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Astrophotography and Sketching >> DSLR & Digital Camera Astro Imaging & Processing

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Falcon-
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AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup?
      #6016992 - 08/10/13 01:42 AM

Edit: Changed my mind a bit... (see the 4th post). If there is any interest perhaps we can have a dark-sky meetup out in the desert? Possible best dates for the moon are between Wednesday Oct 2nd and Monday Oct 7th. I am only going to be able to be there for 2 nights but what two nights those are are flexible at this point.

Now back to my previously recorded comments:


It is about 85% certain that I am going to be making a trip out to the Mesquite Springs campground in Death Valley in early october. This is a place with a light pollution map like THIS....

So.... ya, going to be bringing my AP gear.

My plan is to bring both mounts and both cameras so that I can image wide with camera lenses on one mount and narrow with a scope on the other mount. I have sent my M606's mirrors away to be re-coated and if a fight with customs/brokerage can be solved I HOPE to have that back and the scope in operation so I can take it with. Also since I now have the QHY5L-II and an OAG I will be able to auto-guide both mounts (50mm/SSAG for the wide views, OAG/QHY5L-II for the narrow).

So at a minimum I will be able to image in those BLACK black skies at:
- 912mm (M606)
- 300mm (Tair3)
- 50mm (EF 50 f/1.8 II)

The plan is to be there on the nights of the 3rd and the 4th (new moon).

So the question is of course... what to image? This will be much further south then I normally image and of course WAAAY darker skies. What would *you* image in my place?

Edited by Falcon- (08/10/13 02:10 AM)


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SKYGZR
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Reged: 08/14/09

Loc: Planet Earth, Milky Way Galaxy...
Re: AP trip planning.... Targets for Death Valley? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6017000 - 08/10/13 01:49 AM

Everything available as the night unfolds

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Nils_Lars
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Re: AP trip planning.... Targets for Death Valley? new [Re: SKYGZR]
      #6017002 - 08/10/13 01:52 AM



Some awesome wintertime targets up but I would think with the ultra dark skies the best would be really dusty targets.


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning.... Targets for Death Valley? new [Re: SKYGZR]
      #6017003 - 08/10/13 01:55 AM

Quote:

Everything available as the night unfolds




So... Many... Choices..... <head-asplode>


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning.... Targets for Death Valley? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6017010 - 08/10/13 02:02 AM

Actually you know - perhaps there is a better question to ask.

Any other forumites here interested in a trip to Death Valley for an AP session? Would be quite interesting to do a mini CN meet-up under black skies! There has to be a *few* of you who live within reasonable distance of Death Valley right?


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Dan Watt
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Re: AP trip planning.... Targets for Death Valley? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6017072 - 08/10/13 03:23 AM

I would love to join, I've got a weeks worth of vacation time this year and no plans. Always wanted to take my truck on some trails out there too. I usually do what you do, main imaging rig + a little gem and <50mm lens. I could also bring the 8" dob for visual. Keep me updated.

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dawziecat
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6017167 - 08/10/13 08:18 AM

Quote:

What would *you* image in my place?




The Helix, NGC 7293. I can't get it from my site in Nova Scotia.


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ToxMan
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6017190 - 08/10/13 08:50 AM

I'd consider it. My elk hunt isn't until the following week.

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gezak22
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6017818 - 08/10/13 03:30 PM

If us 'CCD-folks' are invited (I'll pretend to be normal, I promise ), I would consider an outing on the weekend - Oct. 5-6. I can't commit to anything at the moment as my mom will be visiting me during that time frame. I'll check back in this thread once i know more.

Edited by gezak22 (08/10/13 04:12 PM)


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srosenfraz
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: gezak22]
      #6018105 - 08/10/13 06:57 PM

Possible targets for very dark sky:

MW 1 (Integrated Flux nebula around Polaris)
MW 7 (IFN - Cow Nebula)
Sh2-155 (Cave nebula)
IC 1396
IC 2118 - Witch Head Nebula (late night/early morning)


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: gezak22]
      #6018158 - 08/10/13 07:46 PM

Quote:

If us 'CCD-folks' are invited (I'll pretend to be normal, I promise ), I would consider an outing on the weekend - Oct. 5-6. I can't commit to anything at the moment as my mom will be visiting me during that time frame. I'll check back in this thread once i know more.




Well of course the invite applies.

But... if you pretend to be normal you will not fit in!


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6105266 - 09/28/13 02:54 AM

Ok folks - I am now actually on the road heading (eventually) to Death Valley!

I will be at the Mesquite Springs Campground on the nights of October the 4th, 5th and 6th (friday, sat & sun nights). Anyone else interested in an impromptu imaging/observing session?

Please let me know! Being on the road my access to the 'net comes and goes but I will check back on this thread whenever I can right up until I reach the Mesquite Springs Campground itself.


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mmalik
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6105481 - 09/28/13 08:37 AM Attachment (4 downloads)

Was curious how long of a drive for you; turns out ~1,600 miles. Have a safe drive!

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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6105747 - 09/28/13 11:22 AM Attachment (4 downloads)

Bah - that is the direct route!

