Looking for a good stargazing location in Orange County, CA

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  • Member since
    May, 2013
Looking for a good stargazing location in Orange County, CA
Posted by StarStuff13 on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 11:49 PM

I just bought my first telescope ( Orion skyquest XT8, as in 8 inch) and am looking for a good location to use it.  At the moment I am thinking Saddleback Mountain, near black star canyon. It's pretty dark there if I recall, and I know of a good spot where the trail plateaus leaving a nice large, flat area with dark skies to stargaze. It only takes 15 minutes to get to this spot from the start of the trail. The only reason I am hesitant is because I would most likely be going solo, meaning I will be constantly imagining scenarios of me battling a mountain lion. Also, I will be lugging a rather beastly telescope uphill for 15 minutes, but it's really the mountain lions that concern me. If you know of any other spots with clear skies, please let me know.


Also, if you have any advice for first time telescope users, I am all ears.

  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Posted by DaveMitsky on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 11:08 AM

Welcome to the Astronomy.com forums, Blake.

Some dark sky sites in California are discussed at www.observingsites.com/ds_ca.htm

Contacting someone at a local astronomy club regarding nearby dark sites might be good idea.



You may find some of the information on astronomy and amateur astronomy presented in my post at http://cs.astronomy.com/asy/observing/f/1/t/49111.aspx useful.

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

  • Member since
    October, 2007
Posted by zachsdad on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 11:10 AM

Keep checking back. We have an active member who lives in that area and will be happy to give you his opinion.

Terry's Law of Cosmology: "Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

18" Obsession Classic dob #1665

10" Orion Skyquest Classic dob

 120mm Orion ST achromat

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  • Member since
    May, 2012
Posted by Starrancher on Friday, October 18, 2013 6:00 PM

Check out OCA or Orange County Astronomers . That local club has a spot that they attend in the local coastal mountains of OC . They also have a site in Anza Ca. That is a better dark sky site that they actually own and use for the more avid monthly star parties . I would be more worried buy the wild animal component of the human nature if flying solo than the bobcat threat in them thar hills . So getting together with the group of like minded enthusiasts would be best for personal safety reasons . I've been to the Anza site a number of years back and the club members seemed to be a nice bunch . 

Good luck . 

The invisible man 

  • Member since
    October, 2005
Posted by leo731 on Friday, October 18, 2013 6:20 PM

Hi Blake,

I would certainly hook up with the Orange County Astronomers, http://ocastronomers.org/

I would stay away from Black Star Canyon.  Most likely it is closed already due to the start of the annual fire season. Residents of the area are spooked already with fears of fire, lots of rowdy teens, and drug/alcohol use.  The OC Sherriff used to be OK with stargazers decades ago but not so much now.  Add to that the very real presence of bobcats and mountain lions I wouldn't go up there in the dark lugging a bunch of equipment.  A good place to observe with very good skies on your own would be Blue Jay Campground off of Ortega Hwy.  Again though, it might be closed for fire season.  The OCA astronomers site in Anza has wonderfully dark skies.

If you stay at home remember you can still see lots of stuff that is bright enough to enjoy even with light pollution. A LP filter, placement of your scope away from local light, and something as simple as an eye-patch will greatly help.

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