Author Topic: Darkish site near Orpington  (Read 14520 times)

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Fay

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #60 on: Apr 12, 2015, 09:36:33 »
ha ha I can imagine Ivor running to these locations, well done Ivor!
It is healthier to be mutton dressed as lamb, than mutton dressed as mutton!

Fay

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #61 on: Apr 13, 2015, 14:03:25 »
went to Bough Beech reservoir, near Ide Hill, to look at birds.

you are not allowed around the water but have to look from a small road that goes over the water. there were a lot of birders on the edge with their chairs, tripods  and binos etc  they said it is very dark there, no lights around.

 
It is healthier to be mutton dressed as lamb, than mutton dressed as mutton!

Kenny

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #62 on: Apr 13, 2015, 14:33:08 »
Fay -Can you post a Google maps link to the road? Is this part of the commercial site or just a road nearby?

I made a daytime visit a couple of weeks ago and the entrance to Bough Beach was closed. The sign outside have very restricted access both in terms of time of year and time of day.

Fay

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #63 on: Apr 13, 2015, 14:38:46 »
it is just a very quiet road. i dont think i saw a car go by all the time I was there. you cant get into the site, only if the info centre is open which is weekend, wed and bank holidays.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Bough+Beech,+Edenbridge,+Kent+TN8/@51.221688,0.142643,3a,75y,181.21h,74.56t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1styRe2fqjngHgB7XhW1jD_w!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x47df50595f251291:0xe73b65e1ce16077c
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Carole

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #64 on: Apr 13, 2015, 16:12:05 »
I've been to Bough Beech bird watching and as stated you have to view from the road.  I don't think this is really a very suitable place to erect telescopes, and what about the passing cars over the road?

Is there anywhere close to this where we could do so, I can;t remember because we were looking for birds at the time. 

Carole

Fay

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #65 on: Apr 13, 2015, 17:02:24 »
it would not be ok for a full size setup, like you would do in a field, but a casual light weight visit! depends on what you want to do
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RobertM

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #66 on: Apr 13, 2015, 20:12:18 »
Fay,

We're looking for dark sites that can be visited for a few hours (at least) and aren't too far away so we can setup and get some imaging in the evenings.  DSC, whilst being a great social place isn't always clear so we need something we can organise with a bit more agility for a small group.  That means grab'n'go equipment, obviously the bigger you are the more you can grab...

Robert

Ivor

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #67 on: Apr 14, 2015, 12:52:47 »
Kenny i love the Google maps summary, you'll have to show me how to do that. I think is an excellent way to highlight locations and with the number of sites investigated maybe it's time to stand back and reflect.

It is proving difficult to find easily accessible perfect sites within 30mins of Orpington we currently have one site which has potential but requires further discussions with the NT. I'm anticipating these discussions going the same way as mine with Penshurst place, people are unlikely to unknown people accessing their land without notice with no benefit to themselves.

Unfortunately for us dark secluded car parks are perfect for other night time activities whether that is vandalism or other "Anti-social behaviour" (as Penshurst place put it) hence many possible sites have barriers up to prevent this.

On my training runs I have found some great locations but I'd had to dismiss a lot of them as land owner are just not going to let us drive onto their land and potentially damage it with no potential gain for themselves. Put it another way if you owned a field would you let complete strangers use your land?

If the goal is to find locations better than normal Orpington skies are some of the places we found notably better than that but not perfect? I think we need to formalise a rating system for the useable sites we have found to date, where many are not suitable for deep sky imaging maybe we would be able to do planetary or visual?

I've briefly discussed this with Kenny, but I wonder if we should approach NT, Forestry Commission sites and land charities offering a couple of solar based sessions over the summer months to attract punters in exchange for night access. This at least gives them something in exchange.

I've yet to view the sky from Beeche on an Observing night, maybe we approach them about getting more access we are a known entity to them so they might be more receptive.

Kenny

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #68 on: Apr 20, 2015, 15:56:45 »
Repost after the database crash.

Kenny i love the Google maps summary, you'll have to show me how to do that. I think is an excellent way to highlight locations and with the number of sites investigated maybe it's time to stand back and reflect.

If you access Google Maps via a browser, one of the options is "My Maps". Click on that and you can see your current maps or "Create". Click "Create, add pointers, markers, notes to your map. It autosaves as you update it. This map then becomes available as a layer that you can add back in Google Maps (browser or IOS / Android app) and you can also share it with other people (various permission settings).

If the goal is to find locations better than normal Orpington skies are some of the places we found notably better than that but not perfect?

