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Dark-Sky Sites:

Oklahoma

 

Sites:

 


Town: Kenton

Observing site: Black Mesa State Park

Address: County Road 235

Zip Code: 73946

Telephone number: 580-426-2222

Web site:  http://www.stateparks.com/black_mesa.html

Restrictions:  Black Mesa State Park is adjacent to Lake Carl Etling and offers RV, tent, and equestrian campsites; picnic facilities;  boat ramps and a mooring buoy; trout fishing in season; a playground; restrooms with showers; and a group camp with bunkhouses.

Directions:  Located 3 miles south of the three state corners of Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico and 27 miles NW of Boise City, Oklahoma.  Google Map

  Current weather:   Click for Kenton, Oklahoma Forecast

 

How are the sky conditions?  Very dry air providing the best best views of celestial heavens around.  Okie-Tex, one of the top national star parties, is held here every fall.

 
Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:
     At the zenith: 7
     East: 7
     West: 7
     North: 7
     South: 7

Best horizon:  If on top of the Mesa every direction is stellar.

Worst horizon:  If at Camp Billy-Joe, you are inside of a valley.  But wait for the night to progress and it will not disappoint.

Comments from contributor:  Only two words can describe the passion of this dark site: Zodiacal light and Gegenschein.  I know that is three words but when the ground is lit only with starlight, words just seem to spill over or go missing altogether.

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Town: Wilburton
 
Observing site: Robber's Cave State Park

Address: State Highway 2

Zip Code: 74578

Telephone number: 918-465-2565 and 918-465-5154

URL:  http://www.travelok.com/todo/outdoordetail.asp?proxy=B191

http://www.touroklahoma.com/Pages/resort4.html

Restrictions: Check the website for details. Parking and observing only are free. Camping and lodge cabins do cost some money.

Directions: Wilburton is in southeastern Oklahoma, about 60 miles south of Muskogee.  The park is north of the center of town, about halfway to Quinton on Route 2.  From the south, take the Route 2 exit off State Highway 270 and head north for about 5 miles.  From points north, take State Highway 69 south to McAlester.  Go east on Highway 270 to Route 2, then head north 5 miles to the park.

Current weather:   Click for Wilburton, Oklahoma Forecast

How are the sky conditions? Milky Way usually visible.  Some sky glow to southeast from Brampton, less from southwest from Georgetown.

 
Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:
     At the zenith: 6 - Milky Way and the dust lanes are quite clear.
     East: 6
     West: 5 - 5.5
     North: 6
     South: 6

Best horizon:  Difficult to say, since there a quite a few areas to observe from. See my comments below.

Worst horizon:  Difficult to say, since there a quite a few areas to observe from. See my comments below.

Comments from contributor: There are many sites to observe from and the park is quite wooded, too. There are some campsites and badly designed lampposts that render some places less usable. But heading deeper into the park, away from the campsites and the horse stables, you start coming near a lake (or some such water body) and even the road that you drive on starts to curve leftwards. Stop there and your should hit a big clearing with good dark skies. The west side will still feature a little bit of light from the campsites, but that is just a minor irritation. The other directions offer good dark skies.

Wilburton is a 2.5- to 3 hour-drive from either Tulsa or Oklahoma City, and about a 4-hour drive from Dallas.

 

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