One last item on the Bucket List

Before I leave this carbon-based shell, I would like to take my [email protected] and camp somewhere in the Lower 48 where the sky is blanketed by stars each night. Where are these places and what time of year is best?
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Comments

  • jasinjasin Posts: 8Member
    Big Bend - no light pollution.
    2016 Outback MAX S, 2014 Ford F-150 FX4


  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,216Member
    edited March 2017
    Up by Datil, NM near the big radar telescope array - They have a weekend seminar on shooting the night sky in the little town east of there - Magdalena. Can't recall what week that is though - Thinking late Oct. The original "dark sky" location isn't too far south of there either. Death Valley's not bad.
    Edit-Add: Nice little BLM campground just outside Datil - Even has WiFi (slow though) - Central water and vault toilets.


  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,532Member
    edited March 2017
    Kodachrome Basin State Park in UT - close to Bryce Canyon.

    Tip: schedule it for a new moon.,

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 165 | Pittsburgh PA

  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,216Member
    Doesn't a full moon screw up the dark sky star gazin?


  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 457Member
    edited March 2017
    This web site provides a forecast for clear skies for thousands of observation points.  When you click on a state/region name, it takes you to a page with the clear sky forecasts for those locations.  Look for the locations with black squares under the light pollution column, which indicate how "dark" the sky should be there.   Some great ideas on where to go, along with the groups of astronomers or enthusiasts who use the locations.  A fabulous resource. 

    I've been to a place in the Southern Sierras called Kennedy Meadows many times for Milky Way or Perseid viewing.   Its in kind of a little bowl, so not as great as some other desert spots, but I really like it up there.

    http://cleardarksky.com/csk/index.html#chart_list





  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,532Member
    PXLated said:
    Doesn't a full moon screw up the dark sky star gazin?
    That's why I suggested a new moon. =)

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 165 | Pittsburgh PA

  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,216Member
    Think I need new glasses - Oh wait, I just got some :-(


  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,216Member
    There's a nifty App called StarWalk that shows you what you're seeing in the sky - Allows to time shift to see what's coming also...




  • mash2mash2 Posts: 574Member
    If you haven't looked at TPE or PhotoPills, take a look.  I was thinking of TPE, but PhotoPills has some neat features for photographers.  It will give a dynamic view of the milky Way galaxy on your iPhone or iPod screen in place with a live photo preview of a specific location.  You can see where the galaxy and arc of galaxy and select only new moon dates to evaluate the potential of a location, including a situation of where the galaxy will be at various times.  Neither is free, but they offer some great features, including some nice information on galaxy positioning at different times and dates as well as star information.  PhotoMoon provides info on the moon, location, phase that also comes in handy.  I'll look at star walk 2. 
  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 162Member
    Looking forward to a camping trip next week to Clear Springs Campground in the Homochitto National Forest in Mississippi. When my friends and I were there in October, we laid a tapestry on the ground and laid there with our dogs, marveling at the zillions of stars overhead. I recall feeling the wonder of creation in my earlier years, but hadn't had that feeling in some time. It's truly humbling and inspiring.
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM [email protected] — Towed by 2014 Dodge Durango — Nights spent in [email protected]: 323
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • dmerzbacdmerzbac Posts: 281Member
    It is so sad that there are fewer and fewer true dark sky locations. There are organizations who strive to preserve these locations. You've got some good suggestions above. Having said that, if it was me I would head to Big Bend Nat'l Park or McDonald Observatory in West Texas.

    2017 [email protected] 320 - 'Smokey'  2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - '[email protected]'
    Dave - Tuscaloosa, Al

    States Visited Map




  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,532Member
    If you want a simple approach, the Milky way, generally rises towards the East and sets towards the West. depending on where you are in the lunar cycle, it might rise earlier or later, but in the summer, it's hard to catch the full effect much before 11:00 PM because the sunlight lingers in the sky for a long time and the sun sets later. Spring and Fall might afford the best times because the sunsets earlier without the very cold temps of winter.

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 165 | Pittsburgh PA

  • LauraReyLauraRey Posts: 337Member
    PXLated said:
    Up by Datil, NM near the big radar telescope array -
    Is there boondocking allowed anywhere near the array area?
    Red and White, 2017 Max S being towed by a 2014 Honda Ridgeline.  Hello Mountains!
  • dluddlud Posts: 32Member
    I would second the suggestion of Big Bend or McDonald Observatory. There is a nice state park near McDonald Observatory, Ft. Davis State Park. Make reservations.
  • ChanWChanW Posts: 1,860Member
    edited March 2017
    Great thread. Dang! I'd forgotten what I was missing here in the northeast USA. (now if I could just get my neighbors to shut off their all-night scare lights - where's my slingshot...)

    Chan       --         Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 'S' Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl Access Cab
  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,216Member
    mash2 - PhotoPills is great. Tend to use it more than TPE these days. Have it setup in notifications so sunrise/sunset etc are alwas in that panel.

    LauraRey - No boondocking real close. Closest is probably down by Socorro - Mostly FS campgrounds in the area other than the BLM outside Datil - All dry camping. There's a muni in PieTown but it's kind of the pits. There's an Telescope/Observatory way up above the Water Canyon FS campground closer to Socorro - Long winding, cliff side road up to that - Don't take your [email protected] :-)


  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,532Member
    ChanW said:
    Great thread. Dang! I'd forgotten what I was missing here in the northeast USA. (now if I could just get my neighbors to shut off their all-night scare lights - where's my slingshot...)

