Friday, August 26, 2011

Dark Skys in La Vérendrye


It is the case these days that excellent dark sky take some effort to get to.

La réserve faunique La Vérendrye (http://www.sepaq.com/rf/lvy/) is a nature reserve in the province of Quebec, about a 4 hour drive from Ottawa. 


The interesting attribute of this area is it's lack of light pollution. (http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/) You can see form the image below that this area is among the darkest in the close vicinity. The park is contained in the dark boot shaped area north of Ottawa and below the lit areas in the north west.




About 8km south of Le Domaine, adjacent to highway 117 is an abandoned airstrip which provides a excellent observing location. ( http://maps.google.com/maps?q=46.9833333333,-76.4833333333&om=1 )

I have to agree with the contributor of this short description, ( http://www.observingsites.com/ds_qu.htm )
that this is likely the best road-accessible site in the region.

Here are a few pictures, we left Ottawa Friday afternoon, arrived early enough to setup before sunset. We observed till well after midnight. We stayed in Le Domaine and spent the Saturday enjoyed the park and sights. Saturday night was just as impressive. We spent the entire time visual observing. I had never seen the Vail Nebula and I was very thrilled.


Setting up and settling in
Getting the battery in place
Celestron 11 SCT and 40mm eyepiece

Looking inwards into our Galaxy

We look forward to getting back to this fine site again soon.


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