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Dark-Sky Sites:

New York

 

  Sites:


Town: Bemus Point

Observing site: Long Point State Park

Address: 4459 Rt. 430

Zip Code:  14712

Contact person:  Mike Kelley, Park Manager

Telephone number:  (716) 386-2722

URL: http://nysparks.state.ny.us/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/nysparks/parks.cgi?p+4

Restrictions: Entrance fee per car (or "Empire Pass") during the summer season; otherwise no charge.  No overnight camping allowed.

Directions: Take I-86 to Rt. 430 West.  Park entrance in 2.5 miles west on Rt. 430 on the left side of the road.  The Beach Area parking lot offers the all-around best horizons and is the darkest spot in the park, although various spots in the park have better specific south or west horizons if needed.  Click here to create a map using Mapquest.

Current weather:  Click for Bemus Point, New York Forecast

How are the sky conditions?

 
Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:
     At the zenith: 6.1+
     East: 5.8+
     West: 6.0+
     North: 6.0+
     South: 6.0+

Best horizon: southwest, cut-off is about 10 degrees

Worst horizon: northeast, cutoff is about 20 degrees although this can be somewhat lower if you move to the extreme edge of the lot

Comments from contributor:   Although it is not as dark and at lower elevation than the Martz Observatory which is located about 35 minutes to the south in Frewsburg, Long Point State Park offers a much more convenient spot for stargazers who are staying on Chautauqua Lake.  No overnight camping is allowed, but there is no restriction on overnight use and stargazing is a recognized activity at the park.  Bathrooms are available at the marina parking lot and there are 7 miles of scenic hiking trails, a bathing beach and many picnic areas at the site too.  On high humidity nights the Jamestown metro area will put up a small light dome in the east, but it is mostly masked by nearby hills.

 

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Town: Frewsburg

Observing site:  Martz Observatory

Address: 176 Robin Hill Rd.

Zip Code: 14738

Contact person: Gary Nelson

URL: http://www.martzobservatory.org

Any restrictions (permit required, residency, etc.): call ahead of time

Directions: Take Rt. 62 into Frewsburg to 5-way intersection with library and white church on the corners.  Turn onto Frew Run Rd. (right from south, left from north).  Follow Frew Run Rd. for 4.5 miles to Wheeler Hill Rd.  Turn right and follow Wheeler Hill Road for 1 mile to the fork in the road.  Take the right fork, Robin Hill Rd.  Follow Robin Hill Rd. for 1.7 miles past the large dairy farm on both sides of the road.  The observatory is located on the left side of the road across from a red A-frame house.   Click here to create a map using Mapquest.

Current weather: Click for Frewsburg, New York Forecast

Clear Sky Clock Copyright A.Danko

How are the sky conditions?

 
Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:
     At the zenith: 6
     East: 6
     West: 6
     North: 6
     South: 6

Best horizon (direction and approximate altitude cut-off): South, cut -off is about 3 degrees

Worst horizon (direction and approximate altitude cut-off): Northwest, cut off is about 20 degrees

Comments from contributor: The observatory is located 10 miles southeast of the Jamestown, NY metro area (pop. ~40,000) and 11 miles north-northeast of Warren, PA  (pop. ~10,000).  Although there are light domes from both cities, they are well masked and the skies remain very dark, especially in the northeast to south quadrant which looks into the Kinzua Reservoir area, which is made up of state and federal forest land.  The elevation of the Martz Observatory is 2060' above sea level.

 

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Town: Long Lake

Observing site: Sabatis Train Station (recently demolished)

Address: intersection of Sabatis Road and Adirondack Railroad

Contact Person:  Stephen Durham

Telephone Number: (518) 624-3860

Restrictions: None that I know of. The site is at the end of the county owned public road. Probably no camping at the site without special permission from the authorities, who will probably stop by during their routine patrols. May be able to get special permission to camp.

Directions: From Long Lake in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, follow Route 30 north, approx 5 miles to Sabatis Road, then turn off to the left.  Go another 10 miles, past the NY State Headquarters for the recently purchased "Whitney Area", to the intersection of the road and the railroad tracks. Find a large clear area to park, with further travel along private roads blocked by gates and signs. It is the same site of a town once known as Long Lake West, that burnt to the ground in the early 1900's, leaving only the train station, which was demolished by the State during the 1980's.  Click here to create a map using Mapquest.

