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What To See In California

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#1 christheman200

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:22 AM

I am heading off to Los Angeles this week to explore the area, as far north as San Francisco. On my current list of things to see are the Hale telescope, and my father and I are working hard to get tours of Berkeley, Caltech, JPL, and SpaceX. If you work at any of these locations, I, an impressionable young engineer, would greatly appreciate any attempts to get myself a tour.

I'd like to see a few observatories while I am in the area, and I am willing to travel a fair amount to see them. As well, a Californian star party would also be a nice addition to the trip.

Seeing as many of our members are from the area, my question to you is: What should I see? I am also interested in engineering and design, so if you know of any facilities I could tour, feel free to point them out.



#2 jrbarnett

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:43 AM

As an engineer, I'd suggest the following Silicon Valley area venues:

 

The Tech Museum in San Jose, http://www.thetech.org/

 

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, http://www.computerhistory.org/

 

Off the beaten path items include the garage in Palo Alto where HP was started:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Garage

 

The Yoda fountain in SF at Lucasarts Presidio HQ:

 

https://plus.google....out?gl=us&hl=en

 

The funky and endearing Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose:

 

http://www.egyptianmuseum.org/

 

Mount Hamilton James Lick Observatory, home of the 36" Great Lick refractor:

 

http://mthamilton.ucolick.org/

 

The garage where Apple started (Steve Job's parent's Los Altos home):

 

http://allaboutsteve...aces/garage.php

 

Stanford University campus (esp. the chapel, Hoover Tower, walk to the radio telescope, SLAC (linear accelerator), antiquities museum and Stanford-Lathrop mausoleum):

 

http://en.wikipedia....ford_University

 

And that's just off the top of my head.  LA and SF are very far apart, BTW.  California is a large state.  If you have just one week, you'll be tight to do what you've listed for SoCal and to see the glories of Silicon Valley, the region that single-handedly invented the modern world.  ( :lol:)

 

In L.A., check out the La Brea Tar Pits.

 

EDIT:  How could I forget?!?!  If you are in SF on a Wednesday or Friday, the Autodesk Gallery is open to the public:

 

http://www.autodesk....ntly-on-display

 

If you hold it, drive it, play it, live in it or enjoy watching it, chances are our software designed it.  :grin:

 

- Jim


Edited by jrbarnett, 04 August 2014 - 09:47 AM.


#3 youngamateur42

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:42 AM

Of course Griffith Observatory is just north of downtown, it's always fun to visit. But I highly recommend Mount Wilson, that was truly one of the highlights of the summer for me.  Take the tour, but take it on a Saturday, they bring you onto the floor of the 100 inch and you get to walk all around inside the dome.  It's a spectacular experience.  You can see my report on my blog. I'm looking to do some observing, come on down to La Verne!  :grin:  :lol:



#4 BarryBrown

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:57 AM

Yosemite National Park. Come for a day and you'll wish you had a whole week. 

 

Glacier Point at sunset and night is awe-inspiring.



#5 CharlesW

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 12:30 PM

While in LA I wouldn't pass up Mt Palomar. 



#6 Captndon

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 12:31 PM

Stars in California?  Who would have thought!  Try the sidewalk in Hollywood in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater...



#7 jrbarnett

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 12:42 PM

While in LA I wouldn't pass up Mt Palomar. 

Bear in mind that it's a 2.5 hour drive south of L.A.

 

San Francisco (and Silicon Valley) is almost a 6 hour drive north of L.A.

 

If he only has a week, he'd be hard pressed to visit both regions and not end up spending scores of hours driving.

 

- Jim



#8 WesC

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 12:51 PM

I'm glad someone beat me to it... definitely hit up Griffith Park Observatory and Mt. Wilson Observatory. Great history there!



#9 TCW

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 02:19 PM

As a previous poster said - Yosemite. Avoid the Valley in the summer and go to Glacier Point, the Big Trees and Tuolomne Meadows. Try the eastern Sierra along the 395 for some of the most spectacular vistas in the country.



#10 christheman200

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 04:06 PM

Wow, you guys have gave me a lot of suggestions! I'm going to spend a lot of time going through all of them.

Would a group of you like to get together for some observing? I don't know where we could get together, but it would be quite a memorable experience.



#11 christheman200

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 04:13 PM

We might be pressed for time, but it would be pretty cool to check out Autodesk.


Edited by christheman200, 07 August 2014 - 04:06 AM.


#12 rutherfordt

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 05:28 PM

Definitely see Griffith Observatory-- be sure you're there at sunset-- its amazing!

 

Eat at the In-N-Out Burger, too.

