Tierra del Sol Dark-Sky Observing Site

SDAA Member John Rains hosts the 22-inch Lipp telescope at a recent Public Star Party. The telescope is open for viewing on every star party weekend.

Public Star Parties are held during the dark of the moon at the Association’s observing site at Tierra Del Sol (TDS). The schedule for these parties maybe found in the Events section of this website. The Club’s 22-inch Lipp Ritchey-Chretien reflector, as well as its 8-inch D&G refractor, are available for club members and hosted during Public Star Parties for visitors.

TDS location and elevation: 32° 36′ 50″ N; 116° 19′ 58″ W; 3710′ (1131m)

Observatory Director Ed Rumsey periodically hosts a training class. You must be a contributing member for one year to qualify as a host, but anyone can attend the class. Hosting the telescope on the Public Star Party nights has several advantages–it gives you an opportunity to get to the site and use this fabulous instrument; an opportunity to interact with other club members; and most important, it provides one of the most valuable services the SDAA provides–bringing the night sky to the public. The look on a neophyte’s face or the glint of sheer joy in a child’s eye when they see the massive instrument for the first time, and then get to look through it at the wonders of the heavens, cannot be described. It must be experienced first-hand. If you are interested in hosting or are a host, contact the Observatory Director.

Tierra del Sol site access, rules, and lock combinations are in the newsletter sent to all members. Hosts on public nights and members are responsible for seeing that the last person out locks the gates, turns off the electricity and water pump, secures the bathroom, and empties the trash.

A panoramic view of the Tierra del Sol public pads area, showing the north and south pads and parking areas

A unique benefit available to SDAA Full Contributing members is access to a premier visual observing facility located at Tierra del Sol. The Cruzen Observatory may be reserved and utilized by SDAA members with at least one year of tenure and after completing a simple training session. 

Private pads, areas where contributing members can have a private setup area, are located in a separate portion of the Tierra del Sol property. To get on the private pad list, send an e-mail to the Private Pads Chairperson ( or see the Contacts section of this website). If you have a private pad, consider sharing it with another member. Click here for photos of the Private Pads.

Tierra del Sol Site Map (thanks to Hiroyuki Hakozaki)
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