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Old 07-10-2007, 10:15 AM
 
1 posts, read 15,036 times
Reputation: 11

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Hey there. My husband and I are at the very beginning of thinking about moving to the west coast from Orlando, FL. So far, the Eugene-Albany-Salem area looks the most interesting to us.

We're really grateful to all of you who have been writing on this forum. Since most of our serious questions have been answered here already, we thought we'd throw out one of our more whimsical ones:

We love to camp out with our telescopes. In Florida, and I think most of the northern hemisphere, fall and winter have the most interesting things going on in the skies. Any chance of clear nights in this area in these seasons?

Also, if anyone up there shares this hobby, how far out of town do you have to go to escape light pollution? These city sites say Orlando has only 200K people, but when you live here, you know better. It's huge and sprawls into several smaller satelite cities to make one big octopus of a metropolis. Do the towns up there sprawl like this?

Thanks for any input.
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
15,296 posts, read 14,713,595 times
Reputation: 25017
The Willamette Valley is not great for astronomy because the air is rarely very clear, and because of the sky glow from big cities. 20 years ago, I had a friend who lived on a hillside about 15 miles south of Salem. You could read a newspaper by city lights.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the mountains start just a few miles out of town, and you don't have to drive far to get some serious altitude. As you gain altitude, the light pollution fades pretty fast. The town of Sisters, between Salem and Bend, has passed a light pollution ordinance.

There are campgrounds everywhere. Every town has amateur astronomy clubs, which organize some fabulous star parties. If you like to camp, you can go to star parties above 5000 feet, with no artificial light source within 100 miles.

If you are interested in SETI, let me invite you to join my team at SETI@home. I can't give you a direct URL to the team because the database is down right now, but the name of the team is the Oregon Dark Sky Society. It has been pretty moribund for the last few years. I think I am the only remaining active member. It would be nice to have a few more.
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:48 PM
 
840 posts, read 6,211,305 times
Reputation: 329
Quote:
Originally Posted by byella View Post
Hey there. My husband and I are at the very beginning of thinking about moving to the west coast from Orlando, FL. So far, the Eugene-Albany-Salem area looks the most interesting to us.

We're really grateful to all of you who have been writing on this forum. Since most of our serious questions have been answered here already, we thought we'd throw out one of our more whimsical ones:

We love to camp out with our telescopes. In Florida, and I think most of the northern hemisphere, fall and winter have the most interesting things going on in the skies. Any chance of clear nights in this area in these seasons?

Also, if anyone up there shares this hobby, how far out of town do you have to go to escape light pollution? These city sites say Orlando has only 200K people, but when you live here, you know better. It's huge and sprawls into several smaller satelite cities to make one big octopus of a metropolis. Do the towns up there sprawl like this?

Thanks for any input.
I sometimes look at the stars on a clear night, and you can see shooting stars. I've never seen shooting stars until I moved here from SoCal. Just last Friday, there was thunderstorm here in Southern Oregon, I actually saw what some would call "ball lightning". I caught it on tape and kept rewinding it and had no clue what it was before I looked it up on the Internet.

As far as the population for Orlando, I had no idea the population was that small. That might just be the city limits population that doesn't include other cities within the metro. Many metro cities have this. The only city in Oregon to have something like this is Portland.
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Old 11-21-2013, 01:56 AM
 
83 posts, read 235,356 times
Reputation: 61
I am so happy I found this thread because I was about to post a similar question, instead I'll just bump this one. How is the stargazing in Harney County (outside of Burns)??
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:55 AM
 
Location: the Beaver State
6,466 posts, read 12,197,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfer778 View Post
I am so happy I found this thread because I was about to post a similar question, instead I'll just bump this one. How is the stargazing in Harney County (outside of Burns)??
Good to absolutely awesome depending on how close to town and ranches you are.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:50 PM
509
 
3,865 posts, read 4,763,858 times
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Eastern Oregon has some of the darkest skies left in the United States.

A GIS person did a map for me of areas of the United States without ANY sky glow visible. The largest areas were eastern Oregon and northern Nevada.

Early fall is the best time for astronomy in the area. Winter is cold. For eastern Oregon the north half of the state has issues with winter fog. Basically, an inversion set-ups.....cold air sinks, warm air rises. So you get cold, cloudy skies during the day at low elevation and "warm" sunny skies at high elevation.

One change from Florida. At night temperatures drop like a rock. Every night east of the Cascades easily drops into the 40's and 30's at higher elevations. Welcome to cold. Ditch your cotton t-shirts for merino wool t-shirts.

Also east of the Cascades the population levels thin out outside of Klamath Falls and Bend. Most places you will have to yourself. This is a great thing about living out west, but some folks from the east might feel uncomfortable.

Other folks comments are valid....just filling in the holes.

Oh, the weather in western Oregon is awful. Only place worst is western Washington. If you move west of the Cascades be prepared for rain and clouds....for days on end.
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Mountains of Oregon
16,215 posts, read 19,214,823 times
Reputation: 12020
On the beautiful, forested mountain where we have happily lived since 1987, above 2000' we have many partially sunny days & clear nights, even in the winter. At night we see billions of stars (clouds of stars) in the sky. Many shooting stars too... A few ufo's......

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Old 11-22-2013, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Houston
1,257 posts, read 2,364,811 times
Reputation: 1231
Quite a few decent places in the coast range if, it isn't cloudy. Hour or less from the valley. My best ever stargazing was in the Snake river canyon. Nothing short of phenomenal. 6 hours or so from Portland. Worth the trip if you don't mind sitting out in the middle of nowhere. Almost anywhere east over the Cascades away from town would be good.

I am not into "astronomy". I do however enjoy a good meteor shower or a nice view of the milkyway.
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