Author Topic: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...  (Read 867 times)

erbarmauhump

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 122
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« on: December 27, 2017, 10:55:30 PM »
...for a paid sabbatical. This year I switched to the senior leadership vacation plan in connection with a role change and promotion, so I can even break the 6-weeks up into two 3-week vacations. Last time around I was required to take all 6-weeks off at once.

This new flexibility has me thinking about how to best use the time, including managing one or two Dark Sky astronomy trips. I need to take care of my never ending list of long term chores at home, I would also like to do a mass sell-off of some scopes and gear I rarely use, and having some concentrated time off will allow me to package and ship en masse. I'll also need to do the requisite family vacation. But that still leaves splenty of time for some dark sky observing and the new flexibility of being allowed to split the time off effectively lets me plan not one but two dark sky trips for 2018.

So let's hear some ideas for observing sites and equally importantly seasons. I want US and Mexico destinations as I will want to bring larger aperture gear and therefore flying isn't in the cards. I don't mind multi-day driving (I'm good for up to 14 hours of driving in a day) so the range I'm willing to cover is substantial. I like spelunking, hiking, landscape photography, geology, paleontology and archeaology, so sites with those things nearby are a plus. I need something engaging to do in the daytime. I also prefer black or gray zone skies and elevations above at least 4000 feet.

One trip will probably be a bigger group trip with the club and the other more likely a solo or buddy trip with just one or two other travelers, so bear that in mind with your suggestions. Here's a possible format for responses:

Group Trip: Location; Season; Reason
Solo Trip: Location; Season; Reason

I have a few ideas of my own, but this is a vast country as is Mexico, so no one person can possibly know or discover all points of potential interest without help from others.

Thanks!

- Jim



Jacob Cota

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 01:06:56 AM »
Not Indiana aha. The darkest skies I've seen in the US were at Gila National Forest and the AZ side which I guess is Apache National Forest. I haven't been everywhere but dark sky maps seem to agree. I'd go to Belize instead of Mexico. Hearing that there is great observing from some of the islands. Mid-Apr for eta-Car, omega-Cen and Jewel Box.

ceusesugua

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2017, 11:14:10 AM »
Go to SOuthern Hemisphere for a week of it and rent a scope or stay in a scope place.

Consider the Texas Star Party.

Alex

Kyle Styles

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2018, 07:21:56 AM »
Wherever you go, you'll be in the middle of a great Mars apparition, so be sure to have a good planetary scope in a southerly location.

acbanlota

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 120
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 06:26:55 AM »
If you run out of ideas, and your willing to make some small compromises, you're always welcome to come hang in my backyard. There's a good chance of having at least one clear night in a two week stretch and a refrigerator within 10 paces of my scope. During the daytime, you can explore the urban ruins of Detroit (industrial archeology).

Ryan Fletcher

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 130
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2018, 08:05:04 AM »
Quote
By all reports, San Pedro Martir, the site of the Mexican National Observatory, has some of the best astronomy conditions in the world, rivaling even Chile.


I wonder about the logistics and legal issues of observing in Mexico.

Rancho Meling is near there. I am sure they could help out, at least with information.

Back in the 60's and early 70's, Baja was pretty much open, you could camp anywhere. I think that's changed and even if you could, I am not sure you would want to..

Jon

togoseera

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 05:58:28 PM »
I would definitely put one of the really big star parties on the agenda for one trip, like Texas or Okie-Tex, both a two day drive for you. I you had the hauling
capacity that would also be agreat way to sell your surplus gear, with a nice captive audience for a week or more.

anstirabnas

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 112
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 12:39:02 AM »
I would recommend heading to Northern AZ.

My wife and I went on a Mission trip to the Navajo Reservation. The stars were amazing on the reservation. A couple different location destinations i'd suggest are the Little Painted Desert and Canyon DeChellyhttps://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm
Canyon DeChelly also has cliff dwellings as well as wall paintings to explore

There's a lot of open land there. There's also the Little Painted Desert just outside Winslow https://www.tripadvi...ow_Arizona.html

For the Little Painted Desert I do not recall any parking lot lights and it looked like a perfect place to set up a telescope in the parking lot

cromsotejbi

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2018, 02:06:52 AM »
Quote
I would recommend heading to Northern AZ.

