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Sites near silicon valley?

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#1 terranceh

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Posted 25 June 2024 - 12:38 AM

I am staying in silicon valley (California USA) for a long trip, with my cameras and EQ mount. and looking for sites suitable for astrophotography, especially DSO and Comets. It is now also milky way season.

 

I did apply permits and go to Mt Umunhum for several times. it is kinda ok, but 1. not high enough, the after hour astronomy parking lot is only half way to the summit. 2. it is still too close to San Jose, so light pollution is still a problem, 3. it is way too humid, always having fog and clouds in the dawn.

 

I investigated Mt Hamilton and Lick observatory, overnight parking is not allowed around the summit village and the observatory.

 

SJAA has a site in Houge park. It is a disaster, way too many tall tries, and super bright lights shining all night.

 

Is there any better places for me nearby? I am guessing the east should be dryer. But no clue where to go. 30-50miles/50-80km drive should be fine for me.


Edited by terranceh, 25 June 2024 - 12:52 AM.


#2 Jim Waters

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Posted 25 June 2024 - 12:54 AM

See the following link.

 

https://www.cleardar...tml?Mn=eyepiece


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#3 terranceh

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Posted 25 June 2024 - 01:16 AM

See the following link.

 

https://www.cleardar...tml?Mn=eyepiece

Thanks!

But I still have to know where can I park and stay all night, some places (like Midpeninsula Regional Open Space) will close at night and kick you out after sunset...



#4 maxsid

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Posted 25 June 2024 - 01:59 AM

I actually never been there overnight but I know that people do go to Pinnacles NP for astrophotography.

It is allowed to stay there in the parking lot (no tents).

At least it was allowed a couple of years ago.

 

You need to get in before sunset (before gates close) but you can leave anytime.

The park itself is beautiful. Could be hot in Summer though.


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#5 Forward Scatter

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Posted 25 June 2024 - 10:29 AM

The lower parking lot at Henry Coe State Park is ~Bortle 3-4 and is a couple of thousand feet above the valley muck. Another fun place is Joseph Grant County Park on HWY 130 on the way up Mt. Hamilton.

 

Observers.org has a list of Bay Area observing sites.

 

Montebello OSP allows permitted after hours astro.

 

Fremont Peak SP is fave spot as there are specific sites with concrete pads for astro.

 

And finally, if one is willing to travel about 90 minutes, there is a nice site near Pt. Reyes Station at the Olema Marsh parking area that is outstanding. And the rangers are pretty cool. Summers can be iffy with the fog.


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#6 Cali

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Posted 26 June 2024 - 04:44 AM

Not sure where you are staying as Silicon Valley covers a lot of ground. I used to live in Mountain View and was a member of The Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club, Livermore CA. (Be sure to cruise their entire site). 

 

Their next 2 Star Parties are:

 

1).Friday, 06/29/24, TVS club party at Tesla Vintners (in parking lot), 5143 Tesla Rd, Livermore, CA 94550; 8:00 pm - (near the intersection of Tesla and Mines) - Note, the 29th is a Saturday so contact the club to confirm. I'm sure its the Saturday date.

 

2). Saturday, 07/13/24, Outreach star party at Del Valle Arroyo Road Staging Area, 7.30 pm at Del Valle Regional Park just south of Livermore. 

 

Observing usually doesn't start until 9:30pm, its a popular club and they get a good turnout, usually 50+ observers with scopes.

 

Contact:

 

Ron Kane  at president@trivalleystargazers.org

and/or

Eric Dueltgen  coordinator@trivalleystargazers.org

 

I'm sure they'll be happy to help you out with any questions about the club, Star Parties or where you can pitch a tent.

 

The club also has an observatory up near Lick, like Way up, called H2O.  - Some of the darkest skies on The Peninsula. You have to be accompanied by a member to go there. The site is essentially in the wilderness, no electricity no water but they do/will have a 20" PlaneWave Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) Telescope, a Mathis MI-750 Fork mount, and a motorized 3.5 meter Observa-DOME. 

 

P.S. Lick Observatory itself may look close but Driving to Lick can be a long and somewhat nail biting experience. Also, when you're up there on Mt. Hamilton you'll still be under a light dome as The Valley is a river of light from San Francisco south to San Jose. Its an incredible sight at night but you won't see much looking Up. If you want dark skies you'll have to drive east of the city of Fremont toward Livermore or north of Marin into Napa/Sonoma. PM me if you have any further questions.

 

Good Luck.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 26 June 2024 - 06:06 AM.


#7 AstroVPK

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Posted 26 June 2024 - 01:39 PM

Your best bet might be the parking lot at West Pinnacles - lots of astrophotographers is that parking lot. Set up off the tarmac though - the last time I was observing from Pinnacles, the ranger told us that we can't set up on the tarmac but are welcome to set up just off it...

#8 bjkaras

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Posted 27 June 2024 - 12:23 AM

The lower parking lot at Henry Coe State Park is ~Bortle 3-4 and is a couple of thousand feet above the valley muck. Another fun place is Joseph Grant County Park on HWY 130 on the way up Mt. Hamilton.

 

Observers.org has a list of Bay Area observing sites.

 

Montebello OSP allows permitted after hours astro.

 

Fremont Peak SP is fave spot as there are specific sites with concrete pads for astro.

 

And finally, if one is willing to travel about 90 minutes, there is a nice site near Pt. Reyes Station at the Olema Marsh parking area that is outstanding. And the rangers are pretty cool. Summers can be iffy with the fog.

The club I belonged to when I still lived in Silicon Valley had a site further along on 130, about 20 miles on the other side from Lick Observatory. When I was there we had an observatory with a 17” newt. I heard that it burned to ashes a few years ago when they had all the grass fires in the area. Does anyone else have more information about that?



#9 Cali

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Posted 27 June 2024 - 01:16 AM

The club I belonged to when I still lived in Silicon Valley had a site further along on 130, about 20 miles on the other side from Lick Observatory. When I was there we had an observatory with a 17” newt. I heard that it burned to ashes a few years ago when they had all the grass fires in the area. Does anyone else have more information about that?

Go here and scroll down to

 

H2O Reconstruction

 

You can also go-to the SFCHRON and search on 

 

‘A miracle’: How 132-year-old Lick Observatory was saved from one of California’s largest wildfires

 

Those hills burned for days and fried the Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club site.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 27 June 2024 - 01:23 AM.


#10 Forward Scatter

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Posted 27 June 2024 - 11:57 AM

Go here and scroll down to

 

H2O Reconstruction

 

You can also go-to the SFCHRON and search on 

 

‘A miracle’: How 132-year-old Lick Observatory was saved from one of California’s largest wildfires

 

Those hills burned for days and fried the Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club site.

 

- Cal

The San Antonio Valley area is one of the most beautiful areas of Diablo Range chapparal in existence. 


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#11 stargazer1

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Posted 29 June 2024 - 02:14 AM

The San Jose Astronomical Association has frequent star parties, meetings, and other events. Check their site at https://www.sjaa.net/




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