Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | (show all)
Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: gmartin02]
      #5863637 - 05/16/13 01:08 AM

Quote:

I always wonder why no-one has yet attempted to start a formal astronomy community in California? Perhaps someday.



Probably because most of those with the money and interest know that it'll be even darker at remote sites in AZ and NM, or (apparently) in the Sierra Nevada, and there'll be less risk of losing the dark sky in those places. I'd think Onyx would be pretty good. I lost my dark sky in Temecula to a hotel and casino, built on land that I imagined (when we moved there in 1993) would be forever safe from development. You just never know what's going to come from left field to ruin things. Probably the least-threatened areas would be around the fringes of the Mojave National Preserve, but isn't that mostly BLM land? Greg, you might be interested to know that what is now Santa Clarita was once considered dark enough that LAAS had dark-sky star parties nearby (a place called Cassidy Ranch). I had a friend who moved to Lancaster in 1950, and I remember how Newhall and beyond along US Hwy 6 (now Hwy 14) was pitch black at night.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: Calypte]
      #5864334 - 05/16/13 11:59 AM

Greg

Precisely why now
Is because I wanted to get started before I am too old to build one. And too old to appreciate it once I do. I just turned 60 so I have several years before retiring, so if I build in Utah now I won't be using it more than 3 or 4 times a year. It's very dark out there though so I will probably go out there more often when I do retire, but unless we sell our house in LA, Joshua tree will still be our "main" retirement/vacation home.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5864341 - 05/16/13 12:00 PM

Biggest problem with the outlying areas in the Mohave is that nobody is there to watch your stuff.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5864356 - 05/16/13 12:08 PM

I thought about NM/AZ astro communities. But that's farther than Milford, Utah. I was also encouraged to consider Kanab, Utah, by some friends there. It's about as far as Milford though, and prices seem to be around $25k/acre. Milford is closer to $1k/acre for vacant land out of town. We have 48 acres there.

It is awesomely dark there though, so I'll use it when I can. They get very high windstorms though. I've been thinking if hanging an anvil on a chain for a windsock.

Tim


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5864575 - 05/16/13 01:30 PM

Quote:

Greg

Precisely why now
Is because I wanted to get started before I am too old to build one. And too old to appreciate it once I do. I just turned 60 so I have several years before retiring, so if I build in Utah now I won't be using it more than 3 or 4 times a year. It's very dark out there though so I will probably go out there more often when I do retire, but unless we sell our house in LA, Joshua tree will still be our "main" retirement/vacation home.



I'm 68 now. We did two things about this: move to Anza (not ultimate dark sky, but much better than Temecula) and build the observatory now. So I had BYO build it for me. I know there are guys who are really big on DIY, but I thought if I went that route, I'd be looking at a pile of lumber several years before I got started. I don't have a lot of years left. We went through Milford, UT, last year when returning from the annular eclipse. I didn't see much around there. Should be very dark. We have a small piece of property between Show Low & Concho AZ, and it's very, very dark there, and we thought about pulling up stakes and moving there. But we have family here in so. Calif., and we're natives. It's home.

Edited to add: Tim, 15 mos. ago I never expected we'd be here. When we listed our home in Temecula in Feb '12 I thought in the current market it'd never sell, certainly not without a lot of sprucing up. Our realtor convinced us that it didn't need much sprucing, so we listed the home, and it sold in 10 days. We had an offer before it was even on the MLS. Since we bought in 1993, even after the crash we had quite a bit of equity, and the home here in Anza was only $150K for a bigger home with 2.73 acres of property, mostly still in native vegetation. I don't know your situation WRT equity, but it may be easier to sell your current home than you think.

Edited by Calypte (05/16/13 01:46 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: Calypte]
      #5865215 - 05/16/13 05:10 PM

Yep, we're in good shape equity-wise. I usually don't believe zillow's estimates, but they were within 100K of the appraisal we got for our HELOC to buy the property in Josh. In the month since the appraisal, Zillow's estimate jumped another 100K. Our house is a LA City Monument and on the national register of historic places (built by Judge Hatch in 1887). We would like to hang onto it, maybe even let our kids have it after we're gone (if they can maintain it and want to), but it's nice to know that we've got enough equity in it to live large in a place like Joshua Tree or Milford, if we have to.

