Category Archives: Celestial

California Eclipse

Moon Eclipse

The Blood Moon

Solar Eclipses & Lunar Eclipse

Eclipse schedule, as seen from North America

Make plans for your nights spent camping out, under the stars, watching the celestial events and meteor showers. Comfortable: Hat, blanket, radio. Hot cocoa and sugary treats will help keep you awake and alert.

Upcoming Solar Eclipses, 2021-2030

https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

2021 Jun 10
2023 Oct 14
2024 Apr 08
2026 Aug 12
2028 Jan 26
2029 Jan 14

orange, red or amber colored moon

A total lunar eclipse is sometimes called a Blood Moon, because of the reddish tinge the Full Moon takes on when fully eclipsed.

Upcoming Total Lunar Eclipses

moonfire

best places to watch the skies

 The California Deserts are sometimes the best place to watch the nights sky, unless the winds are kicking up. Deserts are warmer than other locations and if you position yourself well you can be far from any city lights.

The California Foothills, both coastal foothills or mountain foothills – are the second best choice, if you can drive up canyons and get well away from the sprawling suburbs. Choice spots would be ridges above 2000′ elevation, with minimal trees. Oak foothills are choice spots. Higher than 4000′ and you will be chillin overnight.

The California Mountains are the prime choice for summertime recreation of all kinds. Primitive camping on the back roads will save you fees at a developed campground. The higher in altitude, the less atmosphere above you – the better night sky viewing is above. Choose a meadow or mountain ridge w/ minimal trees. Burn areas provide wide open spots, so you can seek old wildfire ridges. Nights can get pretty chilly most all year long, so go well prepared. Jackets, gloves, hats and all. Keep all campfires to a bare minimum after 9pm, so you can focus on the stars in the sky.

your pupils will welcome the dark skies

The California Coast is often covered with a thick layer of clouds and moisture, so star gazing along the ocean front is not always great. Central Coast and NorCal beaches have less less population, so these would be the ideal locations. Choose an inland valley w/ rolling oak hills and dirt roads, over the busy beaches. There might be clear days and nights, especially if forecast call for heat – check the local weather forecast for accurate up to date conditions.

Large urban areas, the cities and towns of California are the worst place you can sky watch, due to light pollution, traffic and smog. Drive to the outskirts of town – pick a dark location, a park, open space or forest lands nearby. Arrive before dark to get the best spots, well off the main road. Choose viewing spots without street lights and without passing traffic. Find a nice level spot to set chairs up and bring lots of snacks.

Stargazing California

How to watch a meteor shower

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moonrise


The Geminids Meteor Shower

palomar cabin

Geminid Meteor Shower

One of the better winter star shows. This well known meteor shower peaks in mid December, right in the middle of Christmas Rush. It’s a nice time to plan a desert camping trip around or a weekend away in the mountains. Look in the southern part of the nights sky these shootings stars.

The meteors from this shower are slow moving, can be seen in December and usually peak around the 13th – 14th of the month, with the date of highest intensity being the morning of the 14th. The shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, generally around 02:00 to 03:00 local time.

The meteors in this shower appear to come from a radiant in the constellation Gemini (hence the shower’s name). However, they can appear almost anywhere in the night sky, and often appear yellowish in hue. Well north of the equator, the radiant rises about sunset, reaching a usable elevation from the local evening hours onwards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geminids

Annual event; December

xmascabins

How to best view a Meteor Shower

California Deserts

California Christmas Cabins

Leonid Meteor Shower

Death Valley 4x4

This autumn meteor shower peaks in mid November & a great weekend for planning a desert camping trip around. Look in the eastern part of the nights sky these shootings stars, up to 10 per hour. Pre-dawn viewing is always best for meteor showers.

California Deserts are wonderful at this time of year. Many folks plan Thanksgiving celebration around this outdoorsy celestial event.

Annual event; November

How to best view a Meteor Shower

California Deserts

Orionid Meteor Shower

June Lake Autumn

An autumn meteor shower peaks in late October & perfect for planning a camping trip, cabin weekend or fishing trip around it. Eastern Sierra Nevada destinations are wonderful at this time of year, as fall colors w/ aspens peak as well. Look in the southeastern part of the nights sky these shootings stars, up to 12 per hour. Pre-dawn viewing is always best for meteor showers.

