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Socal dark sites: Riverside/San Bernardino Counties

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#1 astroflak88

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 05:28 PM

To all the socal residents, can any of you send a list of dark sites that you recommend for both counties?

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#2 river-z

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 06:16 PM

Amboy Crater
Joshua Tree National Park
Anza Borrega Park
Palomar (observatory campground)
The side of the road in the Mojave
Mount Pinos

These have varying degrees of darkness and convenience and should get you started. Clear Skies!

#3 coblr

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 06:19 PM

There are some places I like out by Desert Center and all throughout the desert once you pass Chiriaco Summit heading east.

 

That area has some Bortle 2 skies. You just need to exit the freeway and drive down the dirt roads. Drive a couple miles in to avoid any casual riff-raff. Most are maintained by the BLM so it's just free public land. Best in winter for obvious reasons and having something with average or better clearance is recommended. There is some sandy washes so take it slow and don't gun it.

 

During the summer, the high country in the Eastern Sierra is much better (cooler) and just as dark, sometimes even darker. Also, the hikes there can be more picturesque.

 

Hopefully this map can help you find what you need.

 

https://www.cleardar...=great red spot



#4 RLK1

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 07:34 PM

I'd check the clear sky chart and local weather forecasts of any site in SoCal before going there. This observing season has been plagued by poor seeing and windy conditions at many sites. We have the La Nina weather condition this year and it shifted the weather pattern from one with a normal rainy season to one with drought and wind.



#5 StarAlert

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 11:29 PM

The Riverside Astronomical Society maintains a dark site near Goat Mountain (GMARS) in Landers. Check out their website. 

 

I was out there Friday night. It was gorgeous until about 10pm. Then the wind started to pick up. 



#6 BinaryField

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 12:34 PM

Is anybody familiar with Cow Canyon Saddle at Mt. Baldy? I've seen some passing references it over the years but never any exact definition of where the site is or how to access it. I can see a turnout from Google street view, but I'm assuming that's not what people are referring to.

 

Thanks a bunch!



#7 astroflak88

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 12:56 PM

The Riverside Astronomical Society maintains a dark site near Goat Mountain (GMARS) in Landers. Check out their website.

I was out there Friday night. It was gorgeous until about 10pm. Then the wind started to pick up.

Do you have the join RAS to go out there ? Or did you go to another location near by?

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#8 astroflak88

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 12:59 PM

Is there data on these dark sites of wild animals that might be in the area?

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#9 StarAlert

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 02:07 PM

Do you have the join RAS to go out there ? Or did you go to another location near by?

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No, you don't. I drove out there three or four times to meet fellow astronomers before I joined. 



#10 coblr

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 09:10 PM

Re: wild animals, I'd be skeptical of running into any for the most part. You'd be incredibly statistically disadvantaged to run into anything, especially anything dangerous and especially anything in the desert or even the "forest" area anywhere near Los Angeles. I'd be more worried about spiders, scorpions or snakes than "animals" and even then..


Edited by coblr, 13 April 2021 - 09:11 PM.


#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 09:52 PM

Amboy Crater
Joshua Tree National Park
Anza Borrega Park
Palomar (observatory campground)
The side of the road in the Mojave
Mount Pinos

These have varying degrees of darkness and convenience and should get you started. Clear Skies!

 

For what's worth:

 

The Observatory campground is in San Diego County as is nearly all of the Anza Borrego state park. My. Pinos is in Ventura and Kern Counties.

 

Jon



#12 BRCoz

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Posted 16 April 2021 - 11:32 PM

Joshua Tree National Park or JT is the one I go to the most.  (Cottonwood campground)

 

I have been out to the RAS site before. 

  

 

Haven't been able to get out for about a year.  That is going to change now that I have retired.



#13 chaoscosmos

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 12:14 PM

The Riverside Astronomical Society maintains a dark site near Goat Mountain (GMARS) in Landers. Check out their website. 

 

I was out there Friday night. It was gorgeous until about 10pm. Then the wind started to pick up. 

What kind of access did you have? Is the house closed? Their schedule notes "until further notice… star parties are canceled"

Is the house open and was there a group of people out there? When I went a couple years ago it didn't seem so much a star party as it was individuals setting up their scopes and for the most part doing their own thing.




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