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AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup?

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#26 Falcon-

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 06:33 PM

Did they kick us out? Sorta yes but no.

Since we arrived the day befit the shutdown and where already in the campsite (Hodgdon Meadow) we where told this morning that the park was closed and that we had to leave.... BUT that we had 48hours to stay in the camp site "so we had time to make alternate arrangements". As a recall part of what the ranger said was "you are welcome to stay in the camp site for the next 2 nights but you must not recreate.

All facilities in the park are closed - even to the point of blocking off the road-side viewpoints! We where told that if we tried to go on any hikes or walks we risked a nasty gram note on our car or a citation for trespassing!

So... Ya, we are making the best of it as we can (good day so far) but glacier point is likely off the table. :(


Hah! Since I have no signal in the camp I am typing this from a road-side pullout.... While typing this a ranger pulled up to inform us 'park closed and no stopping along the roads is allowed'. Bah I say! :foreheadslap:

#27 Falcon-

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 12:02 AM

Well we abandoned Yosemite and made it to an RV park near Lone Pine, west of Death Valley (the Boulder Creek RV Resort).

Due to the US Gov shutdown the chances of being able to camp in Death Valley itself are, I am suspecting, just about zero. Likewise heading in to the park to image from the side of the road is also probably frowned upon....

So now I will have to try and find myself a good site to set up at. I am determined not to have the AP portion of this trip be a total loss. :mad:

Naturally of course seeing right now is "Poor" with tomorrow night set to be "Bad". :foreheadslap:

So, any suggestions for a safe spot to set up out this way? I see a clear-sky-chart for a Papoose Flats and Grandview Campground, unfortunately both are in National Forests so may be inaccessible right now. How about CARMA? Given that is host to an array of radio telescopes Is that a publicly accessible site?

#28 Tom and Beth

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 01:12 AM

My wife and I used to visit from Lee Vining fown to where you are frequently while we were in So Cal (20 years ago)

Check out Bodie. I don't think you can stay overnight at the Ghost town but believe there's a campground or pull out within half hour of there.

BTW, Bodie is a very dry, high altitude area. Bring LOTS OF WATER.

#29 srosenfraz

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 12:24 PM

Sean -

You probably should try looking at California State Parks. I imagine they should all be open. I know nothing about it, but there's a Providence Mountain State Recreation Vehicle Area that's in the middle of the Mojave desert. I can't find a CSC, but it looks to me like its in a black zone. If you're near Lone Pine right now, you're probably about 4 1/2 hours from it.

Also, Red Rock Canyon State Park has pretty good skies (blue zone). We used to go out there back in the 80s. We would camp in the middle of nowhere, and nobody ever bothered us. I think there's some designated campgrounds, but I'm not sure if they're state or fed.

Good luck with it.

#30 Falcon-

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 04:26 PM

So Death Valley was, as expected, not an option due to the shutdown, in addition windy weather created a (minor) dust storm both in the park and in Owen Valley so we gave up and pulled out.

Currently in Palm Desert looking at traveling to Clark Pass on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park (but not in it!) to try and image tonight. Seeing looks ok and it is clear tonight, is a light-grey zone as well so certainly better then setting up *in* Palm Desert!

I do not know the area at all - is this a safe spot to head to alone? (Even better, anyone in the area want to join me?)

#31 srosenfraz

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 05:40 PM

Can't speak for that area specifically (or recently), but we use to go out (again, back into the 80s) to a place in right about the same areat that we informally named "Tarantula Rocks" (you might imagine why). Other than tarantulas in October (what month is it now?), we never had any problems back then.

Sorry I can't be of more help...

#32 Falcon-

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 08:05 PM

I have seen the (zodiacal) light! :grin:

Made it out to Clark Pass last night, should have left earlier (2 hour drive, got there at about 8) but I found the spot and what with very little traffic and light-grey zone skies it did the trick. Was one of those nights of equipment problems and crashing software but even so it was quite worth it. Only thing I lacked was a visual setup to actually look at things with my *eyes*. ;)

I think I am too tried to safely make the 2-hour drive back in the morning if I was to attempt heading out there again tonight, so I am planning to head out there again tomorrow night (monday night) instead.

Here is the CI-700 and AT6RC just before dawn:

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#33 srosenfraz

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 11:16 PM

Congrats, Sean! OOC, what time did you see the zodiacal light?

Glad to hear you had a pretty good night last night - good luck tomorrow night!

#34 Falcon-

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 01:26 AM

Congrats, Sean! OOC, what time did you see the zodiacal light?

Glad to hear you had a pretty good night last night - good luck tomorrow night!


Hmm... it was visible in the sky for quite a long time leading up to dawn. certainly was the last half of the night, probably sometime in the 2am-4am period that I identified it for sure as distinct from the milky way.

#35 mmalik

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 03:28 AM

Made it out to Clark Pass last night


Picture of the Pass; hope it's the correct one? Looks pretty distant/desolate; astronomer's paradise.

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#36 srosenfraz

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:37 AM

Congrats, Sean! OOC, what time did you see the zodiacal light?

Glad to hear you had a pretty good night last night - good luck tomorrow night!


Hmm... it was visible in the sky for quite a long time leading up to dawn. certainly was the last half of the night, probably sometime in the 2am-4am period that I identified it for sure as distinct from the milky way.



Thanks, Sean. I was curious because I looked for it around 3:00am on Saturday morning and didn't see it. My sky was unusually bright (around mag 21.1) with not very good transparency, so I wasn't too surprised. I've seen it before from here on a spring evening, but haven't managed to catch a morning zodiacal light yet (mostly because I'm sleeping!).

#37 Falcon-

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:14 AM

Thanks, Sean. I was curious because I looked for it around 3:00am on Saturday morning and didn't see it. My sky was unusually bright (around mag 21.1) with not very good transparency, so I wasn't too surprised. I've seen it before from here on a spring evening, but haven't managed to catch a morning zodiacal light yet (mostly because I'm sleeping!).


For what little it is worth I paid a little bit of attention last night (when I finally remembered) and the zodical light was identifiable at about 4am-ish and quite obvious at near 5am or so.

#38 Falcon-

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:23 AM

Made it out to Clark Pass last night


Picture of the Pass; hope it's the correct one? Looks pretty distant/desolate; astronomer's paradise.


Correct area, yes. I think the spot the Clear Sky Chart is talking about is a sopt just a bit off the road - due to recent flash flood damage and road re-building that was not accessible so I found another spot further up the road. For scale my imaging location is about 1km west of the marker in mmalik's image.

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#39 Falcon-

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:03 PM

So... Palm Desert is said to have 360 clear days a year. Naturally it is currently cloudy and raining.

Looks like I will have no more clear weather before I have to leave so I decided there was something else I could do that would be astro-related today, and it only required about 5 hours of driving round-trip.

So I called up the info line to make sure they are open and into the car we piled for the drive up into the rain and (at higher altitudes) fog.

Yep... so glad I called in first to make sure they are open..... :tonofbricks:

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#40 mmalik

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 07:22 AM

Yep... so glad I called in first to make sure they are open..... :tonofbricks:


That's very unprofessional of 'em; sorry for what this trip has turned out for you. Have a safe journey home. Regards

#41 waassaabee

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:14 AM

That's just not right, but with what's going on at the National Parks and such, it's not that surprising.

I hope that someday you'll be able to look back on this trip and smile.






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