Submit a new dark-sky site to the directory by clicking here.

Dark-Sky Sites:

Indiana

 

 

 

 

Sites:


Town:  Frankfort

Observing Site:  Camp George Cullom/Prairie Grass Observatory

Address:  6671 W County Rd 200 N

Zip Code:  46041

Contact person(s):

  • Camp Ranger/Caretaker Hoppy Bray 765-296-2753

  • John Mahony, jmmahony@hotmail.com

  • Russ Kaspar 765-659-4451

URL:  http://indianastars.us

Restrictions:  The camp is open all nights on weekends.  On weeknights, call the camp's caretaker, Hoppy Bray.  If you sound reasonable, he'll likely let you stay after dark.

Directions:   About 4 miles off I-65, between Frankfort and Lafayette, about 1/3 of the way from Indianapolis to Chicago.  See map for details.

Current weather:   Click for Frankfort, Indiana Forecast

 

How are the sky conditions?   Light domes from towns to the northwest (15 miles, pop 50,000) and southeast (7 miles, pop 25,000), but very dark otherwise.  Summer humidity gives stable air for planets, but can reduce contrast for deep-sky on bad nights.

 

Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:

     At the zenith:

6

     East:

5

     West:

5

     North:

6

     South:

6

Best horizon:    South is clear nearly to horizon.  A few farmers' lights in the distance.

Worst horizon: Trees to about 10 to 15 degrees on other horizons.  Light domes, about 20 to 30 degrees depending on humidity, in the north-west and south east.  There may also be activity at the camp's Nature Center, about 250 feet east of the observatory field, but there is no direct light from that and heavy shades on the windows (ask people at the Nature Center to close the shades if necessary).

Comments by contributor:    There are cement scope pads just west of the observatory buildings. The building will shield you from the Nature Center area.  There is a bright light on the far side of the Nature Center lighting up the parking lot, but the bulb is not directly visible, and can be turned off with permission of the camp's caretaker. All lights on the Nature Center are on a timer that shuts off about 10 or 11, depending on time of year. 

Camp Cullom is a non-profit camp with an emphasis on nature education.  Prairie Grass Observatory was built there in 2001 by volunteers with technical assistance from the Wabash Valley Astronomical Society.  See the observatory's web site for a schedule of public events.  We also have a Yahoogroup email list to announce unscheduled "gee it's clear let's go open up the observatory" nights.  On weekend nights, the observatory area can be used by individuals with their own scopes (or binoculars, or naked-eye).  On weeknights, call the caretaker first.  If you sound reasonable, he'll likely let you stay as long as you want. 

There is also a clearing in the wooded east half of the camp that may be preferred by serious deep-sky observers, as there is no direct light at all, but the horizons are not great, about 20 to 40 degrees. Modern restrooms are available at the Nature Center.  There's a slight chance they may be locked, so check early and ask the caretaker (at the house at the camp's entrance) to unlock them if needed.

There are outhouses in the wooded part of the camp, at the other observing area mentioned above.

 

Errors in this listing?  Click here to submit corrections.

Back to the top


Town:  Star City

Observing Site:  Public access picnic/rest area along US 35 near the Pulaski/Cass county
line

Address:  near the intersection of US35 and county road 400 South in Pulaski County

Zip Code: 

Contact person(s):  none

Restrictions:  No restrictions. The contributor did not see any signs stating that you could not be there after dark.

Directions:  On the east side of US35 just north of the Pulaski/Cass county line (a few hundred yards north of the county line) there is a public picnic area.  That's it!  See map for details.

Current weather:   Click for Star City, Indiana Forecast

How are the sky conditions?  Excellent by Indiana standards. The skies rate a 4 on the Bortle dark-sky scale.

 

Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:

     At the zenith:

6

     East:

5

     West:

5

     North:

5

     South:

4

Best horizon:  West and east. You are cutoff at 5 degrees or so.

Worst horizon:  South. There are sporadic trees in this direction. The altitude cutoff varies and can be anywhere from 5 degrees to 40. The sky glow from Logansport affects the southern horizon.

Comments by contributor:  There is a farm house just southeast of the site.  Of course, this farm had the obligatory 175 watt mercury vapor glare bomb which is quite a nuisance. Other than that there are no other lights within a 1/2 mile or so. The rest area itself has no lighting whatsoever. You should be able to position yourself and scope such that the barn beacon mentioned earlier will be blocked by a tree or two. There are quite a few trees in the rest area, but you should be able to move to a location where you can see almost any direction you want.  This site is next to US 35, so there is a fair amount of traffic a hundred yards or so to your west.

Editor's note:  I'm always a little nervous about advising someone to set up in a highway pull-off, since it is such a "public" location and does represent some possible vulnerabilities.  Therefore, I would recommend exercising some caution when using a site like this.

Errors in this listing?  Click here to submit corrections.

Back to the top


Town: Tippecanoe

Observing site: Potawatomi Wildlife Park

Address: 16998 State Road 331

Zip code: 46570

Contact person: Michael D. Stephan (Executive Director)

Phone: (574) 498-6550

URL: www.getintonature.com

Restrictions: Contact the Director by e-mail or phone to arrange a visit and to get a briefing of rules and procedures for use of property.

Directions: Potawatomi Wildlife Park, Indiana's first Dark-Sky Preserve, is located in rural Marshall County in north central Indiana. The property is located approximately 6 miles south of U.S. 30 on State Road 331. about 1 mile south of the intersection of State Road 331 and State Road 10. Travel back the 1/2 mile lane to the parking lot and observing area. 

Current weather:  Click for Tippecanoe, Indiana Forecast

 

How are the sky conditions?  Excellent by Indiana standards. Rated between 4-4.5 on the Bortle dark-sky scale. Premium viewing is 6-7+ at the zenith on good nights. The property is in a rural setting. The current observing area has trees surrounding the site to block the first 10% horizon. The trees also block out LP on the horizon making for a darker site.

The site is located half way between the cities of Plymouth (west) and Warsaw (East) and 1 hour's drive south of South Bend Indiana. Closer towns exist but are 600 or less in population and cause minimal light pollution.

Typical naked-eye magnitude limit on a clear, moonless night:

     At the zenith:

7

     East:

5.5

     West:

5.5

     North:

5

     South:

6


Best horizon: South with trees cutting off 10 degrees of the horizon and any existing sky glow.

Worst horizon: North/North west. Partial cutoff to the northwest, which protects the site from the glow of Plymouth on the horizon. Significant sky glow exists to the north from South Bend.

Comments from contributor: Potawatomi Wildlfie Park is the dark-sky observing site for two regional astronomical societies including the Warsaw Astronomical Society, which utilizes the property for their new moon group as well.

The observing field is surround by 80+ acres of newly established prairie and shallow wetlands providing a full unobscured view of the sky to the tree lined horizon. The site is considered the darkest publicly accessible and astronomer-friendly observing site in Indiana.

Potawatomi Wildlife Park is recognized as Indiana's first official dark-sky preserve by the Indiana Council on Outdoor Lighting Education, IDA, and the Indiana State Senate (Resolution 7, 3/31/2003). The park is a private 501(c)3 not-for-profit, managed as a wildlife property, and is open to the general public dawn to dusk year round. Camping is reserved for organized youth groups only so after dark.  Traffic is kept to a minimum to benefit those who are observing.

Errors in this listing?  Click here to submit corrections.

Back to the top