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Finding a dark site


parvee
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With night sky in my back garden being orange most of the nights, I thought I'd better find myself a decent dark site...

I've been browsing Google Earth for a couple of last nights and found myself a couple of decent spots that should be quite dark (these wont be perfect, but will definately be better than my garden). I've been looking up mainly pathways between farm fields in good distace from main roads and at least a mile away from any village. I'll get into a car on Thursday and have a look at these during day first and then decide.

In theory :) farmers should not mind using the pathways(?)

Have you got any tips for finding a nice dark(ish) site? How did you find yours?

Edited by parvee
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I found a few pretty much from just loacl knowledge and scouting about. Whenever I am out driving I keep an eye out for possible sites.

Its hellish from Google earth because it can be so misleading. You can look at something thats looks full of trees and when you get there you realise the trees are all on a slope so at the top you have good visibility. You can find the opposite as well - it looks clear and when you get there you find its a crater surrounded by trees.

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I just had a ride around to find my first one , Now i have a nice one with the owers permission . 30 mins drive away , nice and flat , with hard standing :):)

i would ask the farmer if he minded if you have the use of his field /gate way , you never know he may come and join you :)

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Parvee can I strongly recommend that you contact the landowner/farmer to get permission to be there. First off its common courtesy, second it is a way of introducing yourself and they might even suggest a better alternative that will help facilitate parking your car and thereby making the unloading of kit a bit easier. Lastly, by asking permission and introducing yourself, you are covering yourself with the police should anyone take your car registration number down because they saw someone 'acting suspiciously'. I also always set up a protocol in which I ring them to let them know when I'm there and the rough timings. I've had a few visits from the farmers who have been keen to a have a look themselves which is also great.

One small note and that is to try and find a site where your activities and car can be well hidden. I have lost count of the number of 'dog walkers':eek: who drive past, turn around in the road with full beam on as a means of checking out what your doing. If that wasn't enough (luckily I'm not an imager) they start driving over to where your observing to then ask stupid questions such as "What are you doing mate?" When I've challenged them about being on private property the stories that people come out with, "its alright, I'm belong to the Farmers Union" and "Don't worry about me mate, I'm undercover in this area" whilst showing me some kind of bus pass with his headlights full on at 3 am in the morning. On one particular evening, our observing group was visited by a total of 27 cars and that was in the middle of the week! I thought the countryside was a quiet place but it seems even the foxes can't get to sleep.:):D

Clear skies

James

(It might cost you a bottle or two at Christmas :):D)

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I found mine from looking at maps of the area,

picking the place furthest from the local towns with views to the south not over too much light pollution.

Then driving there and finding a quiet spot away from the main road.

Took blumming ages for me to be semi satisfied with it, but always on the lookout for a better one.

Such is the nature of the DS observer.

Regards Steve

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Hi, thought I'll update. I've been to four sites. One was flooded, other two were not that great becouse of exposure to wind or powerlines nearby, but the last one was really good. The only problem is that it's about 10 minutes walk from the road and the only place I could leave my car is on the side of the road (not a main one though), which I don't think is that great idea. Well, it's not easy, but I'll keep looking.

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i was lucky, my daughter helps out with a horse, riding and such and the land its kept on is just perfect, so i plucked up the courage to ask the land owner and now i have a dark site on high ground, key holder and fantastic horizons in all directions, the ground is screened from the quiet road by short but "fat" conifers, all in all its ideal

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