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Mid-to Southern CA viewing sites

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#51 the1andonlyfinn

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 03:28 PM

Thanks so much for this info. Amboy is about 2.5 hours east from where I'm located, and I've often wondered about it, but haven't yet gone out there. Looking at the Google Map satellite views of the point where you leave Cadiz Rd and turn onto the dirt road (which ends up paralleling the RR), there appears to be another dirt road running NNW, which terminates ~3/5ths of a mile later, at what Google Maps is calling "Camp Ground for Marble Mountain T634".

 

Obviously, this is a completely primitive campsite. Any idea whether this is a privately-owned or otherwise somehow "restricted" campground? If not... it certainly seems perfect for an observing site.

This is BLM land, not private. Pretty much all but a couple of chunks of the mountain fall under it (some mining companies possess some parts of the hillsides on the back and eastern end, the Vaughn Mine is long-gone).

I think the T634 label is, amusingly, for a Boy Scout Troop- the first time I visited the area, big group camped out (to dig up fossils) and coincidentally parked right where X marked that spot. The dirt road leading to it visible on Google Earth is the exact one you take and if you scroll up, you'll see another branch off at  90 degree mark that curves up and into the mountain, right to the trilobites (NOT a good road for small vehicles- I managed to get my Corolla up the hillside to the amazement of some geologists and never plan to repeat that!)

 

It's precisely 2.5 hours drive-time from Rancho Cucamonga, so it has made for some great adventures for my son and I. I move back East in February so this Saturday marks our final excursion out there, sadly. It has been a wonderful spot.



#52 B 26354

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 05:06 PM

Perfect. Thanks!

 

I lived in Lone Pine CA for a few years, back in the early '90s... so I'm very familiar with BLM land. I assumed that that's what this is... but as you know, there can be small, privately-owned "pockets" that are sometimes considered to be very private.

 

I really appreciate your reply... and I share your sadness at having to leave. I love the desert, and I loved the smallness and remoteness of Lone Pine, but my (now ex-) wife couldn't handle the isolation, so we moved. And I grew up in the northeast. No thanks.



#53 Alex McConahay

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 07:23 PM

OK, so three weeks and 52 posts after a guy posts:

 

>>>>>> I'm planning a trip for the December new moon and am looking for a spot>>>>>

 

Here we are, December new moon and "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring."

 

Alex


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#54 the1andonlyfinn

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 07:56 PM

The rain clears the Mojave tonight, virtually no cloud cover forecasted Saturday. But it’s a heck of a drive.

#55 Starman1

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 03:25 PM

Weather sites predict the only clear night in SoCal during the new moon period will be Friday night.

But, there will be high winds in many places, so look carefully at wind predictions.

I don't mind 25-30°, but it's downright impossible to use a dob in those conditions when the wind gusts to 25mph.



#56 Alex McConahay

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 10:13 AM

I got in a good night.... Cold, Lots of  dew.

 

Alex


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#57 John Tucker

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 12:04 PM

OK, so three weeks and 52 posts after a guy posts:

 

>>>>>> I'm planning a trip for the December new moon and am looking for a spot>>>>>

 

Here we are, December new moon and "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring."

 

Alex

EXACTLY!  I lost the September new moon to a biz trip, and the October one to smoke.  So was determined this time. 

 

On Thurs night I went up to Brannan State Recreational area, which isn't especially dark but I just had to go and it was the only place I could find that had a prediction of clear skies. Practiced some technique (I'm a newbie) but it wasn't ideal for pics.  Took about 2 h of total exposure of the pinwheel galaxy and learned how to use plate solving a little better.

 

When I left the house on Thurs the forecast for Eastman Lake on Fri was quite good, and foolishly I just got in the car Friday AM and started driving down to Eastman. After about 2 hours of driving it occurred to me to recheck the forecast, and it was awful.  But good back where I had started my drive.  So I turned around and went to a day use parking lot near the Cache Creek Campground just to the southeast of Clearlake.  Nice and dark, but you couldn't get far off the road and cars came by at 5 min intervals.  I think there are some BLM campgrounds a bit north of that that may be better. 

 

Capture.JPG

 

Here's my pic of M77 and some little NGC-thingy galaxy.  I need to learn a lot more about processing. You can see a little bit of detail in M77 though it is only about 6' across.  This is with an ancient LX200 and a 0.6 focal reducer. 

capture2.JPG


Edited by John Tucker, 08 December 2018 - 12:18 PM.

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#58 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 12:30 PM

Weather sites predict the only clear night in SoCal during the new moon period will be Friday night.

But, there will be high winds in many places, so look carefully at wind predictions.

I don't mind 25-30°, but it's downright impossible to use a dob in those conditions when the wind gusts to 25mph.

 

I use my Dobs in 25 mph winds.. I usually avoid the  22 inch but wind is the reason my scopes are shroud-less. I've observed at 35F with 25 mph-30 mph showing on our weather station.

But I only lasted about 2 hours and I had a nice, warm house and bed waiting.  Driving to such torture.. out of the question. 

Last night it was clear with no wind but as Alex said, lots of dew. Lots. The secondary dewed  up 3 times in 4 hours, it's only sewed up once ever before last night.

Supposed to be OK tonight with so-so transparency.

 

http://www.cleardark...elSolCAkey.html
 

jon



#59 jrbarnett

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 07:12 PM

While this likely comes too late for your upcoming new moon trip, for others looking around SoCal, I want to suggest the primitive camping area near the Marble Mountains Fossil Bed. This is NOT the Trilobite Wilderness area, it’s lesser known but actually safer for smaller vehicles, with better dirt roads than other spots in the Mojave. It’s located about twenty minutes east of Amboy Crater, and is considerably darker than Amboy. Amboy has become a go-to location recently and older astronomers prefer it because it has bathrooms and technically permits overnight camping so long as you don’t use a stove or start a fire. 

But I’ve personally found Amboy noticeably brighter lately, pushing it down from Bortle 2 to perhaps Bortle 3 depending on nearby activity. The Marble Mountains Fossil Bed primitive camping area permits primitive campfires and stoves and has remained dark, firmly in Bortle 2. 

Its a fantastic spot with no stray lights and only the occasional geology student and fellow astronomer camping out there. There’s a paleontological bonus: if you take the additional dirt road that you eventually come across a sign for running west to east, it takes you right up to the Latham Shale, loaded with trilobites. My 3 1/2 year old son is fully capable of walking through and breaking the shale, it’s that easy to access if you want a half-a-billion-year-old souvenir!

 

Getting there: from I-40 exit Kelbaker and head south to Route 66, don’t worry about the road closure sign when turning left, road is closed AFTER Cadiz RD. Left turn (head east) on 66 until the actual road closure at Cadiz Rd. Turn right onto Cadiz Rd and take it all the way south until just before you would cross train tracks. At that final bend in the road to the right before you’d cross RR, look for an obvious dirt road running on your left straight towards the Marble Mountains. Drive along the dirt road until you reach the clearing of your choice, and settle in.

 

Where ever you chose to go this weekend in the Golden State, clear skies to you!

You're right.  It's actually a better fossil site than the Wilderness Area.  An abandoned quarry I think.

 

https://www.blm.gov/...collecting-area

 

- Jim




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