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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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youngamateur42
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 11/21/12

Loc: La Verne, CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: Americal]
      #5951195 - 07/02/13 11:43 AM

Same as AMERICAL, wait, your in La Verne, me too!!!!

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krp
Vendor. DarkSiteFinder.com


Reged: 11/10/10

Loc: Central Illinois
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: youngamateur42]
      #5951384 - 07/02/13 01:46 PM

I'm interested in this thread since I will be in southern California at the end of the month. The moon will be in the way most of the time, but I'm hoping to get out for a couple hours of darkness on the 28th. I'll be in Anaheim, is Mount Palomar worth the trip? I'm mainly interested in taking wide angle pictures of the milky way, from a more southerly location. It looks like there are some pulloffs with great views south off of E Grade Rd.

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acochran
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/19/08

Loc: So. CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: krp]
      #5951689 - 07/02/13 04:32 PM

Mt. Palomar roughly 2 hour drive south of Anaheim. In a green zone Milky Way is visible, but with a moon photos will be a problem. Desert is darker, but could be a waste of time with the Moon in the sky. Mt Pinos 2 hrs North of Anaheim a popular astronomy spot, but you can't escape the Moon.
Andy


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AstroTatDad
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 04/22/13

Loc: Los Angeles - San Diego
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: acochran]
      #5951829 - 07/02/13 06:08 PM

The moon will rise at 11:40pm on the 28th. So you will have a little time, the milkyway is fair view from up there depending on the weather. You should take a tour to see the hale 200 inch telescope in the day.

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careysub
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/18/11

Loc: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: choran]
      #5951912 - 07/02/13 07:06 PM

Barstow, which is at 2200 ft vs 900 ft for Amboy Crater (and about 80 miles away, but similar desert environment) posts these average daily highs and lows:

Avg High Avg Low
Jan 61 37
Feb 65 40
Mar 72 46
Apr 80 51
May 90 60
Jun 99 68
Jul 105 74
Aug 103 73
Sep 96 66
Oct 83 55
Nov 70 43
Dec 60 36

If the dry adiabatic lapse rate is to be believed, the temperature at Amboy should be about 6 degrees hotter. (I think the true differential is less than this though, a few degrees at most.)

The temperatures are quite pleasant at night even in July.

The day heat is another matter entirely. It is a dry heat of course, and if you drink copious amounts of water and stay in the shade during the daytime temperatures above 100 (but below 110) are pretty tolerable - for me anyway.

Fans can help, and you might consider making a portable swamp cooler:
http://burningman.rengeekcentral.com/swampcooler.html

Still, even a desert rat dude would think twice about heading out in July or August, with those daily 100+ temperatures.


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hm insulators
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: careysub]
      #5953180 - 07/03/13 01:58 PM

Choran, depending on what part of the San Gabriel Valley you're in, one spot I've done some hiking in (at least during cooler months) is off the end of something called Shoemaker Canyon Road. You have to go up Highway 39 to what I believe is East Fork Road, go up that a ways, and then Shoemaker Canyon Road bears left from that for a couple of miles. Check local fire restrictions first. If nothing else, scope it out, so to speak, during the daytime, and then again at night. The location I'm thinking of is fairly low altitude and down in a big canyon a little bit, so you won't be able to see all the sky but on the other hand, should help with blocking the L.A. light dome, too.

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: choran]
      #5954049 - 07/03/13 11:38 PM

Chuck, Tom (Americal) is a great resource for SoCal observing sites. Tom has reconnoitered for and guided a bunch of us NorCal'ers on a couple of southerly dark sky odysseys; first to the Mojave National Preserve and then later to an ancient Paiute rock art site near Bishop called "Sky Rock". He's become a very good friend and fixture on our long dark sky trips. In fact, I'll be spending a week with Tom and some other clubmates this September in New Mexico. Absolutely the finest kind.

- Jim


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careysub
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/18/11

Loc: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: choran]
      #5954222 - 07/04/13 01:50 AM

There are two campgrounds in the Mojave National Preserve that are at significant elevations: the Hole-In-The-Wall Campground at 4400 feet, and Mid-Hills Campground at 5600 feet.

Both are in the satellite map "grey zone", but rather close to the edge of the Las Vegas blue zone light dome (of the two, Hole-In-The-Wall is a bit farther away).

The dry air cooling with altitude is nominally 5.5 F per 1000 ft, so they should be 14 F and 20 F cooler than Barstow respectively, making the daytime temperatures quite tolerable even at the height of summer.

(I'll have to test this out in August.)


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the1andonlyfinn
member


Reged: 07/17/11

Loc: Rancho Cucamonga, California
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: Americal]
      #5955087 - 07/04/13 06:11 PM

If you are looking for a short drive and decent skies, Lytle Creek off the I-15 (SIERRA AVE EXIT, TURN LEFT/NORTH) is very close to SGV and about an orange/yellow zone. There is a ranger station w/ benches, parking and bathrooms, and numerous pull-over spots along Lytle Creek Rd. Taking it to it's end brings you to the Firing Range, after sundown it's abandoned with little if any vehicle traffic. It is also a bit cooler than the dark sky locations in the Mojave, but the trade off is more light pollution. Still, for a close drive, it can't be beat.

