Observing Sites in the Southwest

Michael Purcell

In 1986 LCAS made its first trip to New Mexico, when it went to view Comet Halley. We have used Gran Quivira every year since then. Gran Quivira has consistently had two items in its favor, availability and cheapness. On the other hand the setup is rather spartan. During the most recent trip a couple of us began to discuss the possibility of going to a different site. In the May meeting the club showed interest in having a review of potential alternate sites. This article is a summary of the information I have gathered. I am sure there are more sites, but these should be representative of the choices we have.

The first three sites are general purpose resorts that can handle astronomers, while the last is dedicated to astronomy. All of the sites provide cottages of various sizes that include a kitchenette.

Canyon of the Eagles: (Texas) This is a nature resort that includes an observatory and astronomy classes. There are several sizes of cottages that cost $100-130 per night. They also have a campground with RV hookups. Food service is optional. See: http://www.canyonoftheeagles.com/index.htm

Ghost Ranch: (New Mexico) This well known resort offers a wide range of accommodations, from the bunkhouse ($35/person/night) to private cottages ($65/person/night). Astronomy classes are taught by the folks from Star Hill Inn (see below). Food servce is optional. See: http://www.ghostranch.org

Sunglow Guest Ranch: (Arizona) Sunglow has cottages that can hold 2-12 people and rent for $414-894 per week. Food service is optional. See :http://www.sunglowranch.com/

New Mexico Skies: (New Mexico) This is a relatively new site that has multiple scopes in separate domes, and separate pads for your scope. They have 1-2-3 bedroom apartments renting for $130-250/night. Food service is not available. See: http://www.nmskies.com

The costs per person per night are fairly consistent, especially if we plan to fill the cottages. I suggest you visit their Web sites for more details.