Stargazing

Below is the current clear sky forecast for the campground, please click on it to see our forecast viewing conditions;

http://www.cleardarksky.com/c/PstmsCbnsGAkey.html?1

We wanted to announce that scheduled Stargazing (Saturday Nights) will be temporarily discontinued as of January 11th, 2020. We are upgrading the facilities and equipment is in need of repairs. We hope to be able to start doing our weekly outreach again by April 2020 however we may only bring it back as a monthly outreach due to interest in the use of the field by individuals and clubs. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but as always you are welcome to bring your own equipment and use the astronomy field, or just come out and wander the grounds while enjoying the beautiful views of the dark skies, no need to invest in astronomy equipment, you can use a pair of binoculars if you have them. When the upgrades are finished we will begin offering monthly leases for a observatory and rv spot, they will be available for purchase in weekly, 1 month, 3 month and 6 month blocks and will be all inclusive. We hope to be able to begin offering this in March observatories will consist of 4 Sky Pod Sheds in the field with power. We will also be renting Dobsonian mounted Telescopes that you can use and view the planets and stars with (price to be determined) they will be set up on concrete pads and will have all the eyepieces you will need for viewing.

Our permanent combination star gazing and star party field opened 12/25/18, it is a unique addition for all astronomers and has some unique features. Tent sites on the South side so you can drive up, park, stay in view of your gear and leave it set up in view. We are also planning on installing 10 full hookup RV sites on the North Side. We have a small pavilion and fire pit installed on the North West corner.

We have brought in the first of 4 new SkyPod Observatories, these observatories will be for astronomers visiting the campground to rent so they will have a protected observing area for their own equipment. We will be installing a SkyPod Max to house our own equipment for Saturday stargazing nights and astrophotography. The max will be the center hub and 4 spokes will be installed going out from it all concrete, on the end of each spoke will be the pod, half way down each spoke will be 2 concrete pads for open setups. Once completed clubs will have a unique dark sky area to set up and view. In the near future we will be providing Dobsonian Telescope rentals so you may gaze at your convenience from these platforms.

New SkyShed Pod

The new ShyShed observatory @ our starfield here @ Okefenokee Pastimes

Our facilities are available for Star Parties and Outreach events (call the Office to schedule your event now). As many may know we are located in one of the darkest sky areas in the Southeast ( little unnatural light pollution). With the dark skies in this beautiful part of GA it makes it possible, for all to gaze towards the stars and dream like so many other countless generations before have done. We are a dark park so views of the stars are available from all of our park areas, and can be enjoyed from anywhere on the grounds just by looking up. We still offer Private stargazing sessions (weather permitting) the session is 1-1/2hr long and includes photos taken during the session emailed to you for a remembrance, the cost is $45 per couple and only 1 couple per session, these sessions need advance notice so please call the office when making your reservation for availability.

For groups or those with their own equipment please call or email the office for your quote and availability. We are working towards our own dark sky certification and will announce it when it happens. We will be accommodating those who are new to the hobby as well as amateur and professional star gazers, if you are interested in basic Astrophotography please bring your own equipment. 

On special event nights we will also be doing special packages of stay, sunset tour of the Okefenokee, Dinner, social and viewing nights to correspond with celestial events, as well as hosting any clubs who would like to use the facility. You will be able to stay in a cabin, your RV or Tent and use the facility, enjoy the peace and quiet here and our other facilities, view the stars at night, recreate during the day as well as visit the Natural wonder the Okefenokee NWR (swamp) and all the other areas in this beautiful place. 

Jupiter as seen from the stargazing area here @ Okefenokee Pastimes in South Georgia

The Moon on 5-25 during a astrophotography session from our dedicated stargazing area here @ Okefenokee Pastimes in Folkston, GA

Stargazing Setup for Lunar Eclipse 1-20-19 in the Starfield here @ Pastimes in Folkston, GA

Saturn as seen through our 10″ reflector

Milkyway as seen from our Main Entrance to Pastimes

Full moon from the pond peninsula here @ Pastimes

Milkyway from Starfield entrance @ Pastimes

As you can see Stargazing is great from everywhere here in the campground due to dark skies lighting, light pollution control and of course the naturally dark skies area of the Okefenokee area.

Andromeda 1-20-19 @ Pastimes in Folkston, GA

Bloodmoon and Eclipse 1-20-19 @ Pastimes Stargazing Night in South GA

Orion as seen from Pastimes across from The Oke in Folkston GA on Stargazing Night 1-20-19

Full Moon 1-20-19 as viewed during our weekly Stagazing event here @ Pastimes in Folkston, GA

A few recent photos from the night of 4/2/19, although seeing conditions were only average I was able to get on a few of Aprils great targets.

Ghost of Jupiter taken here @ Pastimes in Folkston, GA

The venerable Orion taken here @ Pastimes in Folkston, GA

Leo Triplet taken from Pastimes in Folkston, GA

The Eskimo taken here @ Okefenokee Pastimes in Folkston, GA

The always popular M51 taken @ Pastimes in Folkston, GA

This area of the southeastern United States is a black hole in a sea of light pollution. This is the view from the space shuttle as it orbits over the east coast of North America at night.

Look for the black area just above Jacksonville, FL. It is really dramatic when contrasted to the blackness found in a unpopulated Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

The USFWS talks about the Okefenokee having “Quality 1” type air which means it is very clean with minimal pollution. One thing we have always loved about living here at Okefenokee is the night sky that is so clear, dark and open that it closely rivals a sky you may find in the western deserts.

At Okefenokee Pastimes we are out in the countryside here on the edge of  Okefenokee. We try to limit our lights and resulting light pollution with automatic timers and on/off switches, dark sky certified lighting on the needed lights. Talk to us about our light situation when you set up your reservation or check in.

We will try to use this page to foster an interest in Astronomy and this favorable location for pursuit of some great stargazing.