First, I wanted to thank all the organizers around Calstar for throwing up a fabulous event last weekend. I was quite amazed at the facilities at Whipser Canyon for a nominal registration fee. It definitely made everything more enjoyable.
I was mentally comparing GSSP and Calstar and the one thing that stood out for me was the drastic difference in the duration of astronomical darkness at these locations.
Using the June 21-25 dates for GSSP (2017), September 29 - October 2 dates for Calstar (2016) and the approximate locations for GSSP (Adin, CA) and Whipser Canyon campground, I came up with the following numbers for astronomical darkness:
GSSP in June:
10:49 PM - 3:23 AM, 4 hours 34 minutes of darkness
1 hour 11 minutes before midnight
Calstar in September:
8:13 PM - 5:33 AM, 9 hours 20 minutes of darkness
3 hours 47 minutes before midnight
Now the driving times to each location (without traffic) from San Jose:
GSSP: 5 hours 13 minutes each way
Calstar: 2 hours 13 minutes each way
Now GSSP runs 4 nights, but even with that extra night here is the amount of darkness per minute of driving time:
1.75 dark min / drive min at GSSP
For Calstar the ratio is better even though it runs 3 nights:
6.32 dark min / drive min at Calstar
So Calstar gets about 3.6x as many darkness minutes for your driving time. The ratio is a lot higher if you have a 1am or midnight bedtime instead of waiting for astronomical darkness to end. For a 1am bedtime, the ratio rises to 3.87X
So what are my thoughts from all this?
Well, if we reversed when Calstar and GSSP happened so Calstar was in June and GSSP in September, a couple things would happen:
1) You would roughly double your amount of darkness at GSSP in September ( 8:20 PM - 5:28 AM ) over June. This would double the darkness for your drive ratio for GSSP
2) Your total darkness from the June at Calstar + September at GSSP combo would also increase over the current setup. This is because you gain darkness in the Summer by heading south and the two locations are separated by about 6 degrees of latitude. GSSP in June has about 4 hrs 34 minutes of darkness while Calstar in June has 5 hrs 46 minutes, a whole hour longer.
Anyhow, these are just my 2 cents. I know the weather in Adin, CA is a bit more unstable in late September, but what do people think about the summer solstice timing of GSSP?