The 'less-than-perfect' sites I have consistently used over the past 6-12 months are:
  • Cudham recreation ground next door to the Blacksmith's Arms: The sky is very dark here, certainly you can see a lot more stars than normal. You need to carry your kit 50-100m from the carpark into the recreation ground. The main problem is the pub carpark spotlight to the west, albeit facing away from the recreation ground, and the house 100-200m to the south by the main road, opposite the recreation ground carpark, which has 2 bright motion-activated security lights outside their garage that keep going off.
  • Otford recreation ground next to the Village Memorial Hall: Again the sky is very dark here and has had the advantage recently that streetlights have been switched off in the evening. However, the Memorial Hall and toilet block next door have 3 bright lights outside, facing into the park, that don't get switched off. Typically I have only taken my DSLR/tripod to this site as to get the best skies you would want to wander very deep into the park (100-200m) near the solar system model to get the most darkness. There have also been 'youths' in cars in the carpark or playing/drinking in the playground late at night so it's not a very secure site to be at on your own.
  • Sevenoaks Preparatory School (only in the last 2-3 months): This was the darkest and most remote of the three sites but I've suddenly gone off this site after exceptionally bad local security light pollution the night I went out observing with Roger.

I would add to this list:
  • Farm access near National Trust Octavia Bunkhouse. This is the darkest site I have found so far with no direct lights. I think it is worth seeking permission to use this unsecured access road. Roger (dad ex-police) also has some interesting views on what actually consitutes trespassing.
  • Chiddingstone Sports Ground: A bit of a trek to get there and some directly visible lights 3/4km away but a very dark site with lots of parking available.

I think we need to formalise a rating system for the useable sites we have found to date, where many are not suitable for deep sky imaging maybe we would be able to do planetary or visual?

I agree. When I was doing my overnight tour of Kent I was looking at:
  • Light pollution: How much and in what direction (preferably not east / south / west), including any local directly visible lights or nearby roads with cars.
  • Naked eye visibility: That evening my test was whether I could see M44 / Praesepe unaided.
  • Parking / Access: Space for parking and how far you have to carry your kit to set up.
  • Security: How remote the site was away from the general public, etc

I did a quick search online and found the following links on the Bortle scale which look quite interesting:

I've briefly discussed this with Kenny, but I wonder if we should approach NT, Forestry Commission sites and land charities offering a couple of solar based sessions over the summer months to attract punters in exchange for night access. This at least gives them something in exchange.

I've yet to view the sky from Beeche on an Observing night, maybe we approach them about getting more access we are a known entity to them so they might be more receptive.

I'm up for this.

Observing sites we have reviewed so far with the dark sky map added as a layer:



MarkS

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #69 on: Apr 20, 2015, 21:18:18 »
Does anyone know what happened to:  http://www.need-less.org.uk/   ??

Although not near Orpington, this car park is the darkest place I found in the South East:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.0474385,0.8217794,180m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

I often went there for imaging before I moved into the depths of Kent.  It has the darkest southerly horizon that I know of.

Second best is this one near Dungeness:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.939818,0.9350048,180m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en
The power station produces an obvious glow but otherwise a  very dark sky but not as good as the first.

Both are quite spooky at night, especially the Dungeness one because of the weird bird and frog noises (it's an RSPB car park with lakes nearby).  The police will also pay an occasional visit - they'll ask if you're OK (having blinded your dark adaption with headlights) and have a quick look through the scope or the laptop.

Both are darker than where I live now.

I wouldn't recommend going alone but having said that, I usually did.

Mark

Kenny

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #70 on: Apr 20, 2015, 22:58:38 »
I would be very interested in trying these sites but but they're not really any good for short notice adhoc astronomy. A bit of a trek from Orpington.

Apophis

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #71 on: Apr 21, 2015, 00:40:18 »
Does anyone know what happened to:  http://www.need-less.org.uk/   ??

Although not near Orpington, this car park is the darkest place I found in the South East:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.0474385,0.8217794,180m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

I often went there for imaging before I moved into the depths of Kent.  It has the darkest southerly horizon that I know of.

did you find that one on way back from kelling one year?
rog
« Last Edit: Apr 21, 2015, 00:58:54 by Kenny »
Watch the skies.................

Rick

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #72 on: Apr 21, 2015, 06:52:03 »
did you find that one on way back from kelling one year?

If he did he must have taken a wrong turn or three somewhere... ;)

Fay

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #73 on: Jun 17, 2015, 07:50:12 »
may pop to Bough Beech thursday evening, anyone else going?
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Kenny

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Re: Darkish site near Orpington
« Reply #74 on: Jun 17, 2015, 19:09:40 »
Would love to but I'm in Bracknell until Friday. I've had a couple of nights (brief stops) down there by the roadside / reservoir recently. It's pretty good apart from all the planes flying over. Ivor nearly has permission to use one of the nearby fields (one they use as an overflow carpark for major summer events) but we will also need to wait until it is mowed.