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Beacon Citizen Network (BCN): a place for neighbors to get the word out, be heard and stay informed in all matters concerning Beacon, NY.
Can anyone recommend a good place to stargaze in or near Beacon?
My wife and I hiked up to the fire tower to see the Manhattan "Tower of Lights" in 2010. It was visible, but not a great sight. What was most interesting to us were all the tiny spiders with eyes reflecting back our headlights. (they looked like bright, microscopic LED lights!) The spiders didn't seem to occur until we were almost up to the level of the casino, and they were really prevalent along the road/trail from the casino to the firetower.
Has anyone tried stargazing at Fahnestock State Park down in Cold Spring? It's a little more isolated, so I would imagine the light pollution would not be as bad.
As far as Mt. Beacon; there are trails up to the top that are simply hiking trails, no climbing or scaling involved. Invest in a headlamp down at Mountain Tops so that you can see where you're going while keeping both hands free and you should be fine.
And I 2nd Ben's recommendation of the Google Skymaps app for Android. It's free, it's amazing, and I'm pretty sure they have it for iPhones as well (and yes, I also point it at the ground as well to see what's just below the horizon.) There's another good one for Android called "Star Chart"; it's not free (I think it's about $2) but it has a "red screen" option to help your eyes adjust to the dark quicker.
Hiking up a mountain, uh...not for me, nope, especially in the dark. :( I'll have to do my stargazing from a milder spot.
I know about the incline railway, been reading about it. I know there are people who don't think it's a good idea, but I'm not one of those. I love the idea, from many standpoints and am excited by the plans.
As for ATV's, that would piss me off too. But I also have a "thing" about them. A 19 year old relative of mine was killed on his last year. It hit a rock, lurched in the air and landed on him. They may be fun, but only for those who think they're immortal. Especially in the dark.
I guess you could mountain bike in the dark, if you are truly suicidal, but yeah, you have to hike. Maybe someday you can take the train:
Then there is the subject of the guys who ride ATVs up there, even in the dark. It's illegal, and it really pisses off the people that live close to the mountain, trying to get some sleep.
Oh and, uh, another dumb question: If you have to hike up to get to the great stargazing spot, do you then have to hike down in the dark?
How do you get to the top of Mt. Beacon? Do you have to climb/hike up?
Mt. Beacon at night is fantastic. Best to do so in the fall and winter when the humidity is lowest.
Also, word is you are supposed to be able to see the tops of a few NYC skyscrapers but my eyes are not that good.
The light noise from Newburgh and the prison are problematic, but in a space with few trees and no streetlights nearby you get a pretty decent sky on a clear night in Beacon. I'm not sure where I would recommend you could find that but will keep an eye on this thread for any good ideas.
I've been tempted to get to the top of Mt Beacon one night but have not done so yet. If anyone here has done it I'd be curious to know if it was worth the trek.
if you have an android phone, you have to download this:
It's really quite amazing. It uses gps/ compass/ accelerometer/ gravitometer so that you just point your phone somewhere, and it shows you exactly what you are looking at: constellations, stars, planets, even meteor shower source area if the time of year is right. It's fluid: you move the phone, and it effortlessly gives you an instantly updated viewport of the skymap in that direction. I like to point it into the ground and see what they are seeing in the sky in the Southern Hemisphere, but I'm weird.
Kids love it btw.
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