Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Listing of Best Observing Sites in United States by Lynds and Goad

  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,941
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:37 PM

Going through my professional papers I found this publication...Observatory-Site Reconnaissance by Roger Lynds and Jean Goad, 1984.

 

AND they had the TOP 12 listing of potential observatory sites in ORDER.

 

1. Wheeler Peak.  Great site, warranted further study. Unfortunately, now part of Great Basin National Park, but you can camp in the campground not sure if you can stay overnight further up.

 

2. White Mountain Peak, Inyo National Forest

 

3. Telescope Peak, Death Valley National Park

 

4. Kendrick Peak, Kaibab National Forest

 

5. Montgomery Peak, Inyo National Forest

 

6. Shingle Peak, Humboldt National Forest

 

7.South Shoshone Peak, Toiyabe National Forest

 

8. Bald Mountain, probably outside of Great Basin National Park....didn't check but Humbolt National Forest in 1984.

 

9. Lone Mountain, no location given.....

 

10. White Pine Peak, Humbolt National Forest??

 

11. Sentinel Peak, Death Valley National Park

 

12. Sierra Blanca Peak, Lincoln National Forest

 

There is a complete listing of other sites, but they are not discussed in the text.

 

I was surprised that . Junipero Serra Peak, Los Padres National Forest didn't make the list.

 

 

 

 


  • psandelle and harbinjer like this

#2 PirateMike

PirateMike

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,889
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: A Green Dot On A Blue Sea

Posted 05 December 2019 - 11:26 PM

You write "Observing Sites" in the title but in the text you write "Observatory Sites".

 

Why were the sites checked out? I assume that Roger Lynds and Jean Goad were scouting sites to determine the best possible place to build a professional observatory and not sites to be used for amateur/casual observing.

 

There is a laboratory on top of White Mountain Peak (#2)... https://www.wmrc.edu...bar/summit.html

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 06 December 2019 - 12:33 AM.

  • Jon Isaacs likes this

#3 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,941
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 05 December 2019 - 11:57 PM

Your correct the title thread is mine....in the body of my message is the title of the paper.

 

It was an appendix for the Mt. Graham EIS which is how I ended up with it.

 

They were the best remaining observatory sites in the continental US. So that had to have a long flat ridge suitable for construction of a observatory complex.

 

They did NOT consider road access, stating that road costs are a very minor part of construction of an observatory complex. Also land ownership was not consider, but all good mountain tops are in public ownership (except they excluded the Nuclear Test Center and one another location (area 51??). 

 

Anyway, for those folks looking for observing sites and adventures....there's your list.



#4 B 26354

B 26354

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,153
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Southern California semi-desert (NELM mag 5.3)

Posted 06 December 2019 - 12:11 AM

There is a laboratory on top of White Mountain Peak (#2)... Roger Lynds and Jean Goad..

Also... White Mountain Peak is at 14,252 feet of elevation, and the dirt road leading up to it has a locked gate, seven miles from the summit. I lived in the area for three years, and hiked & mountain-biked that road a number of times. Not a very hospitable (or safe) place to be, in inclement weather.  grin.gif


  • PirateMike likes this

#5 PirateMike

PirateMike

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,889
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: A Green Dot On A Blue Sea

Posted 06 December 2019 - 12:30 AM

Also... White Mountain Peak is at 14,252 feet of elevation, and the dirt road leading up to it has a locked gate, seven miles from the summit. I lived in the area for three years, and hiked & mountain-biked that road a number of times. Not a very hospitable (or safe) place to be, in inclement weather.  grin.gif

I hiked the PCT in 2011 so I do know a little bit about the California mountains, beautiful stuff, but mountain biking can be dangerous as it seems mountain lions like to play with mountain bikers.

 

Anyways, your post brought back a lot of good memories. Thanks for sharing. waytogo.gif

 

Me and forest fire smoke on top of Mt. Whitney, 15,505 feet.

 

P1020071 Small.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 06 December 2019 - 12:36 AM.

  • Jon Isaacs, stevew, George N and 4 others like this

#6 PirateMike

PirateMike

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,889
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: A Green Dot On A Blue Sea

Posted 06 December 2019 - 12:50 AM

Another photo...just for fun. 

 

P1020395sm.jpg

 

See the person on the switchback?

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 06 December 2019 - 12:52 AM.

  • psandelle and havasman like this

#7 PirateMike

PirateMike

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,889
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: A Green Dot On A Blue Sea

Posted 06 December 2019 - 12:52 AM

OK... last one.

 

Me (again) at the top.

 

P1020402sm.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

 



#8 petert913

petert913

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,749
  • Joined: 27 May 2013
  • Loc: Portland, OR

Posted 06 December 2019 - 12:56 AM

You can't beat Southeastern Oregon for dark sites.  Some of the darkest in the nation.

No major observatories there, but some great dark skies.


