michael Robinson

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 02:41:36 AM »
Quote
Quote

............

There's going to be trade-offs, no matter where you decide to move. I'm more than happy with my 21.5+ average SQM skies, living in the mountains on 20 acres. And even if you find that "perfect" place, absolutely no guarantees that it will remain pristine; if you find it, so will others, with their light pollution!


and if one finds that perfect astro place, what about those other needs
-friends
-family
-food
-medical care
-church
-social activities
-job and income
why does no-one else lives there
life is a balance
edj
Totally agree with the general sentiment.
-friends: Those that haven't past away are spread across the country & World.
-family: All live East of the Mississippi, most in the East Coast area. I've been in the Colorado (Rocky Mnt.)area since '72 so we've always traveled to see family. I spent 20+ years as a consultant. Much of that time working outside the US.
-food: I hear Amazon is going to do drone delivery!Seriously, when you live in a remote place, you get used to planning ahead and buying in bulk.
-medical care: Can't be any worse than the remote places I've worked outside the US.
-church: Most remote places I've been have some kind of church we can attend within a reasonable distance. At our cabin we make a 'day of it' going to Church, lunch, and the store. Typically, in the winter, every other week depending on the weather.
-social activities: We do fine at our cabin and property outside of Maybell, CO.
-job and income: Planning to retire so that shouldn't be a problem.
why does no-one else lives there: Hopefully because it's too dark. Good point though.

Thanks for the food for thought.

Joe Hall

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2018, 02:22:58 AM »
Quote
Quote

"somewhere 'warmer' than Montana"

There's going to be trade-offs, no matter where you decide to move. I'm more than happy with my 21.5+ average SQM skies, living in the mountains on 20 acres. And even if you find that "perfect" place, absolutely no guarantees that it will remain pristine; if you find it, so will others, with their light pollution!

Hey Carol,Long time!
Totally agree. Just trying to do the best I can.  (We looked ata sectionSW of Fox Crossing(North of Great Falls) which is when my wife decided it'd be too cold in the winter.)
Do you still enjoy Masuyama EPs? I sent some 25mm to BillP to do a 'New' MOP versus old comparison. Should be interesting.
Take care & Clear Skies!
Well, last winter she would be absolutely correct! One of the coldest, deep snow in many, many years!

Yes, I still have the Masuyamas, they are indeed jewels to enjoy the night skies with. Will be interesting to hear Bill's opinion! Hope you can find a place that can fulfill what you want. As far as living in remote places; as you said, you plan ahead, groceries, etc. You've spent many years traveling, so it will be good for you to find a place just simply to relax & enjoy! Just be sure you can access the internet, as we won't let you leave here!

Daniel Horton

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2018, 06:23:03 AM »
Quote
Quote

......
We’re considering looking at Eastern Nicaragua. Costa Rica was nice but not any better than a DSF “Blue”.

There's more to a good astronomical site that 'dark'. How many clear nights do they have in Central America?

Yes, they have great seeing, but...... it's hard to observe once your stuff is crushed under a hurricane storm surge or blown away.... and Central America is on the Pacific "ring of fire" volcano, earthquake, tsunami line. Volcano ash is not nice to optics.

You might consider the Australian 'out back' if you don't mind bugs and snakes..... last month I met an Aussy at Stellafane and he said a 15 minute drive from his house leads to very dark skies.....
Agree about Australia viewing. I worked for a company out of Brisbane for almost a decade and spent a couple years workingnear Emerald (which is in the "Outback").
We plan to travel back to the States regularly and neither of us do 12+ hour flights well any more. Plus, I'm not "Big" on some of the things about Australia. Nice place, great to visit, don't want to live there - Lets leave it at that.

Worked in areas with all kinds of bugs, snakes, vipers,and worse,of all types. Know how to deal with them. Monkeys tend to be the most annoying.
Valid issues about Central America but it sounds like you're assuming we're moving to the coast. Coasts tend to be light polluted and altitude is great for viewing and is usually above 'ground haze'. Our condo on Maui is half way up Haleakalā. The Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory Site is located on top. We drive up and use their parking lot for viewing sometimes. .
Don't know for certain but doubt there are any more tsunamis there than in Hawaii or the Northwest US/Canada coast. Plus, we'll be inland at some elevation.
I've been through hurricanes and typhoons. Road out a typhoon in the Marshal Islands onKwajalein Island.Kwaj is about 1.2 square miles. It is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long and averages about 800 yards wide.The average height above sea level for all the island is about 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in).Highest natural point on Kwaj is ~11' but currently the highest point on Kwajalein Islandis ~20' at the top of the garbagedump.
I've been through two hurricanes while 'at sea' - On an offshore oil rig and on a cutter. All I ever lost was a couple eyepieces.
Not any more active volcanos in that area than the West Coast of the US.

While I want to thank everyone for their concerns, we seem to be getting Off Track with everyone thinking I/We haven't thought about this. My Wife and I are well aware of the life style it takes to live in a remote place and outside the US. We've Been There and Done That. Just because the average American doesn't want to live in these places, doesn't mean we don't.
Back to my original question:
So, where can we move that still has Bortle 1, Dark Site Finder “Black” skies in the continental US? If not in CONUS, any place that’s within striking distance of the continental US? [Couple hour flight to a major US airport as I don’t do long flights well anymore. ]

Addendum: Carol, Totally understand. Satellite Inet and/or phone access is one reason I'd like to stay in the US.

trualolalun

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2018, 12:05:53 PM »
I would look at the Charles Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, which is located on the border of northern border of Nevada and southeastern Oregon. Major cities nearby would be Reno, Boise, and Medford. Closer, smaller cities that may have airports would be Winnemucca, Nevada, Lakeview, Oregon, and Burns, Oregon--but I don't know that for sure. Black zone skies, remote, dry, high steppe country, basalt (so little chance of drilling, etc.), with elevation to 5,000 feet, ballpark. Anywhere along Route 140 around Denio Junction, but my favorite place is Virgin River Campground, just outside the refuge headquarters. People do live around there--ranchers, the occasional gas station/clutch of trailers, some opal mining, government jobs, etc. Nearest food, etc. would be Lakeview, Oregon--a nice place to live. I think anyplace in the SW, my favorite is SE Utah, is doomed by population and development. Also checkout the far northeast tip of California, which has access to the same country around Sheldon Refuge, from Alturas.

If I had to leave the U.S. for really dark skies it would be Chile or Argentina--astounding beautiful country, sophistication, good food and wine (great fishing!). More beautiful than Australia and far fewer nasty beasts.

Good luck. Dark skies.

Jack

Rahul Sanders

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2018, 02:25:40 AM »
There's no place like home...
And filters...

imlukaro

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Re: Is it me?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 07:00:22 AM »
Quote
"somewhere 'warmer' than Montana"

There's going to be trade-offs, no matter where you decide to move. I'm more than happy with my 21.5+ average SQM skies, living in the mountains on 20 acres. And even if you find that "perfect" place, absolutely no guarantees that it will remain pristine; if you find it, so will others, with their light pollution!

Now that's the rub. People move way out to get away from it all. Then they realize they don't have access to all the conveniences of the city. A few more move in, a store or two pop up. Then a few yard lights. Then a few more move in. In 20 years. you find your living in a city again. People tend to reestablish exactly what they moved away from in the first place. It's called progress. I call it @#$#@.