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Star Party • Sat Aug 3, 2024

Sat. August 3, 2024  •  Annual Star Party on Mt. Pinos  •  Easy  •  Led by David Coppedge

Creation Safaris’ annual star party on Mt Pinos will feature the Milky Way high overhead, summer constellations, asterisms like the Summer Triangle, the beautiful M13 globular cluster in Hercules, colorful nebulae, spiral galaxies, clusters, double stars and more. This time none of the major planets will appear (except Earth). Jupiter rises after 10:30 p.m. but will be blocked by trees till later.

Optional hike begins at 3:00 p.m. and features great views from the top of Mt. Pinos. The hike is 1.5 miles each way, total of 3 miles.

Main event begins at 6:00 p.m. with Dave providing teaching about astronomy news and creation, and orientation about telescopes and what to see after dark. Bring a chair or pad to sit on. 

For directions, check the Nordic Base on Mt Pinos website. From the Frazier Park turnoff on Interstate 5, it’s about a 20-mile drive to the viewing site. Go past the town of Frazier Park (one signal) and continue on, without making any major turns (do NOT turn toward Pine Mountain Club). The road winds up the mountain and ends on a parking lot where you should see cars and telescopes. Look for our Creation Safaris sign. If the lot is full, park on the road leading up to the lot. Actually, it’s easier leaving after dark if you park along the road right before the parking lot.

Important: Do NOT shine headlights or bright white lights in the viewing area after dark. This irritates the astronomers who need their eyes to remain dark-adjusted for viewing faint objects. Violators are likely to hear loud shouts “Turn off the lights!” – don’t be that person. Red lights, however, are easier on the eyes and don’t ruin night vision.

What to bring: warm clothes (altitude is over 8,000 ft). The temperature up there can vary from comfortable to cold even in summer, so have some extra layers to put on if needed. Have a red flashlight, or cover the lens with red cellophane; prepare this beforehand. Bring water and any snacks you want, and a chair. Binoculars can be helpful. A pad or lounge to lie down on may help for upward viewing.

Note: The nearest restrooms are 1/8 mile walk from the viewing site, so go beforehand. Bring your own TP, as sometimes the outhouses are not supplied. Some of the gas stations at the freeway exit have restrooms; I recommend you stop in there before driving up.

If you have a smartphone, you might enjoy installing the app Google Sky Map beforehand; it can help you locate and identify objects.

Please arrive before 6:00 p.m. to give yourself time to prepare. The teaching time is a key part of this activity. Arriving late not only misses that key part, but also could irritate others with bright headlights, and you may not be able to find parking, either. You can leave the star party any time you need to, but the later you can stay, the better the viewing gets. Try to stay till at least 10:00 p.m. Rather than turning on headlights in the lot, have a friend guide you out with a red flashlight.