  • stevew, PirateMike, oldmanrick and 1 other like this

#9 Redbetter

Redbetter

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8,672
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Central Valley, CA

Posted 06 December 2019 - 01:57 AM

No reason to go to White Mountain itself because the Grandview campground is far more accessible at 8,600 feet along the way.  It gets a lot of amateur astronomers.

 

The trick is finding some place suitable for road access.  The peaks themselves generally lack that, and peaks above 10,000 feet are likely to be problematic for many folks with regard to acclimatization, oxygenation level (impacts DSO observing), or night time temps. 


  • Jon Isaacs, psandelle, PirateMike and 1 other like this

#10 james7ca

james7ca

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 7,884
  • Joined: 21 May 2011
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 06 December 2019 - 05:09 AM

A friend and I tried to 4-wheel up Telescope Peak back in the 1970s and after about one hour of travel on a mapped but unimproved road we were met by a shotgun-toting individual sitting on the porch of a small shack. He had two gates that were only about thirty yards apart where the road passed though a narrow valley. I think he probably had a small mining claim to some BLM property and had decided to close the road (legal or not, I don't know). Anyway we had to turn back since you can't argue with gun-carrying old prospector. That was just over 40 years ago when that area was still kind of the "wild" west.

 

I've also traveled up White Mountain to the end of the semi-improved road that leads to the bristlecone pine Patriarch Grove. It's a beautiful place but I agree that the Grandview campground is the place to go if you want to use a telescope. The road to the Patriarch Grove is probably passable by any vehicle but it's a long trip on a very dusty and washboard prone gravel/dirt road. It also ends in what is certainly the steepest section of road that I've ever driven (semi-paved because I don't think anything but a 4-wheel drive could have made that grade if it was just dirt or gravel).

 

...Me and forest fire smoke on top of Mt. Whitney, 15,505 feet...

I think you mean 14,505 feet.


  • psandelle and PirateMike like this

#11 jaraxx

jaraxx

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 492
  • Joined: 14 Sep 2017

Posted 06 December 2019 - 06:24 AM

Many of these peaks are now in Wilderness Areas and have no road access. They also score high as peaks with prominence meaning they are higher than most of what surrounds them. A lot of the wilderness areas have campgrounds on their edges and I think this is the utility of the sites - if you get close to these sites it will be dark.



#12 B 26354

B 26354

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,153
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Southern California semi-desert (NELM mag 5.3)

Posted 06 December 2019 - 10:22 AM

....your post brought back a lot of good memories. Thanks for sharing. waytogo.gif

 

Me and forest fire smoke on top of Mt. Whitney, 15,505 feet.

My C8 loved living in that area. 

 

But purely for the sake of accuracy... Whitney (highest peak in the continental US) is 14,505. Growing up -- and even when I lived in Lone Pine in the early '90s -- it was always listed as 14,495... but as of a USGS 2014 survey, it seems to have grown by ten feet! lol.gif


  • psandelle and clearwaterdave like this

#13 wrvond

wrvond

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,894
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2014
  • Loc: West Virginia

Posted 06 December 2019 - 10:40 AM

That list seems to be just a tad western United States centric to me.



#14 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,941
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 06 December 2019 - 12:09 PM

It was a list for PROFESSIONAL observatory locations. That is why it is western centric.

 

When was the last professional observatory built in the mid-west or east???  Over a hundred years?? I am guessing.


  • psandelle, Astro-Master, B 26354 and 1 other like this

#15 wrvond

wrvond

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,894
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2014
  • Loc: West Virginia

Posted 06 December 2019 - 01:49 PM

It was a list for PROFESSIONAL observatory locations. That is why it is western centric.

 

When was the last professional observatory built in the mid-west or east???  Over a hundred years?? I am guessing.

First it was "best observing sites in the US"

Then it was "best potential observatory sites in the US"

Now it's "best PROFESSIONAL observatory locations in the US"

What's next -

"Best PROFESSIONAL observatory locations in the US with public restrooms"?

 

 

Just pulling your chain. :D

But, a list of all the observatories in the US sorted by date of construction would be interesting to look at, I think. Got one of those?



#16 B 26354

B 26354

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,153
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Southern California semi-desert (NELM mag 5.3)

Posted 06 December 2019 - 05:09 PM

....a list of all the observatories in the US sorted by date of construction would be interesting to look at, I think. Got one of those?

I don't know of anything more recent... but this is pretty informative:

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/0442244517/

 

I've had a copy on my bookshelves since 1976, when it was first published.  grin.gif


  • wrvond likes this

#17 wrvond

wrvond

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,894
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2014
  • Loc: West Virginia

Posted 06 December 2019 - 06:16 PM

I don't know of anything more recent... but this is pretty informative:

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/0442244517/

 

I've had a copy on my bookshelves since 1976, when it was first published.  grin.gif

Thanks!     Placed on order. waytogo.gif



#18 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 17,416
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 06 December 2019 - 06:25 PM

That list seems to be just a tad western United States centric to me.

