[AZ-Observing] Re: Observing sites in Arizona

  • From: Russell Chmela~ <rchmela@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 11:44:50 -0700

Shaun Dixon wrote:
 MY question is about 2 sites. Sentinel and Vekol Ranch. According to Toms 
site it mentions "Very little traffic travels on Vekol Road". How are the 
roads to both sites?
   Steve did a good job on describing Sentinel, so I'll give you more
details on Vekol. I use the Vekol Ranch site mostly, its just over an hour
(my lazy pace) from the Phoenix east Valley area of Az. and its a fairly
dark site too. You will find that the majority of the road from I-8 to
where the EVAC club meets to observe is now paved, it was not a few 
years back. When you get to the 'Vekol Ranch' sign at the road fork, the
paved part ends. The BLM part is not bad, in fact when I was out there
last weekend, it had been graded and was just plain dusty. On most times
this road has a washboard face and it is not bad if traveled slow. The
one major obstacle is a slight wash that is just ahead (when coming in)
of "the tree" which marks the place to start slowing up and looking for
the site. The recent grading even smoothed this place out, but it has
been a spot to watch for and go through slowly, no faster than 5 or 10
mph. Thats about all for road concerns, about the same as at Sentinel
really. Also like Sentinel, its just a open area on the left of the road
and you must bring what you will need.
  From the standpoint of darkness... Sentinel is better. At Vekol the 
sky does have a good sized bright area from Phoenix. It reaches to the
pole star and a bit further up and covers a pretty good sized azimuth
too, there is a small light spot from both Casa Grande and your home
town in the East and Southeast respectively. The south and west directions
are true dark, the zenith is also. I have used this site for its
close by convenience and keep Sentinel for the future when Vekol may
get too bright. This may, with luck , not happen for some time.

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