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: careysub]
      #5955230 - 07/04/13 08:18 PM

Hole in the Wall and Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Camp share the same approximate elevation. The Group camp is across the canyon from the Visitor's Center and Hole in the Wall, and shielded from the noise and light of the often crowded and RV'ed Hole in the Wall site by scrub and some swales/berms (not to mention about 1/3 of a mile of distance). There are pictures of that campsite in this report:

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=2673

It is a great site. The square dance pad is nice for telescopes. But, it ain't 20F cooler than Barstow. It's hotter'n a *BLEEPITY, BLEEP, BLEEP*. Mid Hills is a little cooler (maybe 5F cooler than Black Canyon) but if it's hot in the lower Mojave, it's still plenty hot in the middle Mojave (under 5k feet). Windy too.

Amboy, CA, is at 2060 feet elevation. During our trip some of us hiked Amboy Crater. In those pictures it's about 102F. Black Canyon, at 4400 feet was in the mid to low 90s at the time, for comparison. It was much windier at 4400 feet than at 2000 feet, too.

If you do ever reserve the Black Canyon campsite, be sure to reserve BOTH HALVES. They reserve the ramada covered camping part and the equestrian corrals part separately. You could end up with a bunch of drunken, bonfire lovin', ho-downin' horsey types as neighbors if you don't take both sites.

The Vegas light dome is an ugly scar on an otherwise very nice sky. Also, if you happen to be there at the time of year that the Zodiacal Light is prominent, kiss at least one Zodiacal constellation off your observing list. It was *that* bright and annoying. Still, I can see us going back there at some point. It was fun, and we left dozens of things on our daytime "see & do" list undone.

Regards,

Jim


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5955236 - 07/04/13 08:27 PM

For aviation purposes, we use an adiabatic lapse rate of 3.5F/1000 feet.

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careysub
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/18/11

Loc: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: EddWen]
      #5955515 - 07/05/13 02:02 AM

Quote:

For aviation purposes, we use an adiabatic lapse rate of 3.5F/1000 feet.




That is the humid air lapse rate, the dry air (and it is most definitely dry in the Mojave in summer) the lapse rate is higher.

That being said, a 5.4 F change per 1000 feet is a bigger differential than I actually see out there. 3 F may be closer to what is actually seen. I suspect that surface heating effects account for the difference.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: careysub]
      #5965930 - 07/11/13 03:39 PM

In SoCal, low enough to suffice for observing sites, and all relatively dark:
--Amboy Crater
--Afton Campground
--Cottonwood Springs Campground--Joshua Tree
--Desert Center (go north on the 177)
--Chuchupate Ranger Station parking lot--Lockwood Valley (near Mt. Pinos)
--Little Blair Valley
--Tierra del Sol
--Carrizo Plain National Monument

Also good, but above 5000':
--Mt. Pinos
--Mt. Laguna
--Figueroa Peak

All the above have Clear Sky Charts with road maps and lots of links.


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the1andonlyfinn
member


Reged: 07/17/11

Loc: Rancho Cucamonga, California
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: Starman1]
      #5966021 - 07/11/13 04:32 PM

Another option if you wish to avoid a very long drive is Silverwood Lake off the 15fwy and the 138, right after you get through the Cajon Pass. It is about a 30 minute drive from the 210x15. Particularly the Cedar Springs Dam, which is accessible from a forestry road off the 173 off 138. The dam is used frequently by night fishermen and is only a short walk from a parking area. Minimal lights from an office on the dam, sky very clear, 4000ft elevation, a yellow light pollution zone with a very good view to the South. Nebulosity in Sagittarius obvious, various star clouds obvious, Omega Centauri hazy but obvious when up. Not anywhere near as dark as Pinos or Amboy or Desert Center, but if you want to avoid a 4-6 hour round trip, here you go.

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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: the1andonlyfinn]
      #5966236 - 07/11/13 07:21 PM

Quote:

--Little Blair Valley



Alas, nowhere near as dark as it used to be.

Quote:

--Tierra del Sol



Not particularly dark, lots of local light encroachment and way too much water vapor in the air most of the time. Local mountain areas (Laguna, etc) are much better.


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5966314 - 07/11/13 08:27 PM

I love heading up to Mt Pinos during the summer for the cooler temps. I missed last weekend but will definitely be heading up there this Sat.

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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: La Crescenta, CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5968003 - 07/12/13 07:19 PM

I think I really need to make the trip to Mt. Pinos soon.

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Zoomit
sage


Reged: 12/04/06

Loc: Tehachapi, CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: WesC]
      #5968016 - 07/12/13 07:36 PM

Here are a few pictures of the parking lot last Saturday afternoon.

Mt. Pinos

I suspect the Mt. Pinos Chula Vista Campground parking lot, on a summer new moon weekend, hosts the largest "ad hoc" star party anywhere. Anyone know of a larger, unsponsored, unplanned gathering?


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: Zoomit]
      #5968775 - 07/13/13 10:28 AM

I think we ought to do an ad hoc NorCal/SoCal CNer meet-up in early fall at lake San Antonio in inland Monterey County. We could grab the same overflow campground used for Calstar Star Party. It's close enough to either part of the state to be an easy part-day drive, dark enough to be worth it, and perfect for a one or two nighter.

- Jim


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Dark Sites in Southern California new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5968848 - 07/13/13 11:16 AM

Quote:

I think we ought to do an ad hoc NorCal/SoCal CNer meet-up in early fall at lake San Antonio in inland Monterey County. We could grab the same overflow campground used for Calstar Star Party. It's close enough to either part of the state to be an easy part-day drive, dark enough to be worth it, and perfect for a one or two nighter.

- Jim



And the skies are dark there, too.
Just don't overlap the end of October/early November Nightfall star party in Borrego Springs (average attendance 250-500).


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