Author Topic: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark  (Read 360 times)

tenpaseper

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 140
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2018, 03:14:23 AM »
Quote
So for your survey my data point is going to be woefully unrepresentative as I would say maybe 1x per year I may have an opportunity to experience dark skies... and that would probably have to be an 'event' like Stellaphane up in VT for instance...

Stellafane is surely darker than anywhere in Connecticut, but it has lots of light pollution. The normal light-pollution atlas shows it in the yellow zone, but I think it's actually more like green.

That's the same as the "bad" sky in the original question -- the one that's just 1 hour from San Diego.

Even so, a visit to Stellafane will blow your mind wide open -- you will understand exactly why people are willing to drive long distances to find dark skies. Stellafane is still dark enough to see many, many dark lanes in the Milky Way -- though just a pale image of a true dark site.

Thomas Homer

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 102
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2018, 04:32:56 AM »
I noted my trip to Natural Bridges above.  I haven't been out since due to weather and travel.  I think this a good thing as I might not be able to face the sky I normally have here too close on the heels of Bridges.  Even if you can't take a scope, you need to see the Milky Way from a black zone on a good night at some point.  It's unbelievable and, literally, awesome.

Scott Rogers

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 109
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2018, 10:00:28 AM »
I won't usually travel to a dark site. I did all that type of travelling when I was younger, and although I enjoyed it immensely at the time, now that I'm older I don't enjoy the packing, driving, unpacking, observing for all too short of a time, packing and driving home again in the wee hours. I still go occasionally, but once or twice a year at best - and this is to a green-blue zone... there are no really dark skies within reasonable distance.

I do, however, plan on traveling a good distance to a new home with dark skies when I'm fully retired in a few short years, God willing, and then I will travel no more.

Btw, just about anywhere that doesn't have "NJ" as it's state designation has darker skies than here, so I can only trade up!

veworltonuc

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2018, 08:46:57 AM »
Tonight the wife and I are going up to the dark skies to see some stars. We only have my binoculars to view with, but it'll be nice to see a full complement of stars for a change.

Sam Citadelle

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2018, 04:12:34 AM »
I have to drive for an hour to get to a yellow zone. I'm willing to do that any clear, moonless weekend. To get to a green zone I would need to drive 3 hours and I don't ever bother. If I could get to a black or grey zone in less than 4 or 5 hours I would do that every chance I had but I have no black or grey zones that close. As it is I drive 18 hours to the Nebraska Star Party once a year so I can have at least one week a year in a black zone.

vistadussi

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2018, 08:32:01 PM »
To get to a yellow/green border area I need to walk outside my house. To get to a blue area (a state park in PA) I need to drive about an hour, and to get to a gray area (Cherry Springs) I need to drive a little over 3 hours (depending on fracting truck traffic) – or 5.5 hours to my Adirondack camp.Bottom line: I only drive to observe if going to a star party or if I’m pretty sure of at least two clear nights, with no more than 2 or 3 hours of moonlight to contend with. I very much prefer to camp and take the scopes down the morning I'm heading home.

izweekwardmas

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 135
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2018, 01:37:11 AM »
I am partially colorblind so I do not know what color I am driving to but I do know it is a Bortles 4.5 by lingering over it on CleardarkskyDoes the scale go Yellow, Green, Blue, Grey, Black?I already drive 70 miles 1-2 times a month just to get to a 4.5. If there were cheap camping nearby (Summer) I would drive twice the distance at least once a month to get to Blue or Grey. I would consider it in the winter too if cheap hotel were nearby.Thee closest Blue spots to me are:near Silver Lake State Park, Mi - 232 milesMount Sterling, Wi - 244 milesDagget, Mi (UP) - 292 miles

bakhvecenle

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 111
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2018, 06:18:19 AM »
I have to drive about 3.5 hours to get to a grey area. I can get to a blue area within about 2 hours.Living in possibly the cloudiest city of USA, the big problem is clear skies and not dark skies for me personally. But I'd be willing to drive 3.5 hours each way once a month.

stunfalriave

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 115
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 06:43:45 AM »
Quote
I have to drive about 3.5 hours to get to a grey area. I can get to a blue area within about 2 hours.
So is it worth the extra 1.5 hours to get to the grey zone rather than observe from the blue zone?

hoidingsikva

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 130
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2018, 09:41:30 PM »
The Chicago sky glow is tough to escape. A green zone is about 90 miles and thats an overnighter for me. The closest blue zone is about 149 miles and thats got to be a weekend. Most of my club's observing sites for one nighters are in orange and yellow zones from 40 to 70 miles.

