Drive me to
The Milky Way:
To help answer a common question we receive from guests at our meetings, we are asking our membership to share with us their answer to:
How far do I have to travel to see the Milky Way?
to enlist the help of our membership to answer an often asked question.
People want to know how far to go from Philadelphia to avoid the glow of
city lights. Astronomers know a good dark sky will include a view of the
Milky Way. I have had many discussions with members about where they find
good dark skies and a view of the the rest of the stars of our home galaxy
not normally visible from Philadelphia.
A spot that I talked about to our members at a meeting last year is worth mentioning here. It is called East Point Light. I found on a drive to Wildwood NJ, from Philadelphia along the wooded trail. I have only been there in late fall, and winter since I think the bugs might drive anyone crazy in the summer. From the lighthouse beach you have a great dark view to the South West where you can see most of the Milky Way to just above the Southwestern horizon. Not much detail of dust lane, but central portion does visibly appear darker. From Philadelphia it is about 1 hour (no traffic off season.) Mike
New Jersey is almost directly North of Philadelphia as the crow flies.
Located about midway between Flemington and Lambertville is a very dark
stretch of road (Sergeantsville Road) with a farmhouse that is also a bed
and breakfast located just a few miles above the intersection of roads
called Sergeantsville. An unused tennis court, or some easily accessible
surrounding fields at night provide a nice platform to view the Milky Way
almost horizon to horizon. Southern Horizon is pretty dark due to distance
from Phila. Lambertville does not give off much of a light glow. I’ll
provide contact information below. This is not an advertisement or
endorsement for the b&b, since I have not stayed the night, but the owner
let’s me set up scopes for evening viewing and has said anyone from RAS
would be welcome, just call ahead to let them know. You can check it out
live in Maple Shade, NJ (just across the river from Northeast Philly). The
closest place for me to get a good view would be Coyle Field, about
38 miles away on Rt 72 (on the way to Long Beach Island). It takes about
50 minutes to get there. For example, last Tuesday night, the Milky Way
was billowing from Cepheus into the Summer Triangle, then down through
Scutum into Sagittarius.
Quickie (Washington’s Crossing State Park )- After conducting evening star
lectures at the New Jersey State Museum, we would travel with the audience
in tow to Washington’s Crossing State Park, Simpson Observatory (before it
was named the Simpson) to view the Milky Way. The AAAP maintains a roll
back rooftop observatory there on the Jersey side of the river. It is not
their preferred dark sky facility (I believe which is in Jenny Jump State
[Last Updated 9-01-09 w]
Contents 2005-2009 © Rittenhouse Astronomical Society
Streaming Audio track used by permission from composer: Jun Mizumachi. All Rights Reserved.
Contact the Webmaster
Return to Rittenhouse Astronomical Society- Home Page