Telescoping in the Pine Barrens

flash

Scout
Jul 25, 2009
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Hi to all. I have always been interested in the history of the pine barrens. I have even spent some years discussing the history with some individuals on this very site. My explorations have included countless hours searching the pine barrens, often resulting in great finds. However, I have lately become more intrigued with the night sky, thus placing my exploration phase on hold for the time being . I purchased a telescope that I have taken with me to the pine barrens a few times for some amazing observations. There is, without a doubt, a huge difference in the night sky when comparing my backyard to the pine barrens. I have observed from areas such as Oswego Lake (can only observe from the SE to SW from this location), Spring Hill, Friendship, Coyle Field, and Friendship.
Has anyone else used a location that they find to be a nice dark sky site for observing through a telescope?
 

Gibby

Piney
Apr 4, 2011
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Trenton
Flash,

Late last Summer I spent and evening driving around in the Pines to see if I could find a place or two that would be as dark as it could be considered what the light influences are for New Jersey. Even though you still have to deal with the light domes from the coast and Philadelphia to some degree, I have found that Cutts' Bogs (Bass River), the pit off of Bombing Range Road, and the back side of Stafford Forge (enter by the Parkway bridge) are very dark. The FAA radio tower blinking light adds to some of the pollution in all of those areas. There is also the logged area along Red Road that is easy access.

Cutts' is my favorite because there is no vehicle traffic and the coyotes are always singing!

I am sure others will chime in with their preferences.;)
 

flash

Scout
Jul 25, 2009
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Thank you for the great info gibby! I will be sure to check them out. I forgot to mention I have also tried carranza field, but it is not dark enough when compared to the others. At the other places mentioned I have been able to see the Milky way and m44 (beehive cluster) has appeared as a small glowing cloud puff to the unaided eye. I would say that is pretty amazing when compared to the light polluted sky's at home in Delran township lol
Figured I should also mention I am working with an Orion xt8 dob telescope.
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
7,474
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millville nj
www.youtube.com
Belleplain is the noted Dark Sky site for NJ. most folks use the field next to Lake Nummy but you have to have permission to use that field.I know of several state owned fields nearby with high clearance you can access and be left alone.I also know an abandoned blocked off bridge that makes a good set up and hardly anyone goes there anymore.Used to be a sometime crabbing and fishing spot.Be careful after dark.It has a few holes in the planks.It's at the head of Dividing Creek on Toms Bridge Road.Also some other nice areas down that way besides that one.
 

flash

Scout
Jul 25, 2009
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Thank you for the info Al. Have you gotten out to Bass River to check out the coords I sent you and guy a while back?
Boyd, I usually do see the light pollution from Ac out there. It's a shame; the pine barrens darkness is ruined from outside influence.
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
7,474
1,543
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millville nj
www.youtube.com
Are you referring to the stone by the gun club? Yes we found that one,almost gave up,we were back in the corner closer to the swamp but something told me to head up the edge of the club property back toward the road and we ran right into it.
I
I know of much darker sites in PA and WV but really down here is as good as it gets in NJ.You have bigger woods up there but we have darker skies down here:)
 

flash

Scout
Jul 25, 2009
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Did you find both stones? There were 2 within 10 yards of eachother. I still can't believe that you and guy though we were talking about seeing a different stone that NONE of us had visited, when it turned out to be 2 stones all 4 of us never knew were there!! I still want to get out and snag the other one that is just down stream from there. I wish the pine barrens had just one area of 0-1 class rated dark sky's. I just imagine what the sky's looked like when Galileo and messier were observing with no such thing as light pollution.
 

flash

Scout
Jul 25, 2009
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I am surprised there hasn't been any more forum user input on this thread topic
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
7,474
1,543
1,093
55
millville nj
www.youtube.com
I only remember one stone,the broken inscribed one.I forget what was o it now.I have pics but have nothing organized.Guy probably has the pics organized and remembers if we found more then one stone.I have not been to the one further south.H ave had Sophie with me when in that area and do not want her running up into the adjacent yard.
 

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
8,464
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Coastal NJ
I have been thinking of getting a telescope, specifically a Meade ETX90. It's rated as beginner, the reviews look good and the price isn't too bad. The automated starfinder gizmo would be very useful, and it has camera adaptors. Any other recommendations or comments if you use this one?

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

 

Gibby

Piney
Apr 4, 2011
1,579
377
1,063
Trenton
I have been thinking of getting a telescope, specifically a Meade ETX90
46er, I didn't check on the specifications of this telescope, but does it have an eyepiece adapter which enables you to attach your camera to it?
 

flash

Scout
Jul 25, 2009
73
11
8
46er, since you are looking at a beginner type of scope the ex90 should be a solid fit. Especially if you are looking for one that would be easier to transport then a dobsonian. It's focal length is at 1250 mm which will give you views of many many deep space objects especially in the dark sky's the pine barrens provide. My dobsonians focal length is 1200 mm and I have seen objects More than 30 million light years away ( search ngc 4631 and ngc 4565). I have also easily seen the trifid nebula, the lagoon nebula, the eagle nebula, the swan nebula, etc. I have to honestly say I have become bored of looking at planets long ago, it's all about finding deep space objects now!
 

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
8,464
1,915
1,093
Coastal NJ
46er, since you are looking at a beginner type of scope the ex90 should be a solid fit. Especially if you are looking for one that would be easier to transport then a dobsonian. It's focal length is at 1250 mm which will give you views of many many deep space objects especially in the dark sky's the pine barrens provide. My dobsonians focal length is 1200 mm and I have seen objects More than 30 million light years away ( search ngc 4631 and ngc 4565). I have also easily seen the trifid nebula, the lagoon nebula, the eagle nebula, the swan nebula, etc. I have to honestly say I have become bored of looking at planets long ago, it's all about finding deep space objects now!
Thanks Flash, but I'm not sure if 30 million light years is far enough ;) :D
 

flash

Scout
Jul 25, 2009
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11
8
Gibby, does the bombing range road pit provide darker skies than the Oswego lake area? I have never been to bombing range road and was thinking of checking it out since you suggested it.