RBA's Astrophotography

Locations: Henry Coe State Park

Elevation: 2600 feet (792 meters)
Location: 8 miles east of Morgan Hill, California
Darkness: Yellow/Green zone. Can probably get to "blue" quality when thick fog covers the Santa Clara valley, Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Average SQM is around 20.9
Best Sky: Nice East and North.
Worst: Without the help of the fog, West is 100% unusable, and South is useful above 45 degrees.

The observing/imaging location at Coe is a parking lot at a 2600 feet (792m) elevation about 8 miles east of Morgan Hill, California. Coe offers nice eastern skies, but the west is a total waste, which makes the otherwise nice north and south to be ok on the eastern side of the meridian, but rather mediocre on their western side. If you get lucky, the coastal fog sometimes covers the cities in the southwest and west, and then it can get seriously dark all around, but in general I would go Coe only if I'm planning to image an object in the N-E areas, or up around the zenith of course, and I don't need to get "deep data".

It takes me about 1 hour drive from home to the parking lot at Coe, and it usually is open to amateur astronomers and astrophotographers all year round. These two factors (short drive, available most of the times) used to make Coe the site I would visit more often during my first years of imaging, although lately I usually seek darker skies.

A view of the camping area at Coe. Notice the welcoming fog below (as long as it stays below!).

Entrance to the park and the overflow parking lot where I usually setup.

Above you can see a panoramic viewof the E-S-W horizons at Henry Coe where you can appreciate the "beautiful" sky glow on the west.

Light pollution map

Aerial views



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