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sonnymoon

looking for place to do astrophotography in Southern France or Spain

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I'm always on the look out for a new holiday house to drive to in the South of France or possibly Spain to indulge myself in some astrophotography. I have found a small Gite in Provence which I go back to which ticks most of the boxes; dark clear and open skies, good view south, good weather, friendly owner and accessible mains power, but am looking for alternatives.

In my experience it's surprisingly hard to find suitable places. I'm not sure if giving recommendations are within the rules of SGL(?), but I imagine that there could be a lot of useful info that members have. I did visit Olly Penrice's place last year and very impressive it was too. Surely there must be more like that out there....?

 

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1 hour ago, sonnymoon said:

I'm always on the look out for a new holiday house to drive to in the South of France or possibly Spain to indulge myself in some astrophotography. I have found a small Gite in Provence which I go back to which ticks most of the boxes; dark clear and open skies, good view south, good weather, friendly owner and accessible mains power, but am looking for alternatives.

In my experience it's surprisingly hard to find suitable places. I'm not sure if giving recommendations are within the rules of SGL(?), but I imagine that there could be a lot of useful info that members have. I did visit Olly Penrice's place last year and very impressive it was too. Surely there must be more like that out there....?

 

I've lived in the UK (mainly London), Southern France, Southern Spain, Canary Islands and Morocco.

Although I'm sure there are good dark places in all the above locations of you look hard enough, my two favourites have been Provence, (east of Avignon, for example:  https://www.sunstarfrance.com,  as you pointed out there are many other good spots in this area) and Morocco, for really dark skies...(atlas - Essaouira area).

Southern Spain (andalucia) is generally very light polluted, difficult to find a really dark zone.

 

Edited by ginandtonic
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2 hours ago, ginandtonic said:

Southern Spain (andalucia) is generally very light polluted, difficult to find a really dark zone.

We were there this summer.  The coast where we were (near Velez-Malaga) was very light polluted, but the villa we rented was around 450m up in the foothills of the mountains about 6km from the coast, which got us above a lot of the light domes and it wasn't too bad at all.  Unfortunately I was brutalised by the local carnivorous insect life and had a very bad reaction to the bites (which hasn't happened anywhere else I've been) and the roads up to the villa were a bit buttock-clenching, so I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

James

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There certainly are dark sites in southern Spain but, as with Provence where I live, you have to look for them. In Spain the coast is out of the question but high up and inland there are great places. Before choosing Provence I scouted extensively in Spain, which I knew well from thousands of miles of cycle touring. In any developed country the devil is in the detail. Mountain tops are not the place to be. It's better to have an elevated site ringed by slightly higher ground since this offers a light baffle and protection from the wind. What is reassuring is that even in a mainland European country you can, if you search carefully, find sites with a zenith SQM that can reach 22.

I'm not sure why there are not more astronomy providers than there are. Several have appeared and disappeared in the fifteen years that I've been doing this. Marc and Hélène Breton run a massive operation quite near to my place but the setup is entirely different and I don't try to compete with their multi million Euro telescope! They are good people, though. http://www.obs-bp.com/  I guess not everybody wants to live in the the kind of place that's suitable. Personally I love doing so but I'm bonkers...

:icon_mrgreen:lly

Edited by ollypenrice
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20 hours ago, sonnymoon said:

I'm always on the look out for a new holiday house to drive to in the South of France or possibly Spain to indulge myself in some astrophotography. I have found a small Gite in Provence which I go back to which ticks most of the boxes; dark clear and open skies, good view south, good weather, friendly owner and accessible mains power, but am looking for alternatives.

In my experience it's surprisingly hard to find suitable places. I'm not sure if giving recommendations are within the rules of SGL(?), but I imagine that there could be a lot of useful info that members have. I did visit Olly Penrice's place last year and very impressive it was too. Surely there must be more like that out there....?

 

Hi Sonny,

I moved to Southern Spain a few years ago to image. I might be able to give you some tips on what is good and what is bad there. I had a light pollution map overlaid on Spain which I must dig out for you.

Tom

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3 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

I'm not sure why there are not more astronomy providers than there are.

The French are still sulking since we stole the meridian line ?

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5 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

The French are still sulking since we stole the meridian line ?

Nah, we didn't steal it. C'mon, it goes through Greenwich, right? And where's Greenwich? Rest my case.

 

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Thanks everyone for your replies. The world certainly does need more astronomy providers. Perhaps an opt-in scheme for property owners to be graded by a seasoned astonomer for astro-friendliness would be good.......

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