October 21, 2018

Dark Skies 2014: The Journey Begins

Astro-Lab, ready for departure…

The first single step is almost upon us…

Welcome to the brave new world of Astroguyz. Ever since we decided to “check out that blogging thing” seven years ago in May 2007, we’ve been about change.  Sure, the web has changed and we’ve evolved along with it.

This week, we’re taking that evolution a step further as we prepare to embark on an extended sabbatical across the United States, and perhaps, beyond. Starting in Florida next week on June 1st, we’ll be meandering northward in search of that most elusive and mythical beastie of all: truly dark skies.

Of course, anyone who lives along the United States Eastern Seaboard knows what a tall order that is. Absolute dark skies are almost mythical now on the U.S. East Coast, with secret favorites afforded the same whispered status given to undisclosed fishing holes. And though we’ve had the dubious privilege to make estimates of the light pollution from some of the most washed out skies, such as those as seen from the Las Vegas strip, we’ve never seen the type of dark skies we remember camping under as a kid in northern Maine. Do they truly exist? Is it possible to preserve such pristine skies and maintain growth and development? Is it possible to bring such skies back?

In the coming year, this blog will serve as a home base for chronicling our quest. But far from a tedious dissertation of “what I did on my summer vacation,” it’ll also serve as a testimony to life and astronomy on the road. Perhaps we’ll document an observatory, club or planetarium near you. This is something we now wish we’d done during earlier world travels. This is as much about the places and people we visit as how we got there. We firmly believe that astronomy is where you find it, and that the cosmic drama of the universe is playing out nightly right over our heads and suburban backyards if we know where and how to look for it.

This idea has been brewing in our brain for a time, and Paul Bogard’s book The End of Night as well as the documentary The City Dark made us realize that no such melding of astronomy and dark sky tourism yet existed, at least in guide form. We’ll be traveling light equipment-wise, with only our trusty set of Canon 15×45 Image Stabilized binocs, a tripod mounted DLSR, and a laser pointer for the occasional impromptu naked eye star party. Yes, we know, we should ultimately pick up a small Questar style scope to throw in the Jeep: donations to the cause to this effect are always welcome. And while this journal is our weekly home base, expect to see further adventures and updates via Universe Today, Listosaur, Canada.com and more.

And of course, we’re just itching to get on the road again. There’s a mental freedom that comes with the act of initial departure, a stimulation of the ol’ creative juices that only commences with the removal of daily tedium.  Know of a favorite dark sky site along our flight path? Know of a club, observatory or planetarium that we should feature? Let us know, and follow our daily updates on Twitter as we embark on #DarkSkies2014.

More to come!

Comments

  1. Stephen Rahn says:

    If you’re passing through Georgia, you should consider the Deerlick Astronomy Village. It’s about 100 miles east of Atlanta not far off Interstate 20. They have restrooms, power, a picnic pavilion, and even WiFi on the observing field. The area has some of the darkest skies in the state, and some members have built observatories there. Here is the website.

    http://www.deerlickgroup.com

    If you’d rather go somewhere farther north, the parking lot at Brasstown Bald Mountain is another popular spot. It’s a beautiful area in the mountains of northeast Georgia.

  2. David Dickinson says:

    Thanks for the advice, may take you up on that.

  3. Here’s to great adventures, dark skies and a safe trip!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] week, we issued the preamble to all that is Dark Skies 2014. This week sees wheels a rollin’ with a quick stop over on the Florida Space Coast. A small step [...]

  2. [...] followers of our 2014 summer adventures will recall that we made a brief afternoon journey into the state of Wyoming a few weeks back to [...]

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