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Best Sacramento Area Star Gazing Spots

November 15, 2010 11:01 AM

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(credit: www.tac-sac.org)
Sacramento itself has a little too much light pollution for star gazing, but amatuer astronomer can find dark skies at the Blue Canyon Airport, the BLM Cronan Ranch parking lot, the Ice House Observation Plateau and more.

Blue Canyon Airport

Airport Rd.
Placer County, CA
www.tac-sac.org

Blue Canyon – Nyack Airport is just over an hour away from Sacramento (depending on traffic). The airport is open to the public. Seasoned star-gazers say to go to the driveway with a gate (which is unlocked) The Astronomy Connection of Sacramento say they set up right on the tarmac where the planes park, not on the runway. They do warn to be prepared to get out of the way of a plane, but that it never happens. The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society also uses the Blue Canyon site for its members-only events.

BLM Cronan Ranch Parking Lot

Pedro Hill Road
Off Highway 49 between Cool and Pilot Hill
El Dorado County, CA
www.blm.gov

Cronan Ranch is known for its 12 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding along nestled next to the American River near between Cool and Pilot Hill off Highway 49 in El Dorado Hills, but it’s the parking lot that The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society uses most. The remote ranch is far enough away from the glaring lights of the big city to offer some great views for watching meteor showers and more.

Ice House Observation Plateau Observing Sites (known as IHOP)

Ice House Road
Near Pollock Pines
www.tac-sac.org

If you hear Sacramento astronomers talking about going to IHOP, they don’t have pancakes on the brain. IHOP is also the acronym for Ice House Observation Plateau. Just hop on Highway 50 up to Pollock Pines to this “dark sky” location to fulfill your astronomical needs. The Astronomy Connection of Sacramento says there are actually two sites at this location known as IHOP1 and IHOP2.

star gazing scc observatory Best Sacramento Area Star Gazing Spots

(credit: wserver.scc.losrios.edu)

Sacramento City College Observatory

3835 Freeport Blvd.
Sacramento
Astronomy Coordinator – Liam McDaid
(916) 558.2005
wserver.scc.losrios.edu

If driving for miles and sitting out in the cold isn’t your idea of fun, there is an indoor star gazing option. The Sacramento City College Observatory is open to the public on the first Friday of each month from September to May (except in January). And if the weather is bad, they even have make-up dates. And we bet their telescope is bigger than yours!

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