Freddy Banks

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 110
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2018, 10:08:54 PM »
For me, no, 1.5 hours isn't worth it, on a routine basis, to get to a gray zone out of a blue.  Unless I'm staying awhile.Also, local conditions are important.  My usual spot for a one-nighter is a green, while a blue is only 10 minutes further away.  But I haven't found a decent spot in the small blue area.  There is either no horizon or lots of local light or it's on private property, etc.

ardrivunla

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2018, 08:10:05 AM »
115-135 miles to get to the closest blue zones which are much better then yellow zone 20 miles from home - totally worth it. I go to the blue zone sites every other or every third month. Closest "grey" zone would be about 160 miles. I'm yet to check out the "grey" so cant say if its worth the extra 25 miles or not. 500 miles to the closest black zone (dry tortugas national park) which will require both driving and taking a ferry as well as a new travel scope. If the difference between a blue zone and a black zone is the same as the difference between a yellow and a blue I cant wait to get there.

Ryan Hernandez

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 132
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2018, 02:50:30 PM »
61 miles or 1 hour and ten minutes to a wonderful gray, bordering on black.  42 miles to a decent blue zone site or a 45 minute drive.  Yes, the extra 20 to 30 minute drive is worth it.Then there is 3 to 4 hours to some of the darkest sites in the lower 48 on Federal land.  I get to these in the summer once or twice.  Notch Peak one of the darkest sites in Utah is 3.5 hours away. I try to go there at least twice a year in the fall and early spring/late winter. I'll offer a XT10 if anyone is out here in SLC for a weekend and want to observe.  You can ask Chris from NC or FirstSight on the quality  of the observing sites. Just a friendly offer (of course I'll bring the XT10 with my 14 inch  to the observing location). Yes, I observe year round and am equipped for low temps and if your dressed, I have an outdoor heater I can setup to keep you warm, or at least thawed if your here in the winter.

bronedproudem

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 138
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2018, 06:50:20 PM »
Quote
61 miles or 1 hour and ten minutes to a wonderful gray, bordering on black.  42 miles to a decent blue zone site or a 45 minute drive.  Yes, the extra 20 to 30 minute drive is worth it.

Then there is 3 to 4 hours to some of the darkest sites in the lower 48 on Federal land.  I get to these in the summer once or twice.  Notch Peak one of the darkest sites in Utah is 3.5 hours away. I try to go there at least twice a year in the fall and early spring/late winter.

I'll offer a XT10 if anyone is out here in SLC for a weekend and want to observe.  You can ask Chris from NC or FirstSight on the quality  of the observing sites. Just a friendly offer (of course I'll bring the XT10 with my 14 inch  to the observing location). Yes, I observe year round and am equipped for low temps and if your dressed, I have an outdoor heater I can setup to keep you warm, or at least thawed if your here in the winter.

This is one thing I like about this hobby.  I haven't been in it long, but most are more than willing to share their equipment with a fellow skywatcher.  I do travel for work, and can't take a scope with me, but do plan that next time I go, I'm going to do some research and find a local astronomy club and contact them when I get there as many clubs do either loaners or public viewings.  I would think if you are a member of an astronomy club, it's kind of an unspoken collateral agreement.  Of course, I would be willing to accept responsibility for the scope and pay for it should I break it (very unlikely).  One thing I could bring (carryon), would be some eyepieces.

pafunsirep

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Survey, how many miles will you drive for a Dark
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2018, 09:15:22 PM »
Quote
I just got back from a 5 hour trip to black( 7.5 NELM) skies in the White Mts.  Worth every minute of the road time.  The transparency and seeing were so fine the last night it really recharged my batteries.  I camp so I like to spend more than one night when I make a long trip like that but I think those of us in the west are more conditioned to the greater distances.  I try to stack other daytime activities to "punch a couple other tickets," too.
To give you a direct answer I'd make that 5 hour trip 3 times a year but I pick the times carefully.

"I think those of us in the west are more conditioned to the greater distances."  So, how many of us drive as much as an hour to/from work every day?  Would you be willing to drive at least as far as you do to work?