I'm planning a trip to Big Bend, TX this fall with a friend. Neither of us have ever been. Growing up in Colorado, I'm experienced in camping, hiking, and survival, but this is a new region for me and I wanted to seek the advice of others who have gone there specifically to do astronomy.
Goals for the trip:
- First and foremost, to see the Milky Way. Really that's the bucket list thing we both want to do.
- Observing. I'll be taking my 8" newtonian and a couple pairs of binoculars. We plan to spend the nights observing.
- Astrophotography. I'll also be taking my widefield AP rig and hope to get some amazing data out of it.
Primary astro gear we're taking (to help with questions below):
- 8" f/8 Newtonian on a GEM mount. It's not very portable. It will have to be setup carside or very near to it. It does not require any power, though.
- 60mm APO imaging rig powered by a deep cycle battery (probably a wheelchair battery). This setup is fairly portable.
- A Nikon D50 and a Nikon D610 for Milky Way shots
- Some binoculars
Questions I have:
- What is the best time of fall to travel to Big Bend? Right now we've penciled in a weekend in mid-November, but what's the weather and climate like there? I'd like to find a time when we're averaging 70-80F during the day and 50-60F at night for comfort reasons and to not have to pack a ton of clothing for cold weather. Is November a good time for that? Or is October better?
- Are there any specific locations in the park that are astronomy-friendly? i.e. Concrete pads with power and a restroom nearby? Or, are there any locations where car-camping is permitted and you can setup some telescopes and there's little LP? I want to avoid showing up blind and just trying to find a random spot to setup in.
- What lessons did you learn when you went? What did you wish you brought that you didn't, or what did you bring that wasn't used?
- Is there cellular service inside the park?
- What amenities are in the park? Restrooms, showers, food, etc.
- Any others thoughts or ideas are welcome.
Oh and we will be tent camping.
Edited by matt_astro_tx, 19 July 2021 - 10:00 AM.