"where can I observe in a place
that is away from the bright lights of the city, is comfortable,
and also secure?"
Members can be trained to use the
club's 22" computer controlled telescope in our observatory
We hold our "in-town" star parties
in what is probably the darkest place in all of Orange County
Our "out-of-town" observing happens
at our own private 20 acre facility which is situated near
the town of Anza
As a newcomer to astronomy, and a
new telescope owner, one of the most difficult questions to
answer is "where can I observe the skies in a place that
is away from the bright lights of the city, is reasonably
comfortable, and also secure?"
Invariably wherever you go on your
own you will find yourself at the end of some lonely road
and at best merely being bothered by the lights of some unknown
other vehicles occasionally driving by - and at worst also
feeling somewhat uneasy thinking about why on earth would
other people be driving down the lonely road you are observing
from this late at night!
Even if you have been camping in Joshua
Tree Park (which does have some exceptional viewing conditions)
or some other dark sky area you will invariably find yourself
surrounded by other campers who just don't have the same appreciation,
or understanding, of the need for darkness in order to fully
enjoy the brilliant night skies.
I know how that feels. I went searching
for a local astronomy club myself in 1997 specifically because
I was fed up with observing on my own in some lonely desolate
place where I didn't feel all that comfortable.
One of the greatest benefits of joining
the Orange County Astronomers is the convenient access to
some of the best observing sites anywhere in southern California.
The club usually has at least two
star parties every single month from January through to December.
We hold our "in-town" star parties in what is probably
the darkest place in all of Orange County. Our "out-of-town"
observing happens at our own private 20 acre facility which
is situated near the town of Anza which is just 13 miles (as
the crow flies) from that most famous of astronomical landmarks
- Palomar Mountain.
Our dark-sky observing site is so
special we even have members who have joined our club from
as far away as Las Vegas and who regularly make the four-hour
trip to experience star parties in the safety and comfort
As a member of the club you will gain
year-round access to our Anza site.
Here is a brief summary of the facilities
that benefit our members at the Anza Site.
- Some of the darkest skies available
within 2 hours drive of Orange County (the Milky Way is
bright with clearly visible structure).
- Large public observing areas with
electricity (you can setup your own telescope and share
the night with club members who appreciate the skies just
as much as you do)
- Private Members Pads with electricity
(we have over 60 concrete pads - licensed for member use)
- Private Members Observatories (we
have set aside some areas of the site for members to build
their own observatories)
- We have our very own computer controlled
22" telescope in our observatory. YOU can be trained
to use it!
- Comfortable facilities (bathrooms
and even a large trailer/house with three bedrooms / kitchen
- Wireless Internet Access right
from your own laptop or other computer you bring with you
(wireless network card required - and some small usage fee
may be required)