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Site Survey

We purchased a home in Lemont, PA which is on the slopes of Mt. Nittany. The house is quite nice, but the lot is rimmed by deep woods and does not afford grand open vistas of the sky. While the neighborhood we are in is quite dark without streetlights, there is a significant light dome from nearby State College. These issues meant choosing a site for the observatory on the property would be important if I wanted to maximize my use of the night sky!

I built a little tool that attached to my tripod for making an altitude survey of my horizons, and looked at two potential spots in my backyard. Here are the images of that tool:

tool thumb tool thumb tool thumb tool thumb tool thumb tool thumb

The horizon data was expressed as azimuth E of N and altitude above horizontal. Here is the file for that data (tab-delimited, UNIX linefeeds), and graphical representations of the results. In the plots, the red-dashed line represents a competing location, and the black line represents the final site for Starwood.

DatafileHorizon PlotPolar Projection Plot
dat_Site2Horizons.txt horizons thumb polar horizons thumb

The series of photos below is a panorama of the prospective site, taken at 30 degree intervals in azimuth, starting at North and working Eastward.

starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb starwood site thumb


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    Footer Map Page Maintained by: Shane L. Larson
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Last Updated: 25 September 2012