    Cherry Creek State Park in PA or the rural Finger Lakes have pretty decent skies, for the East, but nothing like the Southwest and I think the dry air is a big factor.

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 165 | Pittsburgh PA

  • ChanWChanW Posts: 1,860Member
    edited March 2017
    Yeah, and the Adirondacks, of course. But no, it just ain't quite the same! (And it's amazing, and strange, how Montana really does have a Big Sky!)

    jkjenn said:
    Cherry Creek State Park in PA or the rural Finger Lakes have pretty decent skies, for the East, but nothing like the Southwest and I think the dry air is a big factor.

    Chan       --         Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 'S' Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl Access Cab
  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,532Member
    ChanW said:
    Yeah, and the Adirondacks, of course. But no, it just ain't quite the same! (And it's amazing, and strange, how Montana really does have a Big Sky!)

    jkjenn said:
    Cherry Creek State Park in PA or the rural Finger Lakes have pretty decent skies, for the East, but nothing like the Southwest and I think the dry air is a big factor.


    Yes! Its very big!

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 165 | Pittsburgh PA

  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,216Member
    Big cloudy, rainy skys for my trek across MT :-(


  • marilyncpmarilyncp Posts: 126Member
    Great post.  I travel with a small Celestron 70mm telescope.  Always ready and I'm able to see some nice planets and star systems in most times.  FYI, starting June 17th for the following week, there is Star Party event at the Grand Canyon South Rim. Lots of very large amateur telescopes to view and talk to a whole slew of astronomers.   I'll be there June 17th & 18th at Mather Campground. 

    [email protected]
    Previous 2017 [email protected] S owner... c'est [email protected] vie
    But still passionate about the brand!

  • HomebodyatheartHomebodyatheart Posts: 1,527Member
    PXL, we have 1-2 inches of sky predicted to fall today, and is falling as I type. Our utility company has changed out all the street lights to brilliant LED ones. To say I detest them would be a huge understatement! ChanW, maybe if I'd borrow that slingshot of yours then Eric and I can fix that...he can get the north end of town, I'll get the south end. Until we get tossed in the pokey... ;-)

    Marilyncp, darn it all I never thought about taking a telescope! I've always wanted one. I need to remember to pack my star chart book in [email protected]! Thanks! 
    2017 [email protected] Max S silver and cherry red, TV 2015 Toyota Highlander [email protected] ("Bug" aka my [email protected] pod), towed by Big Red, or Silver
  • marilyncpmarilyncp Posts: 126Member
    @Homebodyatheart Yes, having a scope is fun, but be careful which one you order.  They can be big and heavy, which I learned the hard way.  I bought a traveling telescope.  It came with its own caring case and if very light weight.  

    https://www.amazon.com/Celestron-21035-70mm-Travel-Scope/dp/B001TI9Y2M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488916612&sr=8-1&keywords=celestron+70mm+travel+scope

    [email protected]
    Previous 2017 [email protected] S owner... c'est [email protected] vie
    But still passionate about the brand!

  • HomebodyatheartHomebodyatheart Posts: 1,527Member
    Thanks Marilyncp! I'll look into that. Do need to bring the [email protected] home first probably...
    2017 [email protected] Max S silver and cherry red, TV 2015 Toyota Highlander [email protected] ("Bug" aka my [email protected] pod), towed by Big Red, or Silver
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 4,096Member
    Homebodyatheart, No LED lights in my neighborhood, so..... Pokey is out for me! Besides, I have a back yard with no lights, and an open view to the sky. By the way, the sky is falling here too, but as of yet, not sticking. I have one more snow mound to rake down so I can get the [email protected] out without having to cross-country it. (or take out the spare and all the plumbing underneath in the process) Have thought about adapting skis for the wheels though. =)  
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  with,
    Ruger aka: Adventure Companion

  • dmerzbacdmerzbac Posts: 281Member
    marilyncp said:
    @Homebodyatheart Yes, having a scope is fun, but be careful which one you order.  They can be big and heavy, which I learned the hard way.  I bought a traveling telescope.  It came with its own caring case and if very light weight.  

    https://www.amazon.com/Celestron-21035-70mm-Travel-Scope/dp/B001TI9Y2M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488916612&sr=8-1&keywords=celestron+70mm+travel+scope


    Great suggestions, Marilyncp!  I would also suggest a good pair of binoculars, maybe something like 10x50"s. It is amazing what you can see with them. I like to take my telescope also at times, but those darn binocs are so handy!

    2017 [email protected] 320 - 'Smokey'  2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - '[email protected]'
    Dave - Tuscaloosa, Al

    States Visited Map




  • JoeJoe Posts: 74Member
    Another vote for Big Bend
    2015 Max U Outback; 2011 Chevy Silverado 4X4; Austin, Tx
  • EstancioEstancio Posts: 198Member
    When I was a child, we could see the Milky Way from our back yard in North Carolina. Half a century later, that is now impossible. If you like mountains, Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place in summer for lovely sky views. There are also wonderfully remote places in New Mexico as well. 
  • TabberJohnTabberJohn Posts: 412Member
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark-sky_preserve
    Notables include Death Valley (CA), Canyonlands (UT), Natural Bridges (UT), Chaco Culture (NM), Black Canyon of the Gunnison (CO, and Big Bend (TX).
    2015 [email protected] Max S (White/Silver) -> 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L (turbo, AWD, factory tow)
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