Star Party in Mt. Pinos with Dean Arvidson, Astronomy Professor at LACC

Free to the Public. Drivers of alternative fuel vehicles wanted to be the method of carpooling...
Star Party in Mt. Pinos with Dean Arvidson, Astronomy Professor at LACC
Be prepared for a picnic lunch at arrival followed by a moderate hike. Please note that First come first serve camping is an option.
Itinerary Consists of: - Take off in carpools (or your own transport where necessary) from GATEWAY parking lot at 11AM to arrive in Mt. Pinos in perfect time for a picnic lunch, approx 1PM (1.5 hr drive plus some organization time once arrived). * Mt. Pinos by the way, is rated the best dark-viewing location in the nation.
Then we: - Do a moderate hike up to the peak of Mt. Pinos (the hike is approximately 1.5 miles with an elevation gain of a few hundred feet above the parking lot) lead by Dean Arvidson. - Relax and take in the beauty. - A potluck dinner in the early evening so be sure to bring a dish to contribute to potluck this feast. - Star Party time! with approx 20 telescopes, hoping for at least 3 big ones. This segment of the evening will begin once the sun sets (sunset time is approximately 7:45 PM on Saturday August 7th.
Ahhh, the stars and sky in their closest to full beauty.
Driving Directions from ‘The Gateway’ to Mt. Pinos: * Map at showing the drive from the turnoff at Frazier Mountain Road all the way up to the parking lot at Mt. Pinos 1. Take Gateway Blvd to the east about 0.3 miles and turn right (east) on Pico Blvd 2. Head east on Pico Blvd for about 0.4 miles (pass under the 405 Freeway) and turn left on Cotner Ave. 3. Go north for 0.1 miles on Cotner Ave, and take the onramp for the 405 Freeway north. 4. Take the 405 Freeway north for about 19.1 miles and merge with the 5 Freeway north. 5. Continue north on the 5 Freeway for about 46.1 miles. 6. Take the Frazier Mountain Park Road exit going west toward Frazier Mountain. Watch carefully for the signs indicating the Frazier Mountain Road exit. (The exit is about 35 miles past Magic Mountain, and about 3 miles past a small town called Gorman.) 7. Continue on road for about 21 miles following the signs to Mt. Pinos. (After about 7 miles along Frazier Mountain road, the name of the road will change to Cuddy Valley road. About 4 miles past this point, the road will reach a fork. To the right is Mil Portrero Hwy, and to the left is Mt. Pinos road. Stay to the left and continue on Mt. Pinos road for another 10 miles and you’ll reach the Mt. Pinos parking lot! 8. The star party will take place in the large open parking lot at the end of the road. Park along the left hand side as you drive in!
Parking and Headlights: If you drive up to Mt. Pinos on your own, please try to arrive at the star party site before the sun sets so that we don’t have our headlights on as we drive in. Headlights and other bright lights ruin the night vision of the observers at the site. For this reason it is strongly recommended to use your parking lights and not to turn your headlights on when leaving the site until you are out of the parking area. There may be limited parking at the site, so that is another reason to arrive early and ensure a space.
What to Bring: Bring the warmest clothes you have. Typical summer night temperatures are between 45 – 50 ºF up at Mt. Pinos, but the temperature can drop into the 30’s on occasion. Dressing with many layers is the best way to keep warm. A wool cap, scarf and gloves are also very important. In addition to food and water, you may want to bring some hot beverages. Also consider bringing a chair to sit in. If you bring a flashlight, we’ll provide some red cellophane to place over the end so that the light doesn’t bother anyone’s eyes. Definitely bring a telescope or pair of binoculars if you have one!
Star Party Etiquette: It is important to note that many other amateur astronomers attend these star parties at Mt. Pinos, so we will be joining in with them. Generally they are a very friendly group of people, and most all of them will be happy to show us what objects they are looking at through their telescopes, especially if we politely ask them. The one thing that does bother the participants at the star party is bright lights! If you bring a flashlight, please put a piece of red cellophane over the front (we will provide the cellophane), and when driving in or out of the site, please use your parking lights only, and not your headlights. Finally, although this is called a ‘star party’, alcohol is not the focus of the event. ;-))
Camping: There is a walk-in camping area a few hundred yards off of the far end of the parking lot. There is no charge to camp, there are no reservations, and the camping area rarely fills up.
Other Details: There are some outhouses at the site, but no further amenities. There is no food available except what you bring. If there is a storm or the skies are quite cloudy in the LA area, please check the weather for the mountains on the night of the star party. You can find the weather for Mt. Pinos at http://cleardarksky.c... Since Mt. Pinos is located in the Los Padres National Forest every car parked there is supposed to have a ‘Forest Adventure Pass’. The passes cost $5 and can be purchased at a Sports Chalet, Big 5 Sporting Goods, or the Lockwood Valley ranger station.
Here are a couple of good websites with info about Mt. Pinos Star Parties: http://www.astro-tom....

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  • Dean A.

    Had a great turnout...about 36 wonderful people...and had some excellent views of Saturn, Mars, Venus, the Ring nebula, the Swan nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, Hercules globular cluster, Jupiter and several other objects! The skies were clear and the night was not too cold. Hope everyone enjoyed the star party!!! If there is interest, we'll do it again!

    August 9, 2010

  • Lori

    Thank you Dean for sharing your passion for astronomy! What an amazing evening; I will never forget the view of Saturn and its beautiful rings of protection. Awesome event! Best, Lori

    August 8, 2010

  • Dean A.

    Mt. Pinos is a popular star party site on Saturdays near the new moon. We'll bring several telescopes, and there will probably be 20 or more other telescopes up there...with at least a few large scopes! We should have some amazing views on a nice summer night!

    July 14, 2010

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