Road trips from Southern California: San Diego
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( Janet Carter )
San Diego area
Distance: 132 miles one-way
At any campground in the world, gazing up at the universe with the naked eye is a rush that eclipses the pleasures of cocoa and a roasted marshmallow. But on Palomar Mountain, peering at intensely magnified bits and pieces of the heavens through a 25-inch Newtonian telescope is something else entirely.
"It's proof that we know way more than we should," says Nanz, helping Jackson up to the viewfinder. "This little species on this little planet in a galaxy with 200 billion stars in a universe with over 100 billion galaxies. . . . And look what we know. Look what we're looking at."
-- Jordan Rane
Read more: Palomar Mountain's Observatory Campground: A vantage point with universal appeal