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  1. #11
    Axel's Avatar
    Axel Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    > Eventually we would like to end up at some nice dark sky site(s).

    I just spent a couple weeks in Colorado and I have to say that
    elevation makes a huge difference in limiting magnitude. I was in
    Aspen and did some observing from Maroon Bells, which is a few miles
    away and is at around 10,000 feet. Far more stars were visible there
    than from my Mag 6 observing site near Eagle Lake TX, which is at
    perhaps 100 ft elevation. I was actually bewildered for a while and
    couldn't get oriented. Using Orion's Deep Map 600 with my 16x70 bino,
    I got lost plenty of times while trying to star hop. Part of the
    problem was that mountains were blocking the bottom 20° or so all
    around, which is a huge part of the sky and very disorienting to lose.
    And of course, Deep Map 600 isn't the ideal star hopping atlas.


  2. #12
    Wayne Watson's Avatar
    Wayne Watson Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    It turns out that I'm heading for the OSP (end of August) outside of Bend, the the middle of Montana
    (Bynum--70 mi SE of Glacier), Yellowstone, The Valley of the Moon, and down through Nevada back to
    the Sacramento area. It looks like after about Sept. I'll be getting up early in the morning to
    avoid the moon from around Sept. 1-5! After that the Moon will be tough to deal with. Maybe I can
    find a nice deep valley somewhere out there after the 5th.

    Tony Flanders wrote:

    Wayne T. Watson (121.015 Deg. W, 39.262 Deg. N, 2,701 feet, Nevada City, CA)
    -- GMT-8 hr std. time, RJ Rcvr 39° 8' 0" N, 121° 1' 0" W

    Gleaned from Bill Bryson's A Brief History of Nearly Everything:
    Yellowstone National Park is the largest active volcano in the world.
    Massive erruptions have occured on an average every 600,000 years. They
    dwarf the one at Mt. St. Helens. It's been 630,000 years since the last
    major erruption. Good luck.

    Web Page: <>
    Imaginarium Museum: <>

  3. #13
    Shawn Curry's Avatar
    Shawn Curry Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?


    San Louis Valley especially between Crestone and Poncha Pass (just SW of
    Salida) are very dark. Check out in Crestone.
    He's a friend/acquaintance of mine and a very talented photographer.

    I use to volunteer at a small private observatory on the North shore of
    Eleven Mile Reservoir at about 9000 ft. Tiara Observatory, owned by the
    late Terry Schmidt. It was very dark. Gegenschein visible kind of
    dark. The whole South Park area is very sparsely inhabited, but now
    gets lots of front range city (Denver to Pueblo) sky glow these days.

    Don't doubt it.

    Don't know, didn't see it in the paper. This is prime viewing country
    for those too :-)

  4. #14
    Chuck Simmons's Avatar
    Chuck Simmons Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    Shawn Curry wrote:

    Sorry but the San Louis Valley from Crestone looks like a bloody used
    car lot. It is full of mercury vapor lamps at houses and farms. I have
    been going to Crestone to work on a private observatory installation
    (Sangre Observatory) for more than two years and have a pretty good idea
    what the San Louis Valley looks like at night. I think I may have met
    Marston in the Desert Sage (you meet people there and at Curt's store).
    The owner of the telescope knows him pretty well. Marston has been there
    for a long time as far as I have found out. He has taken some great
    pictures of the area.

    My friend from Denver and I checked out Eleven Mile. Too crowded and
    it's harder to find free camping there. North of US24 is mostly free if
    you flat spot.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I know one of the main speakers.

    ... The times have been,
    That, when the brains were out,
    the man would die. ... Macbeth
    Chuck Simmons

  5. #15
    Phil Wheeler's Avatar
    Phil Wheeler Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    DaveB wrote:

    Some "Road Trip", that <g>

  6. #16
    Listener's Avatar
    Listener Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?


    Sounds great, but a little bit farther than my car can go!


    On Wed, 13 Aug 2003 22:30:11 +0800, "DaveB" <>

  7. #17
    Chuck Simmons's Avatar
    Chuck Simmons Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    Chuck Simmons wrote:

    I thought I would follow this up with a little about how the Crestone
    trip went. I rode to Crestone with my friend from TN. He picked me up in
    the Springs Saturday, 8/23, in the afternoon. We were much delayed by
    needed shopping and a flat tire and the friend from CA was delayed by
    weather in Denver. Thus we had to blow off that night. The San Louis
    Valley still looks like a used car lot to me but it cannot be seen from
    the dome. I mentioned I had met Marsten. We had an opportunity to invite
    him to dinner. He has lived in the area for many years and talked about
    the many changes particularly to Crestone and also the San Louis Valley.
    The rapid increase on the population in the area over the last 20 years
    has resulted in the increase in unshielded lighting in the Valley.

    The seeing at the observatory is not very good and rarely gets much
    below 2 arcseconds. This seems to be because of the high mountains.
    There are at least 3 14,000 foot mountains in easy hiking distance and
    the observatory is just below 8,000 feet.

    The weather was unfavorable mostly because of a Pacific storm. The
    normal summer weather pattern would have given us clear sky after
    midnight. Unfortunately, it rained every day and never cleared
    completely. We did get two nights with good Mars observing. We had
    expected our best views to be with a 7" Starfire but the 26.5"
    Ritchey-Cretien gave the best results in spite of the 50% obstruction.
    We plan to look into that in December. With the seeing such as it is,
    one must stand at the eyepiece for some time collecting impressions of
    the image at those times when the seeing steadies for an instant. We
    also used a Nikon digital camera and got a small number of good
    pictures. The 26.5" allowed pretty short exposures giving us a good
    chance against seeing.

    During the day, we worked on a tracking and pointing issue with the
    telescope. The telescope has never worked well when flipped west but
    worked perfectly on the east side of the mount. The problem was found
    and a temporary fix was instituted by driving steel wedges into the DEC
    attachment to the truss and later welding in some brackets. We did not
    have time to develop a west flip model of the telescope so we restored
    the east flip model until we return in December.

    The high point of the week in Crestone was, naturally, Mars. Since we
    were there in darktime, we had hopes of doing some deep space objects
    with one of the cooled CCD cameras but the weather was uncooperative.
    Still, it was a worthwhile trip that we all enjoyed and we look forward
    to perhaps a week in December.

    ... The times have been,
    That, when the brains were out,
    the man would die. ... Macbeth
    Chuck Simmons


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