Past Meetup

Star Party in Mt. Pinos w/Dean Arvidson, Astronomy Professor +picnics,hike/camp

This Meetup is past

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Star Party in Mt. Pinos (+ picnic meals & optional hiking & camping)
Dean Arvidson, Astronomy Professor at LACC

Saturday July 30th
Departing 11AM in carpools from GATEWAY Parking Lot

~ Open to the Public ~

* Mt. Pinos is rated among the best dark-viewing locations in the nation.

Aaahhh..., the stars and sky in full beauty.

Drivers of alternative fuel vehicles ideally wanted to be the method of carpooling...

Itinerary Consists of:
- Take off in carpools (or your own transport where necessary) from The GATEWAY parking lot at 11AM. The drive is approximately 1.5 hrs.
- Arrive in Mt. Pinos bet. 12:30 & 1PM. - For those that are camping, this would then be the time to set up camp.
- Picnic lunch so be sure to bring a lunch as there are no food vendors on location.
- Set out for an optional moderate 1.5 mile hike (with a few hundred feet elevation above parking lot).

Then we:
- Continue to relax and take in the beauty :-)
- A picnic dinner (again bring your own versus potluck) in the early evening so be sure to bring your dinner to eat amongst us.
- Star Party time! with multiple telescopes. This segment of the evening will begin once the sun sets (approx 7:45PM this time of year).

Return is per your intentions to either stay the night and camp or carpool it back home, those arrangements obviously do need to be coordinated before you go.
For those that do wish to stay the night and Camp Out:
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. So if you plan to camp, which some people are, of course bring all your gear and pack one more meal's worth of food for a breakfast in the morning before return departure on Sunday July 31st. For campers, the likely departure time Sunday morning is 11AM, may stop for lunch on the way home making estimated arrival back in LA at about 3PM.

Plz don't forget we invite you to join us for an introspective film and discussion titled "Non-Duality: Life As It Is" this same Sunday evening at 7PM here at The GATEWAY, details at

Cost: The only definite cost is gas sharing, optional costs include any food or other expenses you choose to incur along the way
RSVP Right Here on Meetup
Questions (& for any necessary Mobile Contacts along the trip) to Dean at 310 * 500 * 5798 and he may be contacted through meetup at

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. Be sure to park along the left hand side as you drive in to allow for telescope setup in central lot area.

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 headlights are not on as you 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 bring a chair to sit in. Flashlights can be useful but it is important to put red cellophane over the light so that the light doesn’t bother anyone’s eyes. Bring a 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! So again, if you bring a flashlight, please put a piece of red cellophane over the front, 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 ;-)

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 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.

In Addition, here are a couple of good websites with info about Mt. Pinos Star Parties:


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