There are no good observing sites in the eastern half of the United States -- not by those standards. Even ignoring issues of light and air pollution -- both artificial and natural -- the average cloud cover in the eastern U.S. is too high to make it appealing for astronomy.


  • John O'Hara, clearwaterdave and mrsjeff like this

#19 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,941
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 06 December 2019 - 08:38 PM

 

But, a list of all the observatories in the US sorted by date of construction would be interesting to look at, I think. Got one of those?

Similar story.

 

When I was working for the Forest Service I called up the Washington Office and asked for a listing of all the observatories permitted on the National Forests.

 

The Special Use Coordinator told me it would take several days to get somebody to comb through the special use permits and pull the observatory permits.

 

I told her that there were enough observatories on the National Forests that there must be a special use code for observatories in the database.  They looked at database and sure enough there it was!!!

 

Even the Forest Service special use coordinator didn't realize how many observatories were permitted on the National Forests!!!

 

Interesting looking at them. Most were issued to the National Science Foundation.  But AAVSO, has more permits than I would have guessed. There were even a couple for individuals. 

 

Oh, they were ALL out west.

 

Didn't want the job while I was working but I always thought that there should be a job as a liason between the Forest Service and the astronomical community.  


Edited by vsteblina, 06 December 2019 - 08:43 PM.

  • psandelle, harbinjer and Redbetter like this

#20 Tom Polakis

Tom Polakis

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Joined: 20 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Tempe, Arizona

Posted 06 December 2019 - 10:15 PM

I wonder if 1984 might be a bit dated in terms of determining the best observatory sites.  In the past couple decades, a big factor in choosing an observatory site is steadiness of the sky, so seeing monitors are set up for many months or even years to characterize various sites before the go-ahead.  The site of the Discovery Channel Telescope near Flagstaff enjoys a median seeing of 0.9 arcseconds, even though its "mountaintop" is a mere 100 feet above the surrounding terrain.  Some of those peaks in the Sierra in the list have poor seeing, and generate too much of their own weather to be good observatory sites.

 

Tom


Edited by Tom Polakis, 07 December 2019 - 12:36 AM.

  • psandelle, mountain monk and Redbetter like this

#21 Astro-Master

Astro-Master

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 735
  • Joined: 09 May 2016
  • Loc: San Diego County,Ca.

Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:29 AM

That's a nice list of mountain top sites, and there are probably some dark areas around them that are accessible by car or truck.

 

The best mountain top site that is super dark and has a nice road to the top and is better than the ones on that list is the top of Haleakala on Maui.

 

Five years ago in January on a moonless night at midnight the Milky Way in the southern half of Gemini was so bright, M 35 was lost in the glare.  It was brighter than any star cloud in Sagittarius I had ever seen.  It would be nice to live on Maui and have Haleakala as your observing site!


  • psandelle likes this

#22 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 17,416
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 07 December 2019 - 06:20 AM

The best mountain top site that is super dark and has a nice road to the top and is better than the ones on that list is the top of Haleakala on Maui.

Haleakala probably averages better seeing than any mountaintop in the contiguous 48 states, but I doubt that it ranks better than any of the listed sites in terms of transparency and darkness. It is, after all, barely five miles from the biggest city on Maui. Not that Kahului is a giant metropolis, mind you.



#23 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,941
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:58 PM

I wonder if 1984 might be a bit dated in terms of determining the best observatory sites.  In the past couple decades, a big factor in choosing an observatory site is steadiness of the sky, so seeing monitors are set up for many months or even years to characterize various sites before the go-ahead.  The site of the Discovery Channel Telescope near Flagstaff enjoys a median seeing of 0.9 arcseconds, even though its "mountaintop" is a mere 100 feet above the surrounding terrain.  Some of those peaks in the Sierra in the list have poor seeing, and generate too much of their own weather to be good observatory sites.

 

Tom

I don't know....

 

I think this gives the entire article: http://adsabs.harvar...PASP...96..750L

 

 

This is where I found it. I believe it is in the appendix: https://books.google...epage&q&f=false



#24 PirateMike

PirateMike

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,889
  • Joined: 27 Sep 2013
  • Loc: A Green Dot On A Blue Sea

Posted 07 December 2019 - 01:03 PM

I think you mean 14,505 feet.

Correct. My bad.



#25 Astro-Master

Astro-Master

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 735
  • Joined: 09 May 2016
  • Loc: San Diego County,Ca.

Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:32 PM

Haleakala probably averages better seeing than any mountaintop in the contiguous 48 states, but I doubt that it ranks better than any of the listed sites in terms of transparency and darkness. It is, after all, barely five miles from the biggest city on Maui. Not that Kahului is a giant metropolis, mind you.

The night I was there a thick layer of clouds had covered the city below, and it was dark, really dark.  On the way down the mountain it was raining.

 

The thing that's great about Haleakala is its user friendly.  I doubt you could reach most of the sites on that list by car, and with the greater southern latitude many more great objects are visible.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics