Stargazing in Cherry Springs State Park

This was our second attempt at seeing the dark skies of Cherry Springs State Park. Located in Potter County, Pennsylvania, Cherry Springs offers some of the darkest skies in the eastern half of the United States. This is largely due to its distance from urban areas, and it's elevation (2300 ft). 

Once again though, we struck out due to bad weather. On our first night, we got rained out. The following two nights were cloudy, making it impossible to see the stars. We did have a brief break in cloud coverage one night, allowing us to see a wide array of stars, but it only lasted about 30 minutes. 

We still had a lot of fun exploring the area during the day though. We camped at Ole Bull State Park (named after a Norweigan violinist), which is a beautiful and quiet state park. Given the tension that 2020 has brought so far, it was restorative to spend a few days without cell phone service, surrounded by nothing but trees and a flowing creek nearby. 

Astrophotography takes a lot of careful planning. It's important to have the composition in mind, know what lens to use, and how long of an exposure to take. You can also plan around the lunar calendar too (try to get out during a new moon to avoid light interference from the moon). But no matter how prepared you are, there's always an element of luck involved too, and that's what makes it so rewarding when everything comes together (or so frustrating when it falls apart). 



Posted in: Travel

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