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Dark Sky sites


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I'm based in Braintree, and I'd like to get away from the bright lights of the town every so often and find a nice dark sky in which to set up and get a good look at the Milky Way, and maybe some other visual treats in the night sky. 

I've heard that Dengie Pensinsula is a great place to go; but I'm uncertain as to where I can park up and get my kit out and not be a nuisance, or be somewhere I shouldn't be?

Are there other easy to access dark sky sites? Where do others in North Essex area normally go? Do you get hassled often by people wondering what your doing, or worse taking issue with it?

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Hi, there's a site at Hatfield forest, not the regular car park. Used it a few times and not been hassled yet. Sites in North Essex have yet to be identified as far as I am aware, eg just South of Haverhill, North of Finchingfield is predicted to be dark from LP surveys, but there is no obvious suitable public ground eg a car park or public access space. Kind of frustrating. If you find a place there pls let us know. Folks on this forum have met in the Rodings area, details found on previous threads, technically (like the Hatfied forest site) it will be substantially light polluted, but may be worth a try, good luck !

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Hi. Have a look at the venturing out tonight thread. That is where the cloud dodgers put notice about heading out. I have been to the Rodings twice, and you can see the milky way on a good night. I was meant to be heading out there tomorrow evening as it says it will be a good one...though might just stay at home as still working on the power box....regardless of that, the owners of the land have our contact details, so if anyone attends it must be left as you found it.

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Hi Blazar, 

I'll keep an eye on that thread. I've driven past the rodings area late at night a few times its a decent sky, but I never saw anywhere to park up out of the way. 

Cheers

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If anyones up for a bit of trail blazing, this Saturday or Sunday night I might be popping over here http://goo.gl/0AIOjO with bins to see if its as dark as the dark sky apps / web sites say it is.

to the east of the pin is a large concrete area, enough for 4 or 5 cars plus scopes.

I've contacted the landowner and they are fine about access so long as we leave it clean and tidy.

PC_20140522_140738_pano_PerfectlyClear0001.jpg

Have a look here
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Knobby, what arrangements do you have with the owner, just turn up and use it (obviously being respectful of the site), or do you need to let them know you are going ?

Will try to get over there, as Jon says above, we've used Hatfield a bit, but nowadays have a tendency to drive out and camp in Suffolk to get away from the London glow.

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Slightly off-topic because I'm not referring to a 'site', but I too am on the lookout for a dark site.. only just to view the stars from the car for now.. no serious observing.

I live near Colchester, so was thinking of checking out Mersea Island.. a few people suggested it on a thread a few years ago.. thinking with the street lights off now it could be rather good.

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Perhaps my expectations of dark skies around Essex are a bit too high! Went to Mersea around midnight, and could only see a faint trace of the milky way.. Think I'm going to be having to travel further afield for anything better!

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Is Heybridge/Heybridge Basin too far?

There is the sea wall there and is reasonably dark.

If you walk along the estuary side then past the lake on the left you reach a convenient seat that is probably about as dark as it will get. Maldon casts some light but not overly bad. Walk would be about 20-30 minutes to where the seat is.

Next fine day you fancy a walk have a drive there and check it out.

What aboit the Blackwater Nature reserve?

Not much around there and maybe some suitable parking also.

Check Abberton Reservoir as well.

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Even at midnight that would have had an effect?

If you use http://clearoutside.com/ website, it shows you the apparent darkness of the night in the forecast. If you click on the link "Annual Darkness" on the forecast, you can see the amount of darkness to be expected through the year... For Braintree where I live, only in the past few days are we getting what the website defines as "Astro Darkness" and then only for a relative few minutes a day. http://clearoutside.com/annual_darkness/51.88/0.55

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  • 2 years later...
On 21/07/2014 at 12:23, Tddun said:

Slightly off-topic because I'm not referring to a 'site', but I too am on the lookout for a dark site.. only just to view the stars from the car for now.. no serious observing.

I live near Colchester, so was thinking of checking out Mersea Island.. a few people suggested it on a thread a few years ago.. thinking with the street lights off now it could be rather good.

try out near Abberton

 

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  • 2 months later...
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