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Capulin Volcano National Monument

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#1 Philler

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 06:50 PM

Has anyone observed at Capulin Volcano National Monument, which is an IDA dark sky site in NE New Mexico?  The Capulin Park Ranger emailed me and told me people are allowed to use their scopes on this pull-off area just outside the main entrance gate next to the SH 325. Since CVNM closes at about 4:30pm each day, this is the only area on park land you can set up your scope and observe.  Since this off-road observing area is a pull-off area off SH 325 Hwy, are the lights from passing vehicles a problem?


Edited by Philler, 22 May 2019 - 06:53 PM.


#2 cuzimthedad

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 07:28 PM

Doing a search using the Google satellite images I would say that yes, you would have problems with passing vehicles, especially if it's outside the cattle guard area. Another problem would be vehicles just driving in to see what there is to see since there is no apparent gate to close. There is an RV park nearby you may consider calling and seeing if they offer dark sky observing at their property.



#3 Knasal

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 07:59 PM

I visited Capulin Monument when I attended Okie Tex last year, but I did not observe there.

 

The short answer to your question is yes, but it is remote. We only saw a handful of cars in and out of the main entrance on our arrival.

 

Another thing to be thinking about is the wind. 

 

Kevin



#4 photomagica

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 07:59 PM

Hmmm - an official dark sky site that closes at 4:40 pm . . . !!



#5 Philler

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 07:59 PM

Doing a search using the Google satellite images I would say that yes, you would have problems with passing vehicles, especially if it's outside the cattle guard area. Another problem would be vehicles just driving in to see what there is to see since there is no apparent gate to close. There is an RV park nearby you may consider calling and seeing if they offer dark sky observing at their property.

I did use the Google Sat. images feature and the observing area is just south of the park fence.  The area looks like about the size of a baseball diamond, so there appears to be plenty of room going back a ways, so you don't have to be next to the highway.    The only cattle guard is at the entrance of the park.  In my experience it's uncommon for a passing car to stop by.  But it's unlikely they will dim their lights.  Hopefully this 325 state highway only gets occasional vehicles.

As far as Capulin RV park, it's like Bortle 4, green.  It's in the town of Capulin, and I assume like other camper/RV parks people leave all kind of lights on, vehicles coming and going, and probably a few bright annoying "dawn dusk" lights.  I may stay there at this RV park, but it doesn't look very good as a dark sky observing site, so I probably won't actually observe there when instead I can observe at a dark gray bortle 2 IDA site next to the CVNM entrance.


Edited by Philler, 22 May 2019 - 08:24 PM.


#6 Philler

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 08:11 PM

Kevin,  I am used to wind: it's just a fact of life in the west.  In spite of wind I can still enjoy great dark sky observing, you just have to make some adjustments like using you vehicle to help block it.  But once in while it can be too much. Everyone who attends star parties like TSP and Okie Tex expects to deal with wind sometimes.

 

photo;  this is a National Monument area similar to a NP. that happens to be a IDA gold tier area.  It's not just there for dark sky observers.  They close the Volcano road to keep people from going up the road to the top of the Volcano at all hours of the night.  The road to the top is only open during daytime hours and cars must pay a fee to use the volcano road.  You might check their website or email them.


Edited by Philler, 23 May 2019 - 02:39 PM.


#7 Stevegeo

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 08:51 PM

I was just there a couple weeks ago . After calling there first ( I was in Carlsbad NM) they said yes .......

We visited the cave at Carlsbad, saw the bats fly out .  )Spent the next day in Roswell doing the  ufo stuff then to the petroglyphs in Albuquerque, and the extinct volcanos there ..then traveled to a motel anticipating a great day and night at the volcano .

 When we arrived , we were told it was closed for the next Three days! And night viewing out of the question ..this is when we found out they lied...bummer...

Probably because the narrow road , twisting turns, etc.. bla bla bla

So we drove on to the panhandle of Oklahoma... Going east ....out of 10 days we had 4 good night's of viewing .

The best nite was at the so called grand canyon of Oklahoma .. a state park on the way back to OKC. 

Here I am with my daughter, Kallie , and my humungous Meade ....waiting for dark.  Notice my feet..lol IMG_20190501_105942.jpg



#8 Peter B

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 07:15 AM

I've never heard of the grand canyon of Oklahoma...where is it?

#9 Philler

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 02:31 PM

Well, maybe eventually I will get a reply from someone who is familiar with or has used the observing site I mentioned next to the entrance of Capulin Volcano NM.



#10 Philler

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 02:44 PM

Steve, Volcano website said the Capulin Volcano road was closed do to high winds.



#11 Stevegeo

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 02:52 PM

Yes .. sorry I forgot to mention ..my daughter talked to the ranger in charge .. high winds in spring and early summer .

If you Google grand canyon of Texas it may come up ... A bit fuzzy as the three state lines so close together ..



#12 edwincjones

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 08:23 AM

In the distant past Black Mesa SP was very dark,

and I assume (?) it still is.

 

edj



#13 Philler

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 02:30 PM

In the distant past Black Mesa SP was very dark,

and I assume (?) it still is.

 

edj

From my experience traveling there in the past couple of years, I would say yes and no.   It would be a true dark black Bortle 1 site if they didn't light up the main campground area with unshielded street lights.  The only times I have used Black Mesa SP, I have used what is called the West Canyon area. It is dark but you can still see a glow just to the east over this hill from the street lights from the campground. If they did not insist on the main campground being lit up with street lights it would be like an IDA dark sky area..  As it is, I would say BMSP is (maybe) Bortle 2 gray at best, and for the above reasons it would be my last choice in the Kenton area to use my scope.  There are other better dark sky sites in the Kenton area, you just have to do some scouting and exploring.


Edited by Philler, 27 May 2019 - 02:39 PM.



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