It will be about 3600km (2250miles) the way we are going. Stopped at Mount Rainier (camping), Mount Saint Hellens (mid-day visit), Salem Oregon (where I slept last night) and plan to stop at Lassen Volcanic National Monument (camping), Yosemite (camping, 3 nights), Sequoia National Park (camping), Dead Valley (camping, 3 nights), Josua Tree (camping), and Palm Desert.


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mmalik
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6106150 - 09/28/13 03:18 PM

Quote:

It will be about 3600km (2250miles) the way we are going. Stopped at Mount Rainier (camping), Mount Saint Hellens (mid-day visit), Salem Oregon (where I slept last night) and plan to stop at Lassen Volcanic National Monument (camping), Yosemite (camping, 3 nights), Sequoia National Park (camping), Dead Valley (camping, 3 nights), Josua Tree (camping), and Palm Desert.




That's one heck of a trip, well planned. May be a good template for others. Regards


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jsines
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6106843 - 09/29/13 01:29 AM

I highly recommend taking the drive up to Glacier Point in Yosemite with your gear, plan to get there at dusk and most nights there is a free astronomy lecture. There's often a few astrophotographers up there, and I'm sure there will be many during the new moon week. It's a great spot to get some widefield shots of the milky way, too.

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powerstroke01
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Reged: 06/19/07

Loc: Western Sierra Nevada Foothill...
Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: jsines]
      #6106905 - 09/29/13 03:19 AM

When will you be in yosemite? Yosemite is my backyard!

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Dan Watt
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: powerstroke01]
      #6107928 - 09/29/13 05:43 PM

I won't be making it, but I will actually be in Death Valley for the first week of November oddly enough.

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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: powerstroke01]
      #6107932 - 09/29/13 05:48 PM

Quote:

When will you be in yosemite? Yosemite is my backyard!




Possibly later tonight, but more likely tomorrow morning. Tomorrow being Monday (sept 30th) we will also be there Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Only potential hitch is that I am traveling with my parents and my mother is just getting over a respitory issue so if smoke is bad in the valley we will have to move on to some other location.


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: jsines]
      #6107936 - 09/29/13 05:49 PM

Quote:

I highly recommend taking the drive up to Glacier Point in Yosemite with your gear, plan to get there at dusk and most nights there is a free astronomy lecture. There's often a few astrophotographers up there, and I'm sure there will be many during the new moon week. It's a great spot to get some widefield shots of the milky way, too.




Thanks for the tip!


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Dan Watt]
      #6107944 - 09/29/13 05:52 PM

Quote:

I won't be making it, but I will actually be in Death Valley for the first week of November oddly enough.




Ahh, too bad for me. Hopefully your own trip goes well!


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mmalik
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6110502 - 10/01/13 02:00 AM

With the govt. shutdown, wondering how it will affect your trip through national parks?

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powerstroke01
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Reged: 06/19/07

Loc: Western Sierra Nevada Foothill...
Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6111104 - 10/01/13 12:16 PM

Quote:

Quote:

When will you be in yosemite? Yosemite is my backyard!




Possibly later tonight, but more likely tomorrow morning. Tomorrow being Monday (sept 30th) we will also be there Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Only potential hitch is that I am traveling with my parents and my mother is just getting over a respitory issue so if smoke is bad in the valley we will have to move on to some other location.


Im wondering, did they kick you guys out cuz of the shutdown?

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srosenfraz
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: powerstroke01]
      #6111133 - 10/01/13 12:30 PM

Quote:

Im wondering, did they kick you guys out cuz of the shutdown?





If they did, the good news is its only about a half hour to Jarrod's house!



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powerstroke01
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Reged: 06/19/07

Loc: Western Sierra Nevada Foothill...
Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: srosenfraz]
      #6111389 - 10/01/13 02:58 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Im wondering, did they kick you guys out cuz of the shutdown?





If they did, the good news is its only about a half hour to Jarrod's house!






haha So true. Though, these clouds are really annoying right now.

Edited by powerstroke01 (10/01/13 02:59 PM)


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: powerstroke01]
      #6111822 - 10/01/13 07:33 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!


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6114444 - 10/03/13 01:02 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.

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

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?


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Tom and Beth
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6114476 - 10/03/13 02:12 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.


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srosenfraz
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6115182 - 10/03/13 01:24 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.


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6119358 - 10/05/13 05:26 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?)


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srosenfraz
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6119457 - 10/05/13 06:40 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...


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: srosenfraz]
      #6121312 - 10/06/13 09:05 PM Attachment (6 downloads)

I have seen the (zodiacal) light!

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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srosenfraz
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6121566 - 10/07/13 12:16 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!


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: srosenfraz]
      #6121681 - 10/07/13 02:26 AM

Quote:

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.


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mmalik
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6121719 - 10/07/13 04:28 AM Attachment (5 downloads)

Quote:

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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srosenfraz
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6122363 - 10/07/13 12:37 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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!).


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: srosenfraz]
      #6126315 - 10/09/13 03:14 AM

Quote:

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.


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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6126321 - 10/09/13 03:23 AM Attachment (3 downloads)

Quote:

Quote:

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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Falcon-
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6128069 - 10/09/13 11:03 PM Attachment (3 downloads)

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.....


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mmalik
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6128512 - 10/10/13 08:22 AM

Quote:

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




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


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waassaabee
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Re: AP trip planning: Anyone for Death Valley meetup? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6128851 - 10/10/13 11:14 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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