Hey all.... I just settled (at 11:00 this morning) on 5 acres with a freshly rehabbed 3 bedroom trailer at the Delaware Bay Shore. This is to become among other things... the home of my Astronomy Retreat/Observatory and future (early?) retirement place!
It's been 5 years in the searching. I looked in the mountains of Pa, W. Virginia, and the pine barrens of South Jersey. My check list for this search was about 10 items long... Primary to any property being considered was reasonably dark skies. Naturally cost, taxes, maintenance, accessibility, other things of interest for me to do there... and more had their places on the list (sadly cost being above dark skies... ; (. Also… knowing it was the place I’d been looking for was important, and this place has that nailed. There were hawks and turkeys in my yard today for God’s sake. NATURE!!!
Last year, for a number of reasons I stopped considering places more than 3 hours from where I own my primary residence. Before that I almost bought 15 acres w/farm house in upstate Pa, walking distance to a huge lake and very dark… (that deal fell through when it became obvious that the septic system was shot and... as-is... which meant at least $25,000 extra from me). I also saw many other nice places that I almost made offers on, but one thing or another was problematic about each of them (like 2 acres, a kinda new log cabin, on a 4000ft mountain top w/three sides of 25 mile views... $100,000... in W. Virginia... but 25 Miles to town..... Dude, that's a long drive for bread and milk).
Anyway... There are 2 great condition sheds on this property, one will house my 17.5 Discovery Dob for the foreseeable future, I’ll put a pad in front of it to accommodate the scope and step ladder. The other shed is a 12x30 wood working shop w/electric. I will be building a dog house w/pier for my 6" Meade until I have time to build a domed observatory for the planned big fork-mount scope. We’ll see how things go on that, I decided to go with a dome for sure but I'm in no rush. I need time at the place, in the dark to get the feel for exactly how to proceed.
Skies there are 6 mag, and cloudless nights are in the higher than average rate for New Jersey. With a 20 minute boat ride I can get to a beach w/6.5 mag skies... For those special dark sky events! It's that point SSE. No roads lead to there, but I want to try camping that point sometime for a meteor shower.
It's not a perfect site. There is a single street light to the south and in plain site of where I plan to setup. It’s at the edge of my property and it shall be addressed. Also, there is a smallish town 2 miles due south, and being a coastal boating village will be lit up during the warmer months I guess. Let’s not forget the bugs... The Jersey Bird, aka, the Mosquito. Having camped in the area over the years, it can be rough, but far from unbearable with preparation and spray.
The G E image above shows the area looking dead south, w/a pin in the Tranquility Base. 25 miles away in the top left is Cape May NJ, small light dome in the summer I think… The land mass top right is Delaware. Dover is 20 miles SW and puts up a 10 degree light dome as I guesstimated one clear night at the property.
Who can guess what my post title will be when I get Dobbie set up down there? Think… Tranquility Base here…
Wish me luck.