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pbyrne

Urban/Rural Divide

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Hi all

 

I am currently working my way through the Herschel 400, 81 down, a long way to go.  When it comes to a challenge such as this, what you can pull in really depends on your location.  Last weekend I was under rural skies and was observing 11th and 12th magnitude galaxies with ease in my 200mm Newtonian.  Last night,  in my urban back garden, where the streetlights like to meet for fun, I was out observing again.  Boy, what a difference.   I attempted to begin with the observation of NGC 5466, a 10th magnitude globular in Bootes, hah! no chance.  There was nothing there, no hint of a globular.  OK, the seeing and transparency were not perfect, but I believed that a 10th magnitude object would be visible.  Wrong!  I next went for NGC 5195, the companion to M51.  It was there, well, the core was there, and nothing else, any sight of a halo was washed out.  Knowing that such bright objects were either invisible or next to impossible, any thoughts of going for 11th magnitude galaxies were quickly put aside.  In the end, I settled for observing familiar objects such as M81, M57 and M13, even these greats suffered.

Standing beneath blazing streetlights, the council recently replaced the old sodium lights with LEDs, and boy, are they bright, it makes the yearning for country skies stronger.

I wonder can I persuade the family to move to the middle of nowhere?  I doubt it.

Paul

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I guess many people suffer this way.  I suppose you could take a couple of positives... You do have a great scope and you can get away to rural locations.  With a  bit of planning and some degree of luck and determination, you'll get there. I've got the opposite, rural skies, 80mm scope 😥

I guess your using a decent light pollution filter? 

Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

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Illuminating post (pardon the pun), annoying to be reminded of how bad your garden site is. I feel your frustration. My site is not fabulous, the ‘observability’ being largely dependent on (a) whether neighbour’s bedroom/bathroom lights are on and (b) whether the atmosphere is reflecting the nearby towns’ lights, some nights are great, others appalling. At least we still do have pockets of dark sky in this country to make use of! 

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2 hours ago, pbyrne said:

Hi all

I wonder can I persuade the family to move to the middle of nowhere?  I doubt it.

Paul

The countryside isn't the middle of nowhere, it's the middle of everywhere. Towns are just the middle of towns.

Olly

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I had the same situation, but solved it by moving to semi-rural Dorset. I don't miss London at all.

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I live on the eastern edge of Exmoor.  It's so quiet that I can often hear the trains on the West Somerset Railway which is at least three miles away, and sufficiently dark that on a heavily overcast night you genuinely can't see anything at all.  Really.

I love it here and it works well for astronomy (when the skies are clear), but the compromises you have to make to live somewhere like this aren't ones that work for everyone.  Buses and taxis are pretty much unheard of.  It's a thirty mile, hour round trip to take our children to school each day (and the same to pick them up, obviously).  Delivery food?  I'm sorry, but this is the 1950s.  We don't have that around here.  Nor a pub in walking distance, or a supermarket within ten miles.  The internet connectivity is rubbish (Streaming video?  You have got to be kidding), "next day" deliveries sometimes arrive next day and the post might arrive by lunchtime.  Tomorrow.  I do actually know someone who doesn't even have electricity.  Not "no mains electricity": none whatsoever.

So whilst living somewhere "dark" might sound appealing, a certain mindset may be required to stay there permanently.  Not everyone is ready for civilisation.  Not that I wouldn't recommend it.  Just don't move too close to me, ok? :D

James

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Greetings Paul,

Re: " Standing beneath blazing streetlights, the council recently replaced the old sodium lights with LEDs,  "

Common problem everywhere. Those LED lights ? Well, sadly, these are broad spectrum lights and none of our common narrow band LP filters will work.

Can you not bundle your astronomical stuff into your car and take a drive to the country for a night of observing ?

When my neighbor and I want to do some observing and some not so serious photography we have to drive about 265 km from the city of Adelaide ( I do not live in Adelaide) to get almost no light pollution but, to get truly dark skies we have to move an extra 300 km to the north !! More than 265km implies a family outing of more than a day !!

Jeremy.

