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Many of us dream of being engulfed by a night sky so beautiful, so splendid, so overwhelming, that a telescope is not even required to appreciate it. Our ancestors knew such a sky.
Located in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge is Shired Island. With the darkest accessible skies in the United States east of the Mississippi, one can truly appreciate the grandeur of the night sky. Below is a map of artificial sky brightness. Black and grey represent the darkest skies, while white and red represent the brightest skies. For reference, the white area near the bottom is Tampa and Jacksonville is the white area is in the upper right portion. The cache location is black cross in the center (look carefully).
(Excerpt from www.skynewsmagazine.com/pages/lightpollution.html)
"The power blackout that affected Ontario and many north-eastern U.S. states on August 14, 2003 allowed urbanites to see the beauty of the night sky for the first time in decades. Millions of people had the opportunity that night to see a sky completely devoid of light pollution and were shocked at what they could see.
Those with telescopes excitedly began observing objects that they never expected would be visible from suburbia and shared them with friends and neighbors.
Although the onset of moonrise soon after dark caused the Milky Way to be washed out, until then it could easily be seen as from downtown locations.
The contrasting photos below, taken from about 45 minutes north of Toronto, Ontario, show how clearly the Milky Way was visible the night of the blackout and how when power was restored the following day, the skies returned to their light-polluted state."
You'll be very fortunate to see a sight similar to the left hand picture with just your eyeballs; so bring your spouse and kids; bring binoculars and/or telescope if you've got them. Location is paved and accessible 24/7. There's no fee to get in.
To verify your find, post a picture of you and your GPSr in front of the pole with the two signs (No campfires/alcohol sign) *AT NIGHT*, which means between an hour after sunset through an hour before sunrise.
Difficulty based on remoteness of location, needing a camera and having to go at night. Coordinates are unusually accurate (6 feet) as I accidentally left my GPSr averaging for over a hour, over 4000 hits.
Click anywhere on the below galaxy for proof of how dark the area really is!
Click anywhere on the below image for more information:
10 year update(!) : A recent finder has noted that the location has had security lights installed. I'll be looking into new locations for this cache, but for now, the "Shell Mound", north of Cedar Key should be your best bet for viewing / imaging.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 3/16/2018 8:24:37 AM Pacific Daylight Time (3:24 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum