FRENCH CAMP, Miss. – Choctaw County is home to one of the darkest night skies in the Southeastern United States. That is why one the county’s hilltops at French Camp is home to the Rainwater Observatory, which houses the State’s most powerful telescopes. There is nothing special about the sky at French Camp, just that it is void of light pollution.
“What is sad is, people don’t realize that a night sky, a real night sky is slowing disappearing from the face of the earth. I have kids and adults that come here all the time and when they see that Milky Way, they ask, ‘what’s that cloud up there?’ They have never seen it, they’ve been inside a city all of their life,” said Edwin Faughn Director at the Rainwater Observatory.
Faughn says they still have some “sky glow” on the horizon at French Camp and it has increased in the past 20 years because of growth in Starkville and Ackerman.
Once you have gotten out of the city, another factor you need to be mindful of is the humidity. Moisture in the atmosphere can cause a distortion of starlight as it travels through the earth’s atmosphere. Also, if you plan on using a telescope, it is likely your lens will fog up.