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Urban Stargazing?

  1. Jul 20, 2008 #1
    I live in Southern California, right in heart of Orange County and within walking distance of Disneyland and when I look up at the night sky, on a cloudless day I will only be able to make out at first glance less than a dozen stars (I just tested it by walking outside, 4 noticeable stars at 9p.m.) It is impossible to make out the constellations. After my dad acquired a telescope I thought it would get easier, but the only thing that i have been able to find is the moon. Everything else just seems like arbitrary stars, even with the use of astronomic charts i still cant tell anything apart.

    Is there anything I can do to really stargaze?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2008 #2
    Re: Ubran Stargazing?

    Get out of town? :biggrin:
    But seriously, I don't think you will be able to make any progress on seeing any Stars without telling everyone in your city to turn off their lights... What you need to do is go to somewhere out in the country, take a relatively short road trip to a place with less light usage. There you can see the stars so much easier. Either that, or you should go to a really elevated place. Either way works.
  4. Jul 21, 2008 #3
    there aren't any real ways of getting elevation around here where most buildings are no taller than 2 stories (you can thank earthquakes for that) and I doubt my parents would drive me out to the countryside just to look at the sky (2 more years and this wont be a problem, but gas prices probably will be)
  5. Jul 21, 2008 #4


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    Even I sometimes drive a couple hours away to stargaze, and my telescope weighs 160 lb!
  6. Jul 21, 2008 #5
    where do you live?
  7. Jul 21, 2008 #6


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    Russ is in the Philidelphia area. I was back there in 1986 when Halleys comet was supposed to be visible, needless to say I could not see it.

    Keep trying, a reduced number of stars is not always a bad thing. This means that the stars you can see are the bright ones. You should be able to find the Summer triangle. Perhaps you could make a trip over to Long Beach, this will give you a good western horizon, different times of the year will give you different stars/constelations. Get a good Naked eye astronomy book and keep looking up.

    Good luck.
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