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Get out and gaze

Times Staff Writer

Even in Southern California, stargazers recommend plenty of spots dark enough to see the night sky. Look for stars around the new moon, when the sky is darkest. Some of the best views:

Mt. Pinos: This 8,831-foot-high peak in Los Padres National Forest is one of the region's best stargazing spots.

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/lospadres/index

Red Rock Canyon State Park: Try Ricardo Campground, 54 miles north of Lancaster. http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id631

Mt. Palomar: The observatory campground in the Cleveland National Forest offers campsites and showers. At an Oct. 18 star party, the Orange County Astronomers will provide telescopes.

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/cleveland .

Joshua Tree National Monument: Cottonwood Springs Campground is a longtime favorite for professionals and amateurs alike.

http://www.nps.gov/jotr

Death Valley National Park: Still one of the nation's best stargazing spots, particularly the Mesquite Springs campground, the Dante's View parking area and the more remote Eureka Valley primitive camping area.

http://www.nps.gov/deva

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