Saturday, Jun 15

Rhyolite Ghost Town, Nevada, USA

I must say that, although according to that it was a mining settlement back in 1906, it is touristy and attractive and has absolutely nothing: it is simply a wasteland which has a few buildings and others serve as a junkyard for cars. There is a museum style house but it has absolutely nothing special and some ugly sculptures that look like ghosts.

So, what's Rhyolite's appeal?
The astronomical, of course. This place, from my point of view, has many advantages: it's in an area totally away from Las Vegas and at the same time it's a few minutes away from Beatty, which is a very small town that I would consider it is only to stop by when traveling. Beatty is so tiny that the pollution from its lights does not affect the skies over Rhyolite at all.
Another advantage of having Beatty nearby is that after the astronomical session you can easily return to rest. Beatty, although small, has a gas station, a couple of self-service shops, including a FamillyDolar, a couple of motels and a few restaurants.

One thing I liked about Nevada's roads is that you can almost literally plant yourself anywhere away from the road to take a picture, and that is the case with Rhyolite. Unlike Quebec, Canada, in Nevada I didn't see almost any private land on the road, quite the opposite of this country: here, wherever you go in the country, the land already belongs to someone so it is difficult to find a place to observe.

Since Nevada is mostly desert, clear skies were present almost daily offering an excellent starry night sky.


Canon T5i, ISO 3200, 35 mm. f 4.5, Exp. 2 min

There are two issues to consider:  1) there is a small road in Rhyolite that cars keep passing by and 2) the wind. I didn't expect it to blow often in Nevada, so taking something for wind protection is highly recommended. I brought with me a lightweight camping chair that could not stand up because of the wind. However, outside of this it is a very good observation point.

I leave you a timelapse of the Milky Way that I took with my second one while taking pictures with the other one.

How to get there
The place is very accessible and easy to get to. Leaving from Las Vegas, take Highway 95 North towards the town of Beatty. Once in Beatty, take Highway 374 towards Death Valley. After 8 minutes of driving, on the right side, you will find the detour to Rhyolite.




n o m a d i c - a s t r o p h o g r a p h y