Dark Sky Observing
- Last Updated: 27 April 2012
Steve Kufeld Astronomical Site (SKAS)
Situated ~ 90 miles north of Los Angeles in Ventura County, this LAAS owned 2.5 acre site provides the LAAS members a haven from the city lights. Located just south of Mt. Pinos, the site is equipped with two large reflecting telescopes: a 16 inch telescope (right) with equatorial mount and a 31 inch (Clyde-O-Scope, left) Newtonian on Bartelized Alt-Alz mount.
The site also offers 57 concrete pads along with power outlet for setting up personal telescopes. In addition to unrestricted access to the site, Star Members have the options of purchasing one of these pads for a nominal fee
The site is open to members & guests only.
Directions are in the New Member Packet. You may also email the Secretary for instructions.
The picture at right shows Steve Kufeld, front and center, surrounded by friends and fellow LAASers (from left to right) Czernic Crute, Lew Chilton and Dana Patchik.
Steve Kufeld, inventor of the now ubiquitous (and imitated) TELRAD, died suddenly in the summer of 1997. The property in Lockwood Valley was subsequently named in his memory. Steve was one of the organizers of the original purchase, and one of the key figures in building both the Gordon Mitchell Observatory and the 31" Clyde-O-Scope. He was an active member, former treasurer, and avid observer. His key role in acquiring the property, as well as his reputation as the father of TELRAD made it only appropriate to name the property after him.
Below is a photo of the site itself looking east. On the left of the photo is the Gordon Mitchell Observatory. Further North is the Block House that holds the 31" Clyde-O-Scope.
This is the dark sky observing site for the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. About 90 miles NW of Los Angeles, it is near enough to make a one-day round trip, but remote enough to offer considerably darker skies than you can find nearer L.A. There is room for campers, and parking for a limited number of RVs. The pads are all supplied with AC power, and the trailer has a heater for those non-astronomers (or astronomers) who seek temporary shelter from the cold. Summer time weather can be quite balmy, but winter temperatures drop well below freezing (the record so far as I know is an overnight low of 6° F one December a few years back).
Star member dues, and contributions by regular members, help us to defray the costs of maintaining the property. Owning our own site, with the ability to customize the property to the needs of amateur astronomers, is a major asset for the Los Angeles Astronomical Society.