Summer of Astronomy 2016

As we enter the final stretch of summer, now is a good time to reflect on some of the astronomy adventures I had this time around. They include trips to GMARS and to the Trona Pinnacles for the meetup as well as a overnight stay at Mt. Piños to cool off.

Along the way, there were Perseids to be seen, photos to be taken and stars to be gazed upon.

The dark-sky site of the Riverside Astronomical Society, GMARS, is my astronomy main stay as it's where I have a permanent observatory. In the summer months, it can easily get to 110° F during the day and often doesn't cool below 80° F at night. So, occasionally it's nice to get to a mountain top where it's nice and cool...

Mt. Piños
When the desert gets too hot and all you can do is stand still to stay cool, the mountains can provide a much-needed respite. Most of the southern California mountains are awash in light pollution. One of the few remaining sanctuaries is Mt. Piños near the intersection of Los Angeles, Ventura and Kern counties. At 8,300 feet, it stays very comfortable during the day and it can get quite chilly at night. On this particular trip on August 6th, it got down to 41° F! Did I mention that it was August 6th?!

Trona Pinnacles
Ian Norman, creator of, hosted a meetup in the strange landscape of the Trona Pinnacles near Ridgecrest. The problem was that it was held on the evening of July 30th. At 113° F near sundown and 95° F all night, I won't be doing this trip again, not at this time of year anyway. However, I will definitely return at a cooler time of year... maybe late May next time.

Without further delay, here's a video recapping the above and some photos as well.

The Mt. Piños parking lot on a summer evening.
The Cave Nebula from Mt. Piños. This is a 168-minute image taken using a
Canon EOS 6D and Takahashi FSQ-106EDX-III.