What we affectionately call 'Upham' is a cleared patch of desert about 35 miles north of Las Cruces. It is our primary dark sky observing site. Directions: From Las Cruces, drive north on I-25. The mile markers count up as you head north; the Upham exit is just past mile marker 32 north of town (You'll probably pass a Border Patrol checkpoint about five miles before the Upham off-ramp). At the bottom of the ramp, turn right. You'll immediately cross a cattle crossing. Proceed north on a usually good dirt road (if there has no appreciable recent rain). At 1 mile the main road veers off to the right. Somewhere around 3 miles you pass by a ranch and a big tower. At the 5.4 mile turnoff there is a small building with a phone wire attached. Turn right. Drive about 0.6 miles and look for a clearing on the right.
Observers typically arrive at Upham to set up a bit before sundown, and often remain well past midnight. Occasionally, people gather at the NE corner of the Lowes Home Improvement Center parking lot (on Main, just West of I-25) and drive to Upham together. The caravan leaves for Upham about an hour before sundown. If you're new to the area and wish to join this caravan, it's a good idea to contact the members using the aslcnm (Yahoo) listserver. Instructions for joining the listserver can be found here.
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International Delights Cafe
Each month (on Saturdays close to the first quarter Moon), ASLC meets in front of the Int'l Delights Cafe at the corner of El Paseo and Idaho to share views of the Moon and brighter planets with the public. The cafe it tucked in the back corner ('X') of the shopping center on the Northeast corner of the intersection (there's an Albertson's in the same shopping center). Viewing starts at dusk and continues for around two hours. Check the home page or the calendar pages for upcoming Moongaze dates.
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ASLC Observatory at Leasburg Dam State Park
Leasburg Dam SP is a great little State Park just 15 to 20 minutes North of Las Cruces on I-25 (turn West at Exit 19 and drive for about a mile before turning North into the park). The park is far enough away from the city's lights to provide impressive views of dark sky objects. The park hosts a roll-off observatory that houses a 16" Meade LX-200 telescope (graciously provided by the NMSU Astronomy Department). ASLC members conduct dark sky observing each month on the Saturday closest to the third quarter Moon. Observing begins at dusk and is free to the public (park entrance fees apply). The park hosts additional viewing opportunities during the year. Check the park calendar or the ASLC calendar for updated information.
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Clyde Tombaugh Observatory
ASLC operates a dome on the NMSU campus that encloses a 12" telescope. The scope was built from a rocket body acquired from White Sands Proving Ground. It is guided by a 1895 Grubbs of Dublin gravity driven mount. The scope may be used by ASLC members who have been trained in its operation.
The observatory is primarily used during special public events on the NMSU campus. NMSU operates the adjacent observatories during public 'open houses' (usually on the Friday closest to each month's first quarter moon).
Finding the Observatory is easy. It's located on the southwest corner of the NMSU track. There is parking available in the evening (after 5 pm). Use these two maps to help you find the observatory. Clicking on either map will open up a larger version.