Good spots for stargazing/astrophotography in NJ?
January 3, 2008 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Where are some good (relatively) dark-sky places I can go in New Jersey for some stargazing/astrophotography?

I've long been interested in astronomy, and lately I've been meaning to take up some astrophotography, and though I have a camera and a telescope, I unfortunately live in a big city, right across from an even bigger city (Manhattan). The end result is that there's so much light pollution it's not really worth trying anything.

I have a car, and I'd like to be able to take myself, the telescope, and the camera and go somewhere less light-polluted, with a clear view of the sky, but I have no idea what places fit the bill.

I live in Hoboken, and I'm looking for somewhere within about an hour's drive.
posted by Godbert to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
NJ Astronomers
posted by caddis at 9:04 AM on January 3, 2008

Within a one hours drive? I'm not sure if that exists. You could try Harriman State Park. But I’m guessing it’s closed after sunset for anyone not camping there. Also well outside of your parameters. There is just a lot of light pollution anywhere within the “287” crescent.
posted by thetenthstory at 9:05 AM on January 3, 2008

Response by poster: I'd be willing to make a longer trip (especially when there's something happening, like a meteor shower) but I'd definitely prefer to keep within a shorter distance. I know that things get a lot better once you get away from the cities and the river, and I don't need a perfectly dark sky, just an improvement. I just don't know if there are any good places that are also open (most parks usually officially close at sunset; I was once told that state parks close at midnight but I don't know how true it is).
posted by Godbert at 9:09 AM on January 3, 2008

Try Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
posted by ubiquity at 9:11 AM on January 3, 2008

I'd suggest either High Point, or deep in the Pine Barrens. Too much light pollution anywhere else, I'd guess.
posted by Fferret at 10:22 AM on January 3, 2008

I once went with some people and did some hiking and stargazing at Harriman. We parked at the side of the road, hiked up some trail, and came out late at night. There was nothing to be closed - there were also shelters for trail hikers to sleep at.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:09 AM on January 3, 2008

I would say the Pine Barrens as well. It's probably the best star viewing in the state - I used to canoe and camp there a lot. It is about a 2-hour drive from Manhattan, at least, though.
posted by Miko at 11:30 AM on January 3, 2008

My link up above includes directions to Riker Hill Art Park in Livingston where a group of astronomers have outings. I am assuming that the sky is reasonably dark there or they would go somewhere else and Livingston is close to Hoboken.
posted by caddis at 12:04 PM on January 3, 2008

I second High Point and the Delaware Water Gap.
posted by infinityjinx at 1:47 PM on January 3, 2008

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