-Tim.
PS. I just got an email that escrow closed and we own the lot!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5867296 - 05/17/13 02:56 PM Attachment (39 downloads)

Hokay, so now it's ours (along with the responsibilities!).

Here's the aerial view of the lot, screen grabbed from Zillow.

Does anybody here use sketchup or some other freeware application for designing their observatories? I'd like to get started!

-Tim


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5872298 - 05/19/13 07:38 PM Attachment (30 downloads)

So, outlines of a couple of 10x12 rolloff roof footprints. Gotta be cheaper if you build two, right?

We spent the night out there last night. The neighbor, Rick, brought over his C 9.25 Edge HD on a CGEM mount, and we gee-whizzed some of the brighter DSOs (since the moon is at first quarter).

-Tim.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5872791 - 05/19/13 11:11 PM Attachment (29 downloads)

We've got a number of small Joshua Trees on our lot, but only a few that are very tall, and none that are really big. This is one of the bigger ones, on the coner.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5872803 - 05/19/13 11:16 PM Attachment (34 downloads)

This is as "permanent" a setup I've had so far! A table and 2 chairs, on the actual ground outside the van! On the table is a pair of outstanding Selsi 7x50 wide field binoculars (my current favorites) and my Panasonic Lumix GF3 camera (in the case). I didn't bring a scope with, since it was first quarter moon. But our neighbor, Rick, brought over his C 9.25 (noted above).

-Tim.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Skyshooter
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/07/08

Loc: S. Utah, U.S.A.
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5872996 - 05/20/13 02:02 AM

Hey Tim, really enjoyed your posts as they brought back a lot of memories. I live in Cedar City now but used to live in San Diego growing up. We would go to Joshua tree and I'd take my 10" Cave newtonian. It was in the mid 70's and we'd have the place all to ourselves. I'm glad to hear that JT is still a good bet for observing down there in CA. I'm happy to be here in Cedar though. It's a hop skip and a jump to some really dark skies for me. I've also got some property in Paragonah that I may use for an OB when I can hopefully retire someday! Best wishes for your new site... Enyoy while you can brother...

Ed


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5873364 - 05/20/13 10:01 AM

Quote:

on the actual ground




But it's your ground! How exciting for you to start realizing your dream!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: Skyshooter]
      #5873367 - 05/20/13 10:03 AM

Hi Ed:

I love Cedar City. We go through there on our way to our Milford property about 3 or 4 times a year. I was going to build an observatory outside Milford, but since I don't get there very often, I figured something within a couple hours would make more sense, at least until I'm fully retired. Milford skies are a lot darker than Joshua Tree's, but they're still pretty nice in Josh. One thing I noticed on this trip, though, is that the regional east-west airline routes do run across the sky to the south of the zenith, so astrophotography is probably going to include the not-so-infrequent "boeing meteor" trail. All the more reason for short subs, huh?

-Tim.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5873383 - 05/20/13 10:12 AM

Quote:

We've got a number of small Joshua Trees on our lot, but only a few that are very tall, and none that are really big. This is one of the bigger ones, on the coner.




I forgot to mention: This picture was one of the first I've ever taken with my Panasonic Lumix GF3, with an adapter to fit my old Konica lenses, and a 50mm f/1.7 Hexanon lens on it. That's not a big deal to a lot of people, perhaps, but it is to me - since the early 1970s, I had accumulated a few interesting lenses for my Konica film SLR (Autoreflex TC), and I was really bummed when the winding mechanism stripped it's teeth in the early 1990s, because I loved those lenses. Now, I not only can use the Konica lenses again, but my Exakta lenses as well, since I bought an adapter for those too.

Anyway, this image was taken with the Konica 50mm lens, wide open, to narrow the depth of field around the Joshua Tree and throw the rest of the scene out of focus.