 

 

Edited by JRWASTRO
minor addition

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2 hours ago, JamesF said:

So whilst living somewhere "dark" might sound appealing, a certain mindset may be required to stay there permanently.  Not everyone is ready for civilisation.  Not that I wouldn't recommend it.  Just don't move too close to me, ok? :D

James

And just when I was thinking of moving in next door and putting up one of these. 🤔

06EAF935-159B-4032-BED9-39125EAEE12F.gif

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7 hours ago, JamesF said:

I live on the eastern edge of Exmoor.  It's so quiet that I can often hear the trains on the West Somerset Railway which is at least three miles away, and sufficiently dark that on a heavily overcast night you genuinely can't see anything at all.  Really.

I love it here and it works well for astronomy (when the skies are clear), but the compromises you have to make to live somewhere like this aren't ones that work for everyone.  Buses and taxis are pretty much unheard of.  It's a thirty mile, hour round trip to take our children to school each day (and the same to pick them up, obviously).  Delivery food?  I'm sorry, but this is the 1950s.  We don't have that around here.  Nor a pub in walking distance, or a supermarket within ten miles.  The internet connectivity is rubbish (Streaming video?  You have got to be kidding), "next day" deliveries sometimes arrive next day and the post might arrive by lunchtime.  Tomorrow.  I do actually know someone who doesn't even have electricity.  Not "no mains electricity": none whatsoever.

So whilst living somewhere "dark" might sound appealing, a certain mindset may be required to stay there permanently.  Not everyone is ready for civilisation.  Not that I wouldn't recommend it.  Just don't move too close to me, ok? :D

James

Interestingly, you are more remote from some amenities than we are, it seems. Our internet does allow streaming video and there's a bar at 7km, not that we use it. At the moment there are no schoolchildren in the village but, when there were, there was a school bus service for them daily, a service which will be restored when present toddlers reach school age. There's a mini-supermarket and baker at 7km and a weekly 'market bus' for elderly non-drivers. The roads are ploughed immediately and repeatedly in the event of snow. I suspect that, because far more of France is rural than is the case in the UK, they are simply better at gearing up for it. 

However, you do indeed have to be up for rural life and you have to get used to it. On my visits to family and friends in town, though, I soon find myself oppressed by the near horizons, the white noise, the traffic and the absence of the cycle of natural light and darkness.

The good news for anyone wanting to move to the country in France is that remote houses are far less expensive than urban ones, precisely the opposite of the UK situation.

Olly

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Where I'm living now isn't truly rural or dark, but it is sufficiently both to be livable. I have family within easy driving and the nearest town is less than 5 miles away. There is a reasonable bus service and I get about 50 Mbps broadband. The downside is the LP from town.

When I was looking to move to the country I had Exmoor as one of my search areas, but this location is probably the best compromise of all the factors.

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Sark would a good place to live for observing. No streetlights and cars are banned so no light polution. 

This is the kind of “traffic” you’ll  find on one of their main roads. 😁

DE8C70B3-B605-49D3-ADF9-CC61E452DAC1.jpeg

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1 hour ago, ollypenrice said:

However, you do indeed have to be up for rural life and you have to get used to it. On my visits to family and friends in town, though, I soon find myself oppressed by the near horizons, the white noise, the traffic and the absence of the cycle of natural light and darkness.

I feel much the same.  My siblings and the people I work with often tease me about being scared of going any further than the nearest town :)

James

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32 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Sark would a good place to live for observing. No streetlights and cars are banned so no light polution. 

This is the kind of “traffic” you’ll  find on one of their main roads. 😁

DE8C70B3-B605-49D3-ADF9-CC61E452DAC1.jpeg

I bet those cyclists are thinking "stupid cart drivers!  Clogging up the roads with traffic!"

Sark does actually quite appeal to me in many ways, though my understanding is that it's actually becoming more difficult for what is in reality quite a small community to continue to exist at the level it does whilst being as remote as it is.  For example I believe there's been some uncertainty recently about how they can maintain continuity of their electricity supply at an affordable price given that (if I recall correctly) it is all generated using imported diesel.

James

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Looks like Sark Electricity will be bought out by the goverment to ensure continued supply of electricity. Know they have just had some emergency generators installed as well. Hopefully will all be sorted shortly.

Very friendly people. Recently ordered a book from Sark and the seller wrote a nice long chatty letter thanking me for buying the book. 👍🏻

They have an active astro group. http://www.sastros.sark.gg/

Edited by johninderby
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