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king-jaffethehutt

What,s the best sky you have observed under?

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Hi Folks,

just sat here cursing this awful weather , not been out for nearly a month now, cloud, wind, rain, bah!!!

I was reminiscing over my time in Fuerteventura, When I drove into the interior of the island with my 90mm mak.....awesome!

The west side of the island is virtually uninhabited and has the darkest skies I have ever seen.

The skies were so dark I'm embarrassed to say that I could not identify the constellations due to the amount of stars surrounding them!

This had led me to wonder what's the best sky you have observed?

Rgds

Scott

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Can't just mention one! :)

Three immediately spring to mind.

1) The Rub' Al Khali (The Empty Quarter) and many of the other deserts of Saudi Arabia

2) The Outer Hebrides in Scotland (had a house facing west and south- next stop Nova Scotia..)

3) Various out of the way/isolated areas in Arizona

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I haven't been under truly dark skies, but the closest I've been is Mount Pisgah in the US in North Carolina.

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With a scope, the Herefordshire skies where the SGL star party is held. I could just see M13 with the naked eye on the best night I've had there and could get down to mag 12 galaxies with the 6" scope I took along last year.

I'm sure that there are darker skies available though so I can improve on this.

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Without doubt, near Siding Springs in NSW, Australia. Totally clear right down to the horizon.

Dave

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Northern Territory, Australia. Spent three weeks cruising around in a camper van between Darwin and Uluru (Ayers Rock) every night we just lay in our camp beds with a few bottles of Tooheys and stared up at the amazing sky. One day I will return with a scope.

Edited by Chris H

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Without doubt, near Siding Springs in NSW, Australia. Totally clear right down to the horizon.

Dave

Me too Dave. Warrambungles National Park, not far from the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Springs. Miles from any towns, totally dark skies and Southern skies at that. Just laid out on my sleeping bag with some cold tinnies close at hand and stared at the sky all night long. Unforgettable!

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Just once, in the 1960s, doing a stint on a kibbutz in Northern Israel. One day I was set to work at the chicken-sheds in a shift beginning at 3am. As I was picking my way across the site in near-perfect darkness, I glanced skyward, and thought to myself, 'sky seems to have clouded over...' Then I pinched myself and realised, that ain't clouds, that's the Milky Way, so bright it's casting shadows. I wasn't as familiar with the outline of Sagittarius as I am nowadays, but it did seem to me, there are a helluva lot of stars out there! Alas! I had no binoculars or other optical aid to hand, only the MK1 eyeballs...

Edited by 661-pete

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Northern Territories was the best I've seen - but up in the mountains of NZ's South Island was good too, marred only by it being so blimmin' cold!

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Any of the places we used to go camping in South Australia, generally somewhere along the Murray. And I remember being particularly struck by the sky in Port Campbell in Victoria. How I wish to see that type of clear sky again.

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I was in Sedona, Az, last year. My first view of the Milky Way and a really dark sky. So many stars I couldn't spot the constellations.

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nothing as exotic as mentioned above but the best skies I have ever seen (in my short time as an astronomer) were in the Lake District just a few miles outside Kirkby Lonsdale. Unfortunately I did not have my scope but just standing there and looking up was incredible. Milky Way a clear bright band across the sky and so many clusters really obvious to naked eyes.

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Death Valley was the best I've seen. Had the same problem identifying constellations because there were too many stars.

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Negev Desert in Israel in 1980, camping in the desert near Sde Boker. Had a little 3" Newtonian rich-field scope at my disposal.

Utah and Arizona desert in 1993. Just bins, but still great.

Hautes Alpes in France last year was very good (near Olly's place).

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Camelford in Cornwall! Although I have looked at skies in the Sahara, I wasn't a stargazer then. Wish I'd started this hobby earlier!

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Yosemite Valley - Glacier point.

Watched the sunset over half dome then hung around after dusk for a while, sadly no scope with me but nonetheless mind bogglingly good skies.

In the UK I cant beat the Llyn peninsula or Galloway.

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Until 3 years ago I owned an hotel/restaurant about 20 miles from the Galloway Forest. You could walk out the hotel front door, look up and see the Milky Way instantly without any need for your eyes adapting. The more your eyes got adapted the better the view became!! Amazing.

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i have two places but none was with a scope unless a susat sight ontop of a sa80 counts lol

1 northan Territories iraq

2 mod training area 50km north of hannover germany

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Mt. Teide, Tenerife, helped by the improved latitude. :(
Yup, best ever. The altitude helps too. Since the hotel there is above the clouds, it keeps all the light pollution from the resorts from being a problem.

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I've been lucky enough to travel quite extensively over the years, and I would agree with those who have experienced the skies of Australia - outside of a small town called Moruya, in New South Wales was the clearest I've seen - and all those new constellations to learn!

Perhaps surprisingly, the next best was at Salcombe, in South Devon, about four years ago - I could see M33 WITH THE NAKED EYE! We had two exceptional nights with this kind of visibility. I don't know if this is common there, or whether we were just very, very lucky. I laid on my back on a hotel balcony overlooking the estuary, and spent most of the night there in a state of awe and wonder!

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The wilds of Dartmoor are fantastic with a pair of bins. For observing with a scope, the SGL5 & 6 star parties have been the highlights for me.

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Has to be at my parents on the Isle of Mull it's so dark you can see the Milky Way in all it's glory. Drive up to the top of the Hill Rd and you get a 360 degree view and not a light in sight. The last time I hardly used the scope just bins was enough!

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