My wife and I went on a Mission trip to the Navajo Reservation. The stars were amazing on the reservation. A couple different location destinations i'd suggest are the Little Painted Desert and Canyon DeChellyhttps://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm
Canyon DeChelly also has cliff dwellings as well as wall paintings to explore

There's a lot of open land there. There's also the Little Painted Desert just outside Winslow https://www.tripadvi...ow_Arizona.html

For the Little Painted Desert I do not recall any parking lot lights and it looked like a perfect place to set up a telescope in the parking lot


There is not much camping on the Navajo reservation. My favorite place to camp is the Canyon View Campground at the Navajo National Monument. It's free, it's at about 7300 feet and there is very little light pollution.

I think though that Jim is looking for something more exotic...

Jon


Darren Hatch

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 121
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2018, 03:31:09 AM »
I don't remember if you have ever been to the Southern Hemisphere. If not, I second Alex's recommendation of going there, despite the problems of bringing equipment. Exploring a whole new third of the sky -- arguably the best third! -- is like being a kid in a candy shop. You would find far more to do in Chile with a 4-inch refractor than anywhere in the U.S. with a 20-inch scope.

erafquacor

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 08:15:01 AM »
Chile!!! http://www.spaceobs.com/en

Okie Tex!

Dave

Michael Timmons

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 03:38:09 PM »
Quote
I don't remember if you have ever been to the Southern Hemisphere. If not, I second Alex's recommendation of going there, despite the problems of bringing equipment. Exploring a whole new third of the sky -- arguably the best third! -- is like being a kid in a candy shop. You would find far more to do in Chile with a 4-inch refractor than anywhere in the U.S. with a 20-inch scope.


Quote

I had a sabbatical in 2003-went to New Zealand for the beautiful country and Southern Skies,
took 7x50s, naked eyes, and borrowed a scope while there.

My trip of a lifetime---lot of time, money, effort but well worth it.

edj


helppomgido

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 11:40:47 PM »
For a weekend refresher, check if Antero Hot Springs cabins are available(they book up almost a year out). They have two cabins (1800s, updated with plumbing/electric).....each with its own privatenatural hot springs. The "Cottonwood" cabin was the original post office in Ouray (moved to Antero). September is good weather there usually. It is outside of Buena Vista, Colorado. There is a winding back mountain road that goes to Ouray....beautiful scenery, and a few ghost towns, old mines, etc. They used to mine uranium and Thorium in this area. A few rivers, plenty of whitewater rafting.....and grey/black zones close by. The Colorado Trail is on the other side of the stream from the cabin. Buena Vista and Mt. Princeton are both very, very small towns. Biggest businesses in Buena Vista are bait shops...in Mt. Princeton, the only business is the public hot springs down the road...you could get a nice massage there. There are a few lights visible from the cabin, but just a 10-15 min drive away.....WOW. It is off the beaten path.

buddderpdrivla

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 130
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 01:06:28 AM »
He did say driving. Baja from central Cal is a good suggestion for 1-2 days of driving. There is also camping around the VizcaĆ­no Mountains area and it's quite dark there.

togoseera

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2018, 07:35:14 PM »
Quote
Quote

By all reports, San Pedro Martir, the site of the Mexican National Observatory, has some of the best astronomy conditions in the world, rivaling even Chile.


I wonder about the logistics and legal issues of observing in Mexico.

Rancho Meling is near there. I am sure they could help out, at least with information.

Back in the 60's and early 70's, Baja was pretty much open, you could camp anywhere. I think that's changed and even if you could, I am not sure you would want to..

Jon
Hi Jon.

They have camping in San Pedro Martir National Park. In fact they also have cabins for rent. Problem is, the designated camgrounds seem to have trees, likely for shade. I would definitely call ahead to explain who I am and what I'd like to do before committing to that trip, but I am really liking Tony's suggestion. The park has a no-headlights-after-dark and no-fires policy. They take their seeing seriously.

Two other things I find appealing about Baja are: (1) now the region has several up and coming wineries with award winning products (at least in international competition) and also some fine dining including a few Michelin star restaurants in the emerging wine region; and (2) just south of the park extends the long central Sierra de San Francisco range which features the most amazing rock art sites in the Americas. The ancestors of the Cochimi people painted enormous oversized murals in rock shelters and under overhangs starting about 7500 years ago. The best sites are accessible on foot, horse of burro, but some of the less impressive sites are located closer to trailheads with parking space.

The combination of world class wines, world class food, world class skies, world class hiking and world class cultural sites is very compelling. In some ways Baja has changed for the worse but in other ways it has improved marekedly. Definitely a possibility.

Regards,

Jim