Good view of Comet NEOWISE in MA
July 14, 2020 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for locations in Massachusetts (I'm in Metrowest) with a good view to the Northwest and reasonably dark skies.

I had a look from my street last night, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't see down to 10° from the horizon.

Dark Sky has me pretty well covered for the light pollution part, but New England is so covered in trees that it's hard to see the horizon away from the coast, and the state parks all close at dusk AFAIK. I guess Gloucester or P-Town are likely to be the best bets, but I'd like to know if there's somewhere inland, and hopefully closer.
posted by rhamphorhynchus to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Someone on my local Facebook group suggested Pegan Hill in Natick, though that requires about a 10 minute walk through the woods in the dark before you get to a clearing. From the hill you can see all the way to Mt. Monadnock. I haven't been there at night though so I think there would be a lot of light pollution in the way.

Another poster said to go to this field in Dover near the Natick line. They said to park near the "V" in Valley Farm.

I have not tried either of these locations myself. The weather doesn't look great for the next few days either.
posted by bondcliff at 7:58 AM on July 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Can confirm.

Lots of light pollution. Almost impossible to see with the naked eye, Bring binoculars. I think you can get to the clearing at Pegan Hill without waking through the woods but you have to go from the back side in Dover. It's an easy slight uphill walk if you take the trail. Look for the signs that point to the vista. It will bring you across the road to the clearing where you have a good view to the Northeast. Look for some red lights in the distance and use the big dipper as your guide. Tonight at 9:30 it was maybe two fists above the horizon.

We got lucky tonight, skies were very clear. There were other people there viewing it, along with a pack of howling coyotes.

Technically you're trespassing after sunset but I think you can invoke the "once every 7000 years" clause.
posted by bondcliff at 8:07 PM on July 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Shoot, we went to Wingaersheek Beach tonight, where there was just enough cloud to stop us seeing it, and then we got booted out by the cops...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:39 PM on July 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think if you used Google maps to find a longish street that pointed in the direction of the comet you'd be able to see it. It was higher up than I expected and I needed binoculars to see any more than a very faint smudge. My photo is a 15 second exposure.

If you can get to darker skies, that would be the best thing. It was really lost in the glow here.

It's a pretty good comet. Brighter and bigger than Pan-Starrs was. Worth seeing.
posted by bondcliff at 6:57 AM on July 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was able to see it from an apartment roof in Cambridgeport with a pair of binoculars, so as long as you have visibility in the right direction and reasonably clear skies, the light pollution is manageable.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:53 AM on July 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

(To answer my own question) I managed to see it through binoculars from Bose Mountain, but there were a lot of bright lights around that made it hard to get any dark adaptation.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:43 AM on July 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

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