Current weather: Click for Long Lake, New York Forecast

 

Sky Conditions:  Darker than dark, occasional auto traffic passing thru. We get a lot of clouds up here, but a trip up on a clear night and you would be hard pressed to find anything better east of the Mississippi.

Naked eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:

  • At zenith: 6.5?
  • East, West, North, and South: At least 6th magnitude in all directions.  The nearest towns with lights are 10 -15 miles distant. They produce some skyglow on the horizons, but most of it is below the tops of the trees. My guess is there is a clear area of 150 degrees of arc, average, for viewing.(+/- 30 degrees in any one direction).
Comments from contributor: A young couple, on vacation from CT, when taken to the site for an evening of viewing were absolutely astounded with the clarity of the view. They spent more time naked-eye viewing than with their 10-inch SCT.  My wife and I, on the other hand, couldn't tear ourselves away from such a large aperture. There are some hotels and motels and public and private campsite in and around Long Lake.  The site has less nighttime road traffic from Sept till the end of July. The winter skies are always clearer than the Summer. Even clear nights during the summer, which are great, are not as good as those during the winter.

From a second contributor:  All I can say is WOW! Very dark, as original post stated, easy 6th magnitude on a night with medium transparency. All horizons show little to no light pollution right to the tree line. Best view I've had of Sagittarius and Scorpius. 

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Town: Nanticoke (Broome County)

Observing site: Greenwood Park

Address: Greenwood Road

Telephone number: (607) 778-2193

URL: http://www.gobroomecounty.com/community/ParksGreenwood.php

Any restrictions: You have to camp there to observe.

Directions: Take Route 26 North past Maine, NY.  Bear left onto Nanticoke Road.  Follow signs to Park.  Turn left onto Greenwood Road.   Click here to create a map using Mapquest.

Current weather:  Click for Lisle, New York Forecast

How are the sky conditions? Very good. Only visible light dome is to the southeast where Binghamton lies some 20 miles off. It is fairly inconspicuous.

Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night: Around 6.5

Best/worst horizon: Depends where you are in the park.

Comments from contributor: This is a fine park for observing. You do have to be camped there in order to stay inside after they lock the gates at dusk. If you observe, count on the ranger coming by at some point to ask what you're doing. As long as you're camped and don't appear threatening, you should be okay. The campground and the lake area have some lights. To escape them, I go to a parking lot which serves a picnic area. Trees there block off all lights. Horizons are okay there. There is a large open field near the campground which offers another possibility (and more privacy from rangers), though you can't drive onto it.

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Town:  Southold

Observing site:  Custer Institute

Address:   26 Main Bayview Road
 
Telephone number: (631) 765-2626

URL:  http://www.custerobservatory.org

Restrictions:   None

Directions:    Custer Institute is located on Main Bayview Road in Southold, on Long Island's north fork, about 100 miles east of New York City.  To get there, take the Long Island Expressway (Interstate 495) all the way to the end.  Continue east on Route 58 through Riverhead, driving 180 degrees through the infamous Riverhead traffic circle.  Continue east, merging into Route 25 east.  You'll pass through several small towns, including Aquebogue, Jamesport, Mattituck, and Cutchogue, before coming to Southold.  Turn right about a mile after passing the Southold Police Station onto Main Bayview Road.  The intersection is on the right as the road veers to the left, forcing you to make about a 150-degree turn.  A gas station on the corner (Gulf?) also helps to mark the spot.  Custer is about a quarter mile down on the left.  Click here to create a map using Mapquest.

Current weather:  Click for Southold, New York Forecast

 

How are the sky conditions?  The north fork of Long Island remains relatively dark, at least compared with the rest of  Long Island.  Sixth magnitude is not uncommon, and every now and then, after a high-pressure system comes through, we can actually get down to about mag 6.5.

 
Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:
     At the zenith: 6
     East: 5.5
     West: 5
     North: 5.5
     South: 5.5-6

Best horizon (direction and approximate altitude cut-off): South.  Good view low to the horizon; depending on haze/fog, can see down to Dec -45 (still trying for Omega Centauri!).

Worst horizon (direction and approximate altitude cut-off):   West is poorest, since that the way back to the "cradle of civilization."

Comments from contributor: Custer is located on Main Bayview Rd., a busy secondary road.  As a result, car lights can be frustrating!  Your best bet is so set up towards the back of the "south lawn." 

 

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