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  1. #1
    Listener's Avatar
    Listener Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    My girlfriend and I want pack up the car, including the new Teleport,
    and head out west (from the east coast) for a few weeks in September
    to get away from it all.

    Eventually we would like to end up at some nice dark sky site(s).
    Arizona? New Mexico? Somewhere else? We would not be camping.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
    Jon Isaacs's Avatar
    Jon Isaacs Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    >Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Whats your budget, what do you like to see?

    Lots of nice viewing locations in the Southwest. Personally I like the Navajo
    National Monument, its about 7300 feet and a long way from nowhere. Light
    pollution amounts to some individual Navajo Hogans out on the plain about 15
    miles away, each one is probably about as bright as Sirius. A good place to
    camp, nearest hotel is in Kayenta, 29 miles away. Best camp spot is in the
    unmarked Overflow Campground. (Anyone interested, I will privately give

    Chinle and Canyon De Chelley are nice as well. Monument Valley is another
    favorite, depending where one stays. Drive out the road towards Mexican Hat
    and things get pretty lonely.

    In the 4 Corners area there are lots of places to go and see during the day,
    most likely you can find a decent dark spot at night.

    Just plan around the moon...


  3. #3
    Al's Avatar
    Al Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    > The problem with Rachael, NV--there are so many stars, you have trouble

    On the east coast we also have trouble finding constellations. Our problem
    has been a perpetual cloud cover only broken by occasional rain. I have not
    used a telescope in 5 weeks, and then my viewing session was cut short by
    cloud cover. This year has been unique, as I honestly can't remember a
    worse year in 2 decades. Message completed...I've vented...feels a little


    "etok" <> wrote in message

  4. #4
    Listener's Avatar
    Listener Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    No budget constraints.

    As I said, we wouldn't be camping this trip. I don't think we want to
    be in a very desolate, deserted location. I will check out the 4
    corners area.


    On 11 Aug 2003 23:30:43 GMT, (Jon Isaacs) wrote:

  5. #5
    Listener's Avatar
    Listener Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    On 11 Aug 2003 19:19:05 GMT, "etok" <> wrote:

    I will check them out. Thanks. As for too many stars, I did get the
    push-to with the Teleport, so that won't be a problem.

  6. #6
    Wayne Watson's Avatar
    Wayne Watson Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    It seems to me that S&T had an article on measuring dark skies, and part of the article mentioned
    some road running N-S from Idaho into Nevada that was supposedlyt the darkest hwy in the U.S.

    Listener 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

    "...those of us alive today have about 625 times more lead in our
    blood than people did a century ago." ... "many or our large
    corporations are still making it (CFCs) in their plants overseas."
    From Bill Bryson's A Brief History of Nearly Everything

    Web Page: <>
    Imaginarium Museum: <>

  7. #7
    Listener's Avatar
    Listener Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    On Tue, 12 Aug 2003 00:12:59 GMT, "Al" <>

    Agreed. This season has just been really, really awful. I'm hoping for
    some clear skies around the new moon. Fingers crossed.

  8. #8
    Shawn Curry's Avatar
    Shawn Curry Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    Listener wrote:
    Check out Salida, CO about 100 mile south west of Denver (2.5 hour
    drive). We're low at 7000 feet but we're surrounded by mountains
    with lots of very dark observing spots within 10 miles. We have a good
    approximation of civilization in town with lots of things to do when the
    sun's up, a few nice restaurants, shops, B&Bs etc. Observing doesn't
    get much better than in September, with conditions warmer than winter,
    calmer and dryer air than mid-summer.
    Good luck, see:


  9. #9
    Chuck Simmons's Avatar
    Chuck Simmons Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    Shawn Curry wrote:

    The last week in August I'm going to Crestone which is about an hour
    from Salida on the west side of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. The
    elevations available run from maybe 7,000 to 8,000 (I will be at about
    7,800 feet). The sky is quite dark and from a vantage point without view
    of the San Louis Valley, there is little distraction. Accommodation in
    Crestone may be available by September. There are some nice townhouses
    next to the Desert Sage Restaurant. There are public trails and
    campgrounds in the San Isabel National Forest where it would be possible
    to observe.

    Another possibility that I am familiar with is the Pike National Forest
    about 40 miles west of Colorado Springs. West of the Lost Creek
    Wilderness and north of US24, there are many Forest Service roads with
    occasional open meadows. You just have to drive around and look for
    spots. Elevation is 8,000 to 9,000 feet mostly. The roads are a little
    rough but a car can do most of them. I was at a nice one this weekend
    but there was the moon unfortunately. Accommodation would be Woodland
    Park (about 20 miles) or Colorado Springs. You could also try South Park
    for observing. It is on the west side of Wilkerson Pass along US24. It
    is mostly private property so you would have to be right on the edge in
    Pike National Forest (that's marked fairly well).

    If you consider any of these, get both the Pike National Forest map and
    the San Isabel National Forest map. These are very helpful in navigating
    the maze of roads.

    BTW, the darkest sky I remember ever seeing was from the campground at
    Monument Valley. As someone else put it, there were too many stars. The
    Salida area, Crestone area and the area west of Lost Creek will
    sometimes give that impression as well.

    Hey! Is the UFO thing at Hooper this week or last week? :-)

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

  10. #10
    Tony Flanders's Avatar
    Tony Flanders Guest

    Default Road trip to dark skies...?

    Wayne Watson <> wrote in message news:<>...

    No doubt some road running through the Great Basin does best at
    avoiding population centers, but to some extent, that is misleading.
    In fact, well over 50% of the area between the front ranges of the
    Rockies and the Pacific Ocean has skies that are, for all practical
    purposes, as dark as you can get. No point quibbling over that
    last 0.2 mag of sky brightness. All you have to do is make sure
    that you are very far (over 80 miles, say) from a city over one
    million, reasonably far (over 40 miles, say) from a city over
    100,000, and respectably far (over 20 miles, say) from a big town.
    That includes almost all of the American West. Probably even
    includes much of the Pacific Coast, the most densely populated
    part of the area. One of the things that distinguishes the
    West is highly concentrated population, as opposed to the more
    dispersed population of the East, South, and Midwest.

    More important issues for astronomy are latitude (for access to
    southern skies, especially in summer), percentage of cloud cover
    (low in most of the southern West), distance from major sources
    of smoke (natural and artificial), accessibility, and altitude.

    - Tony Flanders


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