Saturday, June 6, 2009

Star gazing in the desert (Joshua Tree)

What's so great about it: Joshua Tree is about as far from civilization as you can get in Southern California. And that means city lights won't ruin your view of the night sky. But more than that, Joshua Tree is also a wonderland of boulders, cacti and shrubs. No need to worry about trees blocking your view of the heavens. Telescopes and binoculars will bring the stars and planets to life but you can get a great view with the naked eye.

Where to go? Try to be there on a night for a scheduled star party, hosted by the Andromeda Society, the local astronomy group. The group holds their parties at Happy Valley picnic area. The gatherings are free to the public. The amateur astronomers allow visitors to peek through their telescopes. For details on the parties, go to the Joshua Tree web sites.

A note of warning: Joshua Tree can get extremely hot during the summer. Spring and fall are better times to visit.

Directions: Go to the Joshua Tree web site for directions.

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