Place-Hunting issue

By amar_universe; Published 31 Jul 2007

This is an ever-bothersome issue in astronomy (mainly visual); first you have a dark sky site which gets affected by increase in human activity and lights creep up, then you go further deep and light pollution too takes a toll there and so on and so forth...thats the same problem with us right now. We have changed a couple of observing sites in the past, always in venture of new ones which are better and more dark. And remember, increasing human activity is directly proportional to distance to travel, we need to travel further distances for more darker skies which becomes cumbersome during regular sessions, and roads in such remote places always tend to be horrible! We need to keep alternate sites in our list which are accessible, safe and have shelter and sanitation facilities as probable sky observing sites, so that we dont have problems when one gets dropped off our list.

We have a list of immediate places to check out for our upcoming star parties: Hessarghatta (off Tumkur Road), SkandaGiri (close to Chikkaballapur), Brahmagiri (beyond Kanakpura, totally 100 km from here!). I dont know about the first 2 locations, but the third one is what I've heard the skies will be very dark, as it's situated in a dense forest infested with elephants, the beautiful Kaveri river flowing by and there is hardly anything in the village! We might need permission from forest authorities. There are innumerable other places which I cant list here, we just need to make a comphrensive list and try them out.

The best way to find other sites would be catch a train and get down at some railway station and look for dark places there. Let's be serious and try out some in various locations. If anyone knows of any other dark places, then please do share. We need to begin place-hunting ASAP, before this observing season begins by say Oct-Nov, probably a place for the long term.

Also, on a personal note, this winter is when I would begin "comet hunting" (or attempt/practice for it atleast) with my new large 25x100 binoculars which I will be ordering from the USA soon! For that I sure would need clear horizons in all 4 directions of the sky; dark horizons capable of showing objects very low..hmmm..the hardest thing to find anywhere! :( Lets keep this in mind too, when searching.