Stub Stewart State Park Unique Astronomy Site

Stub Stewart State Park

L. L. Stub Stewart State Park is an Oregon State Park located near Vernonia, Oregon. There are a plethora of daytime activities in the park, including horseback riding, mountain biking, disc golf, and hiking trails.

Due to the growth of nearby cities such as Hillsboro and Portland, Oregon, an increase in light pollution has been seen. 3-4 years ago, Stub Stewart was 3 on the Bortle Scale, Dark Blue, but the area is now a Green Zone. This means that, “Zodiacal light seen on best nights. Milkyway shows much dark lane structure with beginnings of faint bulge into Ophiuchus. M33 difficult even when above 50 degrees. Limiting magnitude about 6.2 to 6.5.”[1]

It is worth noting that the light dome caused the lights from Portland and Hillsboro occurs on the Eastern side, so it is recommended to look for targets overhead or to the west. There are some trees that provide some coverage for the light pollution, but it has been starting to creep into the mid-southern portion of the sky.

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With the day use area, there is enough room for observers, and astrophotographers to all have enough space to setup and spend the night. Unless the parking lot is 100% full and there is an event that causes overflow like the Perseid Meteor Shower, there shouldn’t be an issue finding enough room to setup and practice your brand of astronomy.

The Rose City Astronomers utilize this site for their star parties as well as OMSI.

Location

  • Astronomy area is across from Stub Stewart State Park Disk Golf Course
  • How far outside of Portland? ~33 miles, about 40 minutes
  • Google Maps Location

Parking

  • # of spots: 30 spots
  • Cost For Parking: $5 Day Use Fee
  • Anything else to note: Members of the Rose City Astronomers have a form that they print out in front of their dash. Member only form, but not required to attend.
Type Of Permit Cost
Day use parking $5
12-month day-use parking permit $30
24-month day-use parking permit $50

Overnight Accommodations

Overnight Costs per Oregon State Parks. Please note that reservations must be made by phone 1 day to 9 months ahead of time through the following Reserve America site.

There are a total of 15 Cabins, 12 tent sites, and 70 RV sites that would be of interest to an astronomer. There are 23 hike-in tent spots, but that is unfeasible to use with all of the telescope gear that one would have in the car.

Rate Type Cost
Pet Friendly Rustic Cabin $57
Primitive Site Hike in $11
Rustic cabin $47
Tent site Walk-in $21

Upcoming Weather

VERNONIA WEATHER

Current Seeing Conditions/Forecast Charts

The chart above is courtesy of ClearDarkSky.com and the chart below is courtesy of Clearoutside.com

Sources

[1] = https://www.cleardarksky.com/csk/faq/2.html

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