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Old 08-05-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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Default Best places to stare at the stars?

I recently moved to town and would like to find a nice place to simply take a blanket and go look at the stars. I've heard Jordan lake is good for star gazers but is this a place where I can simply take a blanket without needing a telescope? Are there any places within Durham?
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:33 PM
 
Location: North Carolina; former New York Stater
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Probably not in Durham because it's a city, and the lights are too bright.

You have to get out a bit beyond cities to be able to see all the stars and all the satellites floating by.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Apex/Cary
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I don't know how interested you are in stargazing, but my dad is part of the Raleigh Astronomy Club (he's not that much of a nerd haha) and guests are always welcome at meetings and RAC Observing Sessions.

There's plenty of information and some interesting stuff on their site, raleighastro.org

And Jordan Lake is nice, but you still get light pollution, and I'm not sure where/what's open at night.
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:44 AM
 
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The hazy summers we have are typically not great for stargazing but wait for winter. A cold clear night or morning can be breathtaking.

Frank
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebrentwood View Post
Probably not in Durham because it's a city, and the lights are too bright.
The crazy thing about Durham is parts of the City of Durham are actually still pretty rural. Treyburn is a perfect example of this. I live in the "city of Durham" but I am still amazed at the number of stars I can see from my yard. Of course, I'm comparing this to Portland where I could see almost nothing.

But Durham does have some rural spots that might work. I've seen some good stars at Herndon Park. And just over in the Chatham Co line, Jordan Lake is a good place. There are star gazing events there in the Fall. I still haven't made it to one. But I think others on this board might have.
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:37 AM
 
Location: North Carolina; former New York Stater
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My parents used to own a cottage on Lake Ontario between Rochester and Buffalo. There were no towns around. There weren't any streetlights, either.

The summer skies were breathtaking. I've never, before or since, seen so many stars or so many moving satellites -- with no telescope. If I had not had that experience, I wouldn't have a clue that it was even possible.

I don't think that kind of viewing experience is possible within 25 miles of any city.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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From the Independent a few years back:
Best Place for Midnight Stargazing
Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham
The meadow at Penny's Bend, at Old Oxford Highway where it crosses the Eno River in Durham, is known to botanists for its grasses and wildflowers, supported by a strange micro-climate in this bend in the river that's owned by the N.C. Botanical Garden. But almost as good as enjoying it by day is slipping in at night with blankets and refreshments, heading for the meadow, lying down and watching the sky. It is deep and dark away from the city, and meteor showers become distant fireworks displays. But don't try going at night the first time; learn your way in the light. The trail might be hard to find.

Other places in NC:
Clear Sky Charts in North Carolina (List)
Clear Sky Charts in North Carolina (Map)
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:08 PM
 
Location: east of my daughter-north of my son
1,928 posts, read 2,047,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebrentwood View Post
My parents used to own a cottage on Lake Ontario between Rochester and Buffalo. There were no towns around. There weren't any streetlights, either.

The summer skies were breathtaking. I've never, before or since, seen so many stars or so many moving satellites -- with no telescope. If I had not had that experience, I wouldn't have a clue that it was even possible.

I don't think that kind of viewing experience is possible within 25 miles of any city.
This reminds me of the time in Florida after Hurrican Wilma came through and took out literally almost everything in Broward County. The first night after the storm I went to walk the dog. You could not see 1 foot in front of you. My kids went with me because it was so dark and they didn't want me out alone. We were totally amazed at all the stars because there were no lights anywhere. We just stood there an looked up for the longest time. It was beautiful. The next night some areas got the lights back and if it was 20 miles away it stuck out. But it also changed the stargazing. We still talk about that experience sometimes. My husband talks about when he was in the navy and what you could see out at sea.

This is a great thread and I hope to check out some of the place listed on those websites.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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Here's a site that overlays light pollution onto a google map. You'll need to scroll over to NC and zoom in.

Don't forgot there's a meteor shower tonight!!

Dark Sky Finder
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:22 PM
 
207 posts, read 404,433 times
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usually up.
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