My only complaint about this camera (well, there are others, but this is the biggest), is that it doesn't have an electronic viewfinder, just the LCD screen. And so I have to hold the camera far from my 60 year old eyes to focus. I didn't pay a lot for the camera, though, so I may add one that does have an EVF.

I do have a Canon T1i as well, but I'm not impressed with the Canon zoom lenses, and the body is too deep to take an adapter.

-Tim.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5873401 - 05/20/13 10:19 AM

Another cool thing about spending the night out there, including a few hours of observing:

We're on the NE corner of an intersection between two dirt roads, right? Well, we're near the north end of Larkspur (only two houses up the hill from us to the north, and one of them is currently vacant most of the year). While we were there, maybe 4 cars came and went. 1 of them was Rick's wife going out on an errand and then returning, and another was the neighbor to the east coming home. The other was the neighbor to the SE, and he drove with his parking lights on (I doubt he did it out of a courtesy, because he didn't know we were there and he's kind of an "unusual" sort, to be polite). Well, the edge of the dirt pad blocks headlights from a ways down the road, and especially while people are making the turn onto Wagon Wheel, even from the middle of the pad. So headlights were even less of an issue than I thought they'd be.

There are lights out in the valley, of course, but they're not obnoxious. At least I don't find them so. And when we do build a cabin, it'll be between the observatory(ies) and the valley, so will block the lights even more.

-Tim.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5895902 - 06/01/13 11:52 AM

Okay, folks!

It's time for me to get started building something. It's getting hot out there in the desert, so I'm considering either building something in sections in my yard at home so I can dismantle it and haul it out in my pickup. Or, buy a shed and modify it or have an observatory built for me out there so I can start using the site while I line up the other necessities: Power and water hookups, septic system, and a garage/workshop. Cabin is down the list a ways, I think.

I've been downloading pics of rolloffs (mostly) and a few domes (but I like the idea of seeing the whole sky from inside the observatory), but only just looking into costs.

I'd really like to be able to do this on the relative cheap, since there are other things that need my limited funds.

Thoughts on how much I should expect to pay to build a 10x12 myself (plans or modify a shed) versus other options?

-Tim


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5895939 - 06/01/13 12:10 PM

As I think I've mentioned, my roll-off was built by Backyard Observatories. I ordered the fold-down south wall, because I imagined that I'd like to see Canopus and Omega Centauri from inside the observatory. I used the fold-down wall very little during the winter (just step outside to see Canopus), but lately it's been useful for ventilation and air exchange, to speed the cool down early in the evening. I'd think this would be important in Joshua Tree.

Edited to add: Dome vs. roll-off is a tough call. A friend with a dome in Temecula is convinced he made the right choice. It's sheltered from wind & much less susceptible to dewing. Dewing may not be a problem in Joshua Tree, but here in Anza, when the "marine layer" gets deep, it can be a nuisance, especially when the other gear in the observatory dews up. If it doesn't actually turn to fog, such nights can be gorgeous. Wind hasn't been much of a problem. The walls are 6 ft, and that blocks the gusts. Very strong winds from the northeast bring terrible seeing.

Edited by Calypte (06/01/13 12:30 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Escher
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/30/07

Loc: Fenton, MI
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: Calypte]
      #5896195 - 06/01/13 02:56 PM

Tim,

This is your best and cheapest bet - even if you have to rent a truck and haul it..
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5841764/page...

He's al but giving it away at that price. If I was within 5-6 hours Id buy it myself.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: Escher]
      #5896333 - 06/01/13 04:03 PM

Saw the ad, but it's TOO SMALL. I do have scopes I could put in a pod, but I was really hoping to move this scope out there:





-Tim.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Cosmic Acres! new [Re: tim53]
      #5896360 - 06/01/13 04:17 PM

I'll think about it, though. Maybe build the ROR for the Cave later.

-Tim


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | (show all)


Extra information
2 registered and 6 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  Christopher Erickson 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 7136

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics