I Want to go on a Astronomy Vacation ! Any Tips?
Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:59 AM
Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:38 PM
Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:35 PM
Is your primary goal going to some ideal dark-sky observing sites?
...if the latter, a relatively inexpensive idea would be going to one of the major star parties in the western part of the United States, such as Texas SP, Okie-Tex, Nebraska, Oregon. Or, Stellafane much closer to where you live in the NE. I think there may be one somewhere in Utah/Great Basin as well. Star party weeks tend to be more geared toward camping out, although some of them do have cabins on-site or are within commuting distance of motels (though you typically have to park off-premises by sundown if you're going to be leaving before dawn). Although most people bring their own scopes and gear to star parties, in general if you're polite and considerate with folks, there's usually plenty of people willing to share views with you through their scopes at star parties. It's not very difficult at all to sense which folks are concentrating on specific observing projects and more or less want to be left alone to do their thing uninterrupted, and which folks are in a gregariously sharing mood.
There are also a handful of very small resorts in New Mexico/Arizona which cater to astro-tourists, others from that area will have more information about which ones are currently in business, and whether you have to bring your scope or whether they have some available for use or rent.
Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:34 PM
Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:24 PM
Hi. I live in Massachusetts, and y'all seem to know alot so here goes: I need to go on a astronomy vacation - by myself - that will be cheap but amazing. Do you have any suggestions? Even if I go soon? I was thinking Arizona or Florida, which ever has the most astronomical related places to see. Are there any people who work as guides for this sort of thing. I'm open to all suggestions and places where i can pack light yet do all night observing too. Thanks
This is where I would go...
Baja Dark Skies Inn
It's south of San Diego in Mexico about half a day's drive. Fly into San Diego, visit the Palomar observatory, maybe Mt Wilson in LA, maybe JPL...
Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:31 PM
Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:33 AM
Two friends and I went there in 2005 and had a very good time. We rented a 30" Tectron Dob.
There are quite a few astronomically related places to visit in the general area, including the Apache Point and NSO Sacramento Peak observatories, the White Sands Missile Range Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Space History, and the Very Large Array.
Oh yeah, there's also Roswell.
Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:43 PM
Hi. I live in Massachusetts, and y'all seem to know alot so here goes: I need to go on a astronomy vacation - by myself - that will be cheap but amazing ... I was thinking Arizona or Florida.
Restricting it to just those two states -- they're obviously very, very different from each other.
From the point of view of observing, Southern Florida is much farther south, allowing great views of parts of the sky that are never above the horizon in Massachusetts. On the other hand, Arizona obviously has better average viewing conditions.
What do you like to do during the day? Beaches -- or the Everglades -- are as different as you could possibly imagine from the Sonoran Desert. Of course beaches tend to attract people, who tend to bring lights. So finding good viewing spots on a beach isn't always so easy. In the desert, there's infinite space. Lots of space in the Everglades, too.
Southern Florida will be a lot warmer at night. The desert is plenty warm during the day when the Sun is out, but it chills out in a hurry at night. I wouldn't consider going to AZ at this time of year without long underwear, a down jacket, and a warm hat.
Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:53 PM
The Big Island
Yep go to Hawaii. I PROMISE you will never want to back home.
Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:15 PM
Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:31 PM
12,300 feet - Lake Titicaca, Bolivia - South America
Starts in July
Here are some examples:
The experience is unforgettable, specially if the half of Earth's atmosphere is below you.
Some guidance regarding altitude. You can adapt, though it takes about 4 days to get your red blood cell count high enough so that altitude does not affect you. So try and go a couple of days earlier to enjoy it.
I am not related to this company though I was born in Bolivia and been lucky to have made observations throughout many observatories in this World. From as far up as Canada, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Arizona, Texas, Argentina, Europe and of course Bolivia.
Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:37 AM
While in the Southwest US, why not visit one or more of the major observatories located there, including Kitt Peak National Observatory, Whipple Observatory, Lowell Observatory, the Very Large Array, Apache Point Observatory, Palomar Observatory and Big Bear Solar Observatory.
Bill in Flag
Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:51 AM
Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:19 AM
For sight seeing, NM has the large radio telescope array (seen in the movie "Contact"), we have White Sands (the only place in the world where you leave absolutely glowing!), We had a UFO about 50-60 years ago, but the gov't came took it--and Paul here tells me he wants it back.....Oh, and I'm not certain of the exit, but it's the exit off I-25 about 80 miles South of Albuquerque that goes to White Sands, Roswell (Roswell is another great fun place to visit with fellow star travelers-of another sort). At that exit is an old ghost town with one (at the time) business--The Owl Cafe--If you've never had a Green Chili Cheeseburger from them--you're missing a true life experience. Just drive East of there, you'll see plenty of spots to view (get there before dark though, because, literally, the only light you have is starlight.)
Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:43 PM
Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:45 PM
Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:21 AM
Also, do you like to camp or do you prefer to stay in a hotel/motel? Will you fly or drive? Do you have any special dietary or health care needs/requirements?
My club, OFLI, does a big astronomy vacation each year. Here are our last two trip reports. Either of these trips would have been fine solo as well, though both destinations are pretty far away for you, so I offer these as illustrations of the kinds of places we go and the kinds of things we do there.
Were I coming from Massachusetts, driving and planning on camping, and wanting an interesting place to hike, camp, sightsee and observe, I would probably choose either NW, Chaco Canyon area, or SE, Carlsbad Caverns area, New Mexico or NW Texas, Fort Davis area near the McDonald Observatory.
Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:00 PM