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General observing question: Location


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Hello, I am fairly new to observing, though I have been reading about astronomy and cosmology for years. I have a cheap Celestron AstroMaster LT60AZ. For such a low-end telescope, two days ago it gave me the joy of seeing Saturn's rings for the first time. Previously I had also observed Jupiter and was able to see some of the Galilean moons, and I was also able to see Mars as an extremely bright disk. The Moon also had a lot of time in my eyepiece, not to mention the times when I just look at the little points of light that are in random parts of the sky through my telescope.

On to the question. My location, the city of Franklin, Wisconsin (near Milwaukee) is pretty heavily light polluted due to Milwaukee (and probably Racine and Chicago as well) being in close proximity. I have decided I would like to travel some 15-20+ minutes away from my house to view things more clearly. However, I am unable to figure out where I would be able to set up. I have found a residential road with very few houses (only 3 on the road, which is somewhat long) that ends in a cul-de-sac. There is not farmland beside the road. Would I be allowed to park on the side of the road and observe from there? The land is not landscaped. Not in the road itself, of course. I would also be sure to stay away from the houses as to not interfere with their property.

Thanks.

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You can go ask the farmers during the day, with a good introduction they might give you a permission to park and use your instrument on their lands.

I have an agreement with one, when I arrive to the field path, I put a small beacon green light on the top of my car, to be easily identifiable from their house window. They told me their biggest problem is people dumping garbage on their lands, or the ones growing pot. Especially the growers.

So I sad, If I go there:

- I will identify myself with a light.

- Ill make absolutely no noise, (me or my car)

- I will not throw a party there.

- I do not touch the crops whatsoever.

- No garbage left on the site, no monkey business (pot) 

It worked, I have a superb spot.

===========

This is my beacon device, a LED and 2 batteries mounted on Chinese take out jug. The light is faint yet it's strong enough to be seen from many meters away. (100 meters and more)

bN25aVb.jpg?1

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40 minutes ago, N3ptune said:

You can go ask the farmers during the day, with a good introduction they might give you a permission to park and use your instrument on their lands.

Here is an image of my "residential area" site idea, with the names whited over in a (rather paranoid) action for my safety. What about here?

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I would go to a place like that with a permission if there is no street lights or other annoyances. But is it far enough from Milwaukee and Chicago to get great results ?

With my modest experience, I can say Franklin is at the end of the Milwaukee red region so 20 minutes of car could lead maybe to a orange or yellow region. I do my observations in orange and yellow (even the red region) and it's still really interesting. (Maybe for a beginner only, I can't say yet)

In the yellow region I can see much more stars, it's far superior then the red region.

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Looks a nice spot! But I would certainly make yourself known to the nearest residents during the daytime.

Otherwise, put yourself in their shoes, a person apparently acting suspiciously at night. I could come over and ask you what you were doing, but then again I'd probably just ring the Police!

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Growing up in Milwaukee I can understand where your coming from :) County Parks just outside the city are your best bet just make sure you locate and use those open all nite or that close later. You won't have to deal then with private land owners. Also state parks are open all night with a sticker you can park and observe. There are also large inner city parks like Grant Park in So Milwaukee that will issue a special permit to allow being in the park after hours...so some research is needed on your behalf to get to the best available sites. Be safe use  the buddy system when possible and, Best of luck with it indeed :)

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Without knowing the are well I would have said to look at places like Wind Lake or Tichigan Wildlife Area. Very likely places to park up at either and set up your scope.  Muskego Lake may be a bit close to your present location and so not a great advantage, but still worth a look at in case.

To the South is Beaumont Pk and Eagle lake, again bi=oth look like possibilities.

North I guess is not an option and I guess East is neither - too wet to the East. :icon_biggrin::icon_biggrin:

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31 minutes ago, Naten said:

Thank you for all of the replies. I am also considering going to the Horicon wildlife area, where, on the light pollution atlas, it is bright yellow.

Even in the orange region it can be interesting, if you point the telescope on the opposite direction of Milwaukee and Chicago, toward the green park region.

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1 hour ago, N3ptune said:

Even in the orange region it can be interesting, if you point the telescope on the opposite direction of Milwaukee and Chicago, toward the green park region.

Yeah, the direction really makes a difference when dealing with stars near the horizon. Andromeda is over Milwaukee at 22/10PM, which has been preventing me from finding the Andromeda galaxy for the first time. (Even if I found it, it would probably look like a small white fuzz in an expanse of orangeish-grey skies.) I can't figure out which star is which in the constellation, even when using Cassiopeia (all 5 stars visible) as a guide. It doesn't help that a neighbor built a house in front of Andromeda, how insensitive of them!

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There are plenty of other things to look at until Andromeda at the right position. I am close to Montreal City, similar pollution. If I drive more or less 100 kms away from the light dome, it's a considerable improvement.  The drive is worth it during the week end if the sky is great.

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