Greetings. It’s the neophyte astronomer here – still a neophyte but trying harder!
My dark sky location in the Adirondack mountains of New York beckons one to step out under the stars. And so I have. Me, my telescope, and I.
But my piece of heaven has trees. Lots of trees. Trees are good, necessary, and to be appreciated – but not conducive to amateur astronomy. Keene is within the boundaries of the Adirondack State Park – forever wild, and trees are everywhere. It’s like – a forest or something.
So I soon discovered that finding a 360° open field from which to view our gorgeous night sky is another impediment to good viewing here in Keene. Well, that and bugs, cold, humidity, and late-night fatigue – but that’s another story! No one said this was an easy hobby! Ah, but the dark sky!
The good news is that there’s nearby Norton Cemetery, which soon became my ethereal stargazing location.
The cemetery offers easy access and relatively minor light pollution from the nearby businesses. Bats flutter overhead, barred owls hoot…all surrounded by the perennial yet eerie coyote song. It’s all sort of surreal. But it gets lonely, and it soon became clear to me that stargazing is an activity best shared. In fact, I’ve come to enjoy meeting folks under the stars more than stargazing itself!
But the fickle mountain weather made it difficult to plan any viewing in advance. I invite neighbors over social media (but never facebook!) and via an email list to come join me – on short notice of maybe four hours or so – when the weather, my schedule and mood all converge. I’m usually joined by Kevin, another amateur astronomer with his 9 1/4″ CPC-925 scope, and we have great fun viewing whatever the night sky has to offer. We’ve been doing this for over six years now – frequently enough that our observing sessions have come to be known around town simply as “impromptu stargazing”.
So if you’re ever visiting the high peak region of the Adirondack Mountains, contact me; you’re invited to impromptu stargazing!
And don’t forget to check observing predictions on cleardarksky.com, and specifically the Norton Cemetery site:
See you soon!