 

Tom



#13 seawolfe

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:16 AM

I don't think Yosemite is a good idea right now, too many fires.  They've closed the El Portal entrance and the Giant Sequoyas are threatened by the fires. :p



#14 ThreeD

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:57 AM

I don't think Yosemite is a good idea right now, too many fires.  They've closed the El Portal entrance and the Giant Sequoyas are threatened by the fires. :p

As of right now all roads are open.  The fire is 96% contained and they are starting to work on cleanup.  There is no reason to steer clear of Yosemite if they wish to see it.

 

Heck, my neighbor went camping in Yosemite *during* last year's "rim fire", which was much worse, and had a great time. The only issue being the need to take a longer route to get there.


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#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:34 AM

Wow, you guys have gave me a lot of suggestions! I'm going to spend a lot of time going through all of them.

Would a group of you like to get together for some observing? I don't know where we could get together, but it would be quite a memorable experience.

 

I definitely think that the scope on Mt Palomar is worth a visit. It was the premier scope for many years and made major contributions to our understanding of the universe. It is also the largest, or at least the largest successful traditional telescope, a monolithic mirror on an equatorial mount.  It is massive and impressive.. It is something of a drive.

 

Also.. something to see: The Ocean, the Beach. 

 

As far as a get together.. we're coming up on the full moon so it's not a great week for stargazing.  My wife and I have a place out in the desert mountains but it's about an hour east of San Diego.. you would be welcome if you wanted to meet.

 

Jon

 

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#16 seawolfe

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:54 AM

 

I don't think Yosemite is a good idea right now, too many fires.  They've closed the El Portal entrance and the Giant Sequoyas are threatened by the fires. :p

As of right now all roads are open.  The fire is 96% contained and they are starting to work on cleanup.  There is no reason to steer clear of Yosemite if they wish to see it.

 

Heck, my neighbor went camping in Yosemite *during* last year's "rim fire", which was much worse, and had a great time. The only issue being the need to take a longer route to get there.

 

 

This is good to know as I was going by the newspaper article in the Merced Sun-Star from Saturday / Sunday.



#17 Edd Weninger

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 03:22 PM

Jon,

 

It looks like you stay fit by climbing up and down that ladder.  They do make big scopes that can be used without a ladder, comfortably sitting, in fact.

 

Cheers,



#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:43 PM

Jon,

 

It looks like you stay fit by climbing up and down that ladder.  They do make big scopes that can be used without a ladder, comfortably sitting, in fact.

 

Cheers,

 

They do make them but I am not that interested in a F/3.3 Dob and at F/4, a 25 inch is definitely a ladder scope. I actually have another ladder that is much more comfortable and allows me to observe seated over much of the sky.. 

 

JOn

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#19 youngamateur42

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:44 PM

Jon, that's awesome. You should bring that scope down my way sometime, I'd love a peek through it :)



#20 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:04 PM

Jon, that's awesome. You should bring that scope down my way sometime, I'd love a peek through it :)

 

Justin:

 

The general concept is that you bring yourself to the scope...   You, Chris and anyone else interested are invited...  :ubetcha:

 

Jon



#21 youngamateur42

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:10 PM

Thanks for the offer, might need to get a car first, and a licence :lol:  



#22 christheman200

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:26 PM

Well, an hour east of San Diego... not sure that we have plans to go south from LA.

I'd prefer if we can all figure out somewhere east of LA to meet up for some planetary observing. The planets are much higher up down South. Perhaps at an observatory?



#23 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 09:34 AM

Well, an hour east of San Diego... not sure that we have plans to go south from LA.

I'd prefer if we can all figure out somewhere east of LA to meet up for some planetary observing. The planets are much higher up down South. Perhaps at an observatory?

If you don't go south from LA, you will miss the Palomar Observatory.. the rest of them are interesting but the Hale 200 inch is the one.

 

If you want to do the planetary thing, contact Daniel Mounsey, not sure if he is at Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope or just where he is but he's a member of Cloudy Nights and part of the circle of dedicated planetary observers in the LA area. 

 

Jon


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#24 youngamateur42

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 10:15 AM

This sparks a cool idea.  Why don't we just start an annual SoCal Star Party?



#25 Tony Flanders

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 11:54 AM

 

Well, an hour east of San Diego... not sure that we have plans to go south from LA.

I'd prefer if we can all figure out somewhere east of LA to meet up for some planetary observing. The planets are much higher up down South. Perhaps at an observatory?

If you don't go south from LA, you will miss the Palomar Observatory.. the rest of them are interesting but the Hale 200 inch is the one.

I'm not sure I agree. The Palomar scope is amazing; both monumental and a true work of art. But the 100-inch and 60-inch on Mt. Wilson are pretty amazing, too.








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