The "H2O"
Deep Sky Photography on the  Hidden Hill Observatory, California, USA

Any type of astrophotography requires a dark sky, which is hard to find in northern and central Europe. Additionally, you need clear weather. What is worth a remote dark site if you are sitting under a thick layer of clouds. Compared to northern Europe, the California weather and sky are a distict advantage for astronomers. This is  probably the reason why nowhere else in the world the concentration of amateur astronomers is so high than in California. If you have the possibility to travel there and visit an amateur astronomy club you will get good conditions for some nice observations an photography, mostly combined with moderate temperatures!!
As an example I would like to introduce the ‘H2O’, the Hidden Hill Observatory near Livermore, California. This is the favorite dark site of the  Tri Valley Stargazer Astronomy Club, founded by a group of amateur astronomers from Livermore. Located just a few hills away from the San Francisco Bay Area and protected from any kind of humidity (see Europe!) and clouds and pretty far away from the Silicon Valley light pollution the H2O offers the possibility of a nice dark site for comfortable observations to its members. The place can be reached from the Bay by car in 1 ½  hours and its possible to bring  your own telescope of any size.

Here is a panoramic 360degree image of the site. Click on the thumb nail for a full size verion (800K)!

Image Gallery

Click on the pictures to see full size version.
Open house at TVS. Star trails over H2O. 
Image: Gert Gottschalk
View to south, April 2000. After sunset: 
Only a few clouds are hanging over the coastal hills. 
Image: S. Fröhlich
In 1999 one of the club members realized his 
personal dream, his own observatory.
In April 2000 the telescope was mounted. 
Image: S. Fröhlich
Whereever you can drive by car , you can 
bring big telescopes! 
G. Gottschalk
If you stay overnight it is necessary to protect the 
instruments. Not against dew or rain, but dust!

S. Fröhlich and G. Gottschalk, January 2001 
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