Where to star-gaze in Nevada?
March 12, 2017 1:25 PM   Subscribe

We're driving from Las Vegas to Reno in August and planning to stop for a night on the way for some star-gazing.

We'll be leaving Vegas on Monday the 21st and there's a new moon that day, so I assume that will be a very good night for star-gazing provided it's not cloudy (also the day of the solar eclipse, so that will be nice too).

It looks like Tonopah is a good place to stop based on http://www.tonopahnevada.com/StarTrails/index.html and that is our tentative plan, but would like to hear from people who have actually done star-gazing in that area for any recommendations on where to go. We do have a bit of flexibility if there's some place amazing off the direct US-95 route. Thanks!
posted by disaster77 to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There is a place between Ely and Tonopah, and some roads that go North out of Las Vegas. The 93 will take you up through Alamo, and then take the Rachel and Lund highway. You end up on the 6 for a while. Out in the middle of Ely and Tonopah is the Lunar Volcanic crater, and below it to the east is the lunar playa. The Milky Way gazing is great from that area. The 93 north is just east of the edge of Las Vegas. Don't take the road through Great Basin, it is 60 miles longer than the road to Rachel and Lund. But, the Extra Terrestrial highway is also middle of nowhereish enough for great star gazing. The Lunar Crater is worth seeing, the playa, you can see it white on the left as you near the crater turnoff. You can take a dirt road to the playa, and then keep going around it to the west until it starts to rise, and suddenly you are on the shoulder of the caldera and looking in.
posted by Oyéah at 2:24 PM on March 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Last year around this time my girlfriend and I drove from Las Vegas to Beatty/Rhyolite, and honestly as soon as you're more than a few minutes outside of Vegas the view of the night sky is pretty great. We were on 95 pretty much the entire way, and there isn't much between there and Vegas to cause much light pollution. Also in August you'll have an even better view of the Milky Way than we did in May.
posted by Venadium at 5:49 PM on March 12, 2017

Per the Dark Sky Finder, the darkest place on your trip is shortly after Tonopah, especially near the junction of 95 and 6 at Coaldale, but most of that route is pretty high darkness.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:40 PM on March 12, 2017

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