View Full Version here: : Dark spot near Sydney for a newbie
I am as new as they get around here so a big Hi to all. I have been reading heaps on here so hope to get the hang of it all very soon.
I have a Nexstar 6SE that I have been playing with in my backyard and it’s been great so far.
Problem being there is lots of light around as I am close to the airport and other things (Brighton Le Sands)
So for my first question.
Where would be a good place to go for some nice dark sky not too far as I can only get away for the night at the moment. I was thinking about 2hrs drive max ?
Somewhere in the Blue mountains ? Or maybe down the South coast ?
Anybody got any good spots not that far away ?
Thanks for any help.
07-06-2012, 09:31 AM
G'day Rat, :welcome: to IIS!
The outskirts of Sydney has a few places. You will often find current sessions listed in the Star Parties and Community Events (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=16) forum.
To the North you have The Pony Club at Mangrove Mountain. To the west is Katoomba Airfield. These two sites are very popular with IIS folk around Sydney. Both these sites are SAFE, comfortable and jovial places.
You also have the sites run by the various Clubs and Societies (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/clublistings.html). They are very welcoming of newcomers too.
Within Sydney there are also the various clubs, but occasionally there are other sessions listed in the Star Parties forum. Randwick Girls' High School reguarly holds sessions on their oval. It's a matter of visiting the forum, and even just asking - some fellow mad photon junkie may be happy to host you.
07-06-2012, 04:38 PM
Sutherland Astronomical Society has a very comprehensive observatory complex at Oyster Bay, and they have a couple of dark sky sites they use on saturday nights closest to new moon. Good club to join and not too far from you
Hard for me as I work nights on weekends and have my days off mid-week.
I was more thinking somebody had a favourite park or reserve they go to.
So going by all the dates the clubs have their meetings it's best to look up when there is no moon right ?
08-06-2012, 10:05 AM
If you want to observe deep sky objects, then you need to pick a time when there is preferably no moon.
08-06-2012, 10:44 AM
Yep, like Laurie says, if you want to see deep sky objects, it is best when the Moon isn't around. So you time your sessions around the New Moon, or after the Moon sets in the first quarter phase, or before it rises during the third quarter.
However, the Moon isn't a problem with itself, or the planets as they are all bright enough to not have problems with the Moon.
Even when the Moon is up, the better part of the sky is then that section furthest away from it. You will loose less detail this way.
For the Katoomba lot, if the Airfield is unavailable to us, there is Hagraves Lookout and Mount Blackheath Lookout. Access to both is through Blackheath, but a fork in the road leads to one or the other. Hargraves has more of the sky open, but it is very exposed being on the spur of a ridge, and any wind running through the valley makes it very, very cold and uncomfortable.
Mt. Blackheath has trees to the east, though the rest of the sky is fantastic. The other thing is there are fireplaces there which we have put to very good use on the occassion we go there.
Both these sites are very isolated, but it is always best to go with a mate. More likely you'll get the fright of your life when a big roo sneaks up on you than anything else, but safety is in numbers.
You may even like to approach some golf club. You may need to do a bit of a session to have the club members look through a scope, but get on their good books and you may gain access to a really good site.
The main thing is to find a place that is SAFE!
08-06-2012, 11:50 AM
I used to live in Earlwood not to for from where your at. My advise would be seeing that you work weekend night and most clubs have there gatherings on the weekend I'd stick to back yard visual, I'm assuming you don't do imaging. Start with the planets and some of the bright DSO save the petrol $$$ and one day buy a bigger light bucket. I had a 10inch when I was living there and used it successfully from my back yard. Light pollution and all. O yeah filters sometimes help.
08-06-2012, 11:52 AM
There's a list with maps and directions
South is not much good unless you go as far as Jamberoo, Barren Ground or Kangaroo Valley, or the hinterland around Robertson.
08-06-2012, 12:19 PM
There is an oval at Old Illawarra Rd and Throsby Cl Barden Ridge, near Lucas Heights, which is on a high spot with somewhat darker skies around 3/4 of the view, even though still in suburbia.
As with all these places I would not go there alone.
For a good half sky view any of the parks etc right on the Sydney coastline will give you a darker sky to the East.
Thanks for all the help guys it was just what I needed.
Looks like I will be heading to Hargaves around the 20th for my first trip out to some dark sky..
I just need to get some heating to stop the dew after the other night in my backyard.
Man it never stops I have now spent just as much on accessories as I did the scope. You have me thinking of a bigger scope already. This one will have to do for a while.
09-06-2012, 09:32 PM
You should be warned that dark skies are highly addictive... before I traveled out to dark skies, I used to think "how big of a difference can dark skies really make?"
The first time I traveled west of Brisbane, I decided to do the full hog - i.e. 6.5 hours drive west to a spot that was well and truly "black" on the light pollution maps. WOW... what an experience!
Since then, I've been driving out west (typically from 1 - 2.5 hrs only) for all my deep space imaging and observing.
The last time I went out (a couple of weeks ago), transparency and seeing were both good - e.g. I could easily see the Lagoon and Triffid Nebulae naked eye. Stunning through the Dob.
Start saving your petrol money ;)
10-06-2012, 04:22 PM
Somewhat close than Katoomba is Linden - the site of the old Beames Observatory. Now run by a Trust, Linden is used on two Saturday evenings a month by Western Sydney Amateur Astronomy Group (WSAAG).
A reasonable bunch of people (except for me).
10-06-2012, 07:51 PM
One advantage of being a WSAAG member is you can rock up- with prior notice- on any night, not just weekends - at Linden. The East has some considerable sky glow but overhead it's great.
vBulletin® v3.8.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.