to Watch the Skies
Choose an area at least 40 miles from a major metropolitan city. Even sprawling suburbia street lights can be over powering. Gotta get away from the light polution.
Pick a secondary road off a local mountain highway. Pulling off the main drag just a quarter of a mile will help cut down on car headlights and the noise from passing traffic. Pick a level spot to park on the side, preferable in a wide section of the road. Next to a meadow or clearing is your best bet.
Open skies with very little trees around is preferred. Higher elevations (5000' +) will be colder temperatures at night ...where mid elevations (3000'+) should be perfect with countryside oak terrain & minimal tree coverage. Most of the California reservoirs are perfect areas for such night sky watching. Plus the deserts make perfect spots in the winter months... when the viewing is prime.
Make a night of it!! Be sure that you bring your binoculars, tripod, telescope, tarp.
And some additional comfort items: music, picnic food & beverages, sleeping bags, blankets, chairs.& hell, may as well throw in that inflatable mattress (for sheer luxury).