Black Night

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

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ado225
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Black Night

Post by ado225 »

august 12 years ago I went on a camping holiday to cornwall, there were no lights (it was a very basic site).
walking back from a local chippie just before I got in the tent I looked up, the sight to this day stays with me it was the first time i saw the milky way.
Being brought up in the middle of liverpool my kids unfortunately share the same fate.
Ive been reading some of the posts on this site and if anyone could direct me to a location that would share a similar view would be great.
ive read snowdonia or west coast of wales is good but id like some locations not just rough areas, i could get there and back in a day/night.
ive picked this time of year because it goes dark earlier and the kids wont have to stay up late to see the view.
is this time of year as good as any other?
thanks in advance

nas76
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Post by nas76 »

The best I saw, which is not in the UK per se, is when I was on business on the Channel Island of Alderney. There is only a sparse population and being 15 miles from Guernsey and 6 miles from mainland France (and area around the nearest part of France is also not heavily populated). You would be able to get a great view of the Milky Way.

Otherwise I would recommend Pembrokeshire, anywhere near St Davids should be a good area to look at the sky, as long as you don't want to look in the direction of Milford Haven I guess.

Assuming you live in Liverpool how long would it take to get to the Lake District? As I would guess that it should be alright there.

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Colin Henshaw
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Snowdonia

Post by Colin Henshaw »

The Altrincham and District Astronomical Society (outside Manchester) often used to travel to Llyn Brenig. The sky there was actually quite dark, but to the north east one could still see an intense glow from Liverppol and Manchester. In 1974 I was able to detect Dublin from Cemaes Bay in Anglesey. For my part, if you really want dark skies, leave the UK. Skies as they should be seen are effectively extinct there, and that's probably true for most of Europe too. Sorry to be cynical, but unless you can see Gegenschein you haven't got truly dark skies. I doubt if Gegenschein has been seen from England in decades!

ado225
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Post by ado225 »

booked a couple of days holiday near kielder by were they've just built an observatory.
supposedly the darkest skies in europe.

Eclipse
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Post by Eclipse »

The first (and so far the only) time I saw the milky way was in the Brecon Beacons in the early eighties.
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Vega
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Post by Vega »

One thing that is quite often overlooked when hunting down milky way views are sky conditions.

Yes it's true that there are more ideal spots around the Country to get that extra bit of darkness/clarity. However in my experience the single most influential factor are the conditions of the sky at the time. I have once had an amazing view of the milky way from my light polluted back garden! When looking straight up, the sky only gets affected by light pollution if there are a lot of particles up there to reflect the light back down. There are very rare occasions when the sky is extremely 'clean' with hardly any murk up there to cause too much light pollution. Here's some things to look out for when hunting down the milky way...

- Best either on or a couple days either side of new moon and NEVER when the moon is up (at any phase).

- Usually the cleanest air conditions are when the wind is in a Northerly or North Easterly direction.

- The air also seems to clear up well after prolonged periods of rain should the rain and cloud clear at night. (not to be confused with those humid summer showers when the sky can be as murky as hell)

- Just a note that the milky way is best viewed in August (Still right overhead and the sun starts to set low enough below the horizon at midnight for true astronomical darkness).

As for light pollution avasion, the best places I know of down here are North Devon, Far South Devon and the Brecons. My best ever view was in South Devon when the sky conditions were mint. Sky was simply carved in two by a giant dust lane from horizon to horizon. STUNNING.

Matt
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Mike Feist
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Post by Mike Feist »

I regularly see the Milky Way from my suburban garden in Portslade although over time additional security lighting and illuminated conservatories are slowly eroding the night sky.
MF

Earthshine
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Post by Earthshine »

The only times I've seen the Milky Way with the unaided eye were:

1. Just outside Newquay, 1981.
2. On holiday in Kenya, about 20 miles south of Mombasa, Sept 1996.

Eclipse
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Re: Snowdonia

Post by Eclipse »

Colin Henshaw wrote:Sorry to be cynical, but unless you can see Gegenschein you haven't got truly dark skies. I doubt if Gegenschein has been seen from England in decades!
I know I am an old dimbo, but what is Gegenschein, please, folks??
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stella
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Post by stella »

In 1976, in Australia, after 20 minutes of dark adaption,
I could make out the Zodiacal band (rather fainter than
the Gegenschein). But couldn't seethe Gegenschein itself,
since it was superimposed on the Milky Way.
Yes, that's right - the Milky Way was causing light pollution.

:(

Paul Sutherland
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Re: Snowdonia

Post by Paul Sutherland »

Eclipse wrote: I know I am an old dimbo, but what is Gegenschein, please, folks??
It is the Counterglow - sunlight reflecting off dust deep in the solar system in the opposite part of the sky to the Sun. This dust is more easily seen as the Zodiacal Light at certain times of the year, before/after twilight in the morning/evening sky when the ecliptic is at a steep angle to the horizon.

The Zodiacal Light is not difficult to see in a truly clear dark sky and I have momentarily mistaken it for twilight in France. I have seen the Gegenschein from the volcanic plateau Las Canadas above the clouds on Tenerife in the early Seventies.

Paul

Eclipse
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Post by Eclipse »

Thanks for that.
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Daveye
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Post by Daveye »

Head north :D .

I've seen the Milkyway an hours drive south of Glasgow. Or if your feeling adventurous anywhere north west of it. The best sky I've seen was on Rannoch Moor along the A82. In the middle of 150 square miles of nothing at 1000ft.

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