Annual event; October

How to best view a Meteor Shower

Sierra Nevada Destinations

CA Desert Destinations

California Amateur Astronomy

List of California Astronomy Clubs & Groups

Mount Pinos Lot

Southern California

 

Star Gazer

DSCN0012

Central & Northern California

 

 
Benchmark Map for California

CA Holiday

California Holiday Calendar

annual calendar holidays & night skies for 2014

Carson Peak June Lake Loop

This list below is published by Total Escape, so you can easily plan your weekends away and your outdoor vacations, your fishing trips, your stargazing nights, your valuable three day weekends. ” Hey DanaMite, when is the next meteor shower?” Now you know!

holidays 2014

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

  • Saturday, March 1  (new moon)
  • Sunday, March 16  (full moon)
  • Monday, March 17   Saint Patrick’s Day
  • Thursday, March 20  Vernal Equinox (Spring)
  • March Festivals California
  • Sunday, March 30 (new moon)

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

  • Friday, June 13 (full moon)
  • Sunday, June 15  Fathers Day
  • Saturday, June 21 Summer Solstice
  • Friday, June 27 (new moon)
  • June Festivals California

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

  • Monday, September 1     Labor Day
  • Monday, September 8    (full moon)
  • Tuesday, September 23  Autumnal Equinox (Fall)
  • Wednesday, September 24  (new moon)
  • September Festivals California

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

  • Geminid Meteor Shower
  • Saturday, December 6 (full moon)
  • Sunday, December 21    Winter Solstice (new moon)
  • December Festivals California
  • Wednesday, December 24          Christmas Eve
  • Thursday, December 25     Christmas Day
  • Wednesday, December 31     New Years Eve

Comet ISON

Comet ISON Appears Intact

C/2012 S1

November is the month that meteor showers often ramp up for winter months, so stargazing is usually great during Autumn months. Expect to see more than your average star shows this year, around the new year and into late January as comet Ison travels around our Sun and past Earth.

Starting around Nov. 15th you will be able to see this anticipated comet with the naked eye. Astronomers, including those at NASA, say Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) has a chance to be one of the brightest comets in history after it reaches perihelion on November 28, 2013.

Helpful links to find out much more on Comet ISON.

Star Camping
Comets of 2013
Comets of 2014

The darkest skies are way out on the back roads of California.
The darkest skies are way out on the back roads.

Palomar Observatory

Perseid Meteor Shower

Sierra Nevada Mountains

This Summertime meteor shower is usually the best show of the year, if the new moon is near. High Sierra destinations are wonderful. Especially Eastern Sierra destinations, well away from the big city lights & urbanization of California.

Summer mild temperatures make higher altitude & mountain destinations favorable. The air is thinner, the sky clearer and the stars are closer at high elevations.

Perseids peaks in mid-August every summer. Perfect timing for planning a summer vacation or camping trip around this annual anticipated event. Look in the northeast part of the nights sky for grazers & numerous shootings stars, up to 60 per hour. Pre-dawn viewing is always best for meteor showers.

Annual event; August

How to best view a Meteor Shower

High Sierra Destinations

Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower

Sequoia Dome Rock

Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower

This annual meteor shower peaks in late July, close to the infamous summer show of the Perseids. Higher elevations w. clear skies are favored. Granite domes such as this one called “DomeRock” are common in the granite range of the Sierra Nevada. Dome Rock is near the infamous climbing spot, the Needles & near the small, cabin community of Ponderosa, CA in the Giant Sequoia region.

Look in the southern part of the nights sky for these shootings stars, up to 20 per hour. Pre-dawn viewing is always best for meteor showers.

Annual event; July

How to best view a Meteor Shower

Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

What in the hell is an “Eta Aquarid”? It’s a meteor shower in the Springtime; This annual meteor shower peaks in early May. Look in the northeast part of the nights sky for these shootings stars, up to 20 per hour – if you can handle the chilly nights. Most California deserts are prime star gazing spots. Pre-dawn viewing is always best for meteor showers.

Annual event; May

How to best view a Meteor Shower

Anza Borrego Stargazing
This is one of Jan Alexander’s photos from the Hollywood & Vine of Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Lyrid Meteor Shower

Anza Borrego DesertsThis annual meteor shower peaks in late April, one of the few shooting star shows in the Springtime. Look in the east part of the nights sky for the grazers or shootings stars, up to 12 per hour. Pre-dawn viewing is always best for meteor showers. Most deserts are prime star gazing spots. Spring blooms wildflowers in the California deserts at this time of year.

This photos is taken at the heights of Mortero Canyon Wash in the southern portion of Anza Borrego Desert State Park. County Road S2 leads out to some great back road camping options. Morterro Wash has big boulder campsites – back behind the abandon rail road tracks. These desert dirt roads are not recommended for RV or motorhome travel. Deep sand is common. Passenger cars can make it – if they do not slow or stop in the soft sandy spots.

Annual event; April

How to best view a Meteor Shower

California Desert Destinations
California Desert Camping
California Hot Springs Resorts

CURRENT MOON

Quadrantid Meteor Shower

Anza Borrego Desert State ParkThis annual meteor shower peaks in early January, right after the New Years celebrations. Look in the northeast part of the nights sky for these shootings stars, up to 40 per hour – if you can handle the chilly nights. Pre-dawn viewing is always best for meteor showers.

Most California deserts are prime star gazing spots. This photo is open camping on back roads, in Coyote Canyon, Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Plenty hiking near here; Desert wildflowers start as early as February, depending (of course) on the seasonal rains.

Annual event; January

How to best view a Meteor Shower

California Desert Destinations
California Desert Camping
California Hot Springs Resorts

CURRENT MOON