Grand Canyon Star Party, June 8 - 15, 2013
Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:34 PM
Amateur astronomers with a telescope and love of the sky to share, and the interested public of all ages, are invited to experience the beautiful Arizona nights in an exploration of the heavenly Grand Canyon skies. Not an astronomer? Drop in for an unforgettable and fabulous vacation for families, singles, and seniors.
GCSP will be held concurrently on both the North and South Rims. Vistiors to the park are free to show up at their leisure, and observe through any or all telescopes. Astronomers choosing to set up for the event need to register in advance with the appropriate coordinator below. The South Rim can accomodate 80 or more telescopes, and we have not had to limit South Rim attendance thus far. The dozen or so North Rim slots on the Lodge veranda, however, usually are accounted for by the end of February.
In general, volunteer astronomers are responsible for securing their own lodging, and, due to the nature of the venues for both rims, telescopes generally need to be set up and taken down each night. Please see the North Rim site for unique arrangements for that venue.
Web sites and contact information are shown below. Please contact Steve for the North Rim, or me for the South Rim, if you are interested in attending or for questions you might have.
Coordinator, North Rim,Grand Canyon Star Party
53750 W. Prickley Pear Rd.
Maricopa, AZ 85239
E-mail: fester00 [at] hotmail.com
Grand Canyon Star Party - North Rim
Coordinator, South Rim, Grand Canyon Star Party
P.O. Box 457
Cortaro, AZ 85652
E-mail: gcsp [at] tucsonastronomy.org
Phone: 520 546-2961
Grand Canyon Star Party - South Rim
Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:59 AM
Posted 24 November 2012 - 11:01 AM
Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:07 PM
With the way the lunation works in June 2013, we had no choice. To do it the previous week would be a couple of days too early for training the summer park aides, and the next third quarter would push us too close to July 4 preparations for the park. But, that means that with New Moon on the first night, by the end of the week the visitors will have some nice moon views both day and night, and some possible moon set in the Canyon opportunities in early evening.
And we'll have Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter all day, and Saturn until early AM so should be a good week for the day time astronomers not showing solar views and Saturn to see how many weepy eyes we can get.
So, if you can take care of the weather, we'll have a good week.
Posted 25 November 2012 - 08:21 AM
the GCSP is the best, most enjoyable, star party I have ever attended
the only negative is so much to do during the day,
I am too tired to observe at night
-no need to drive anywhere with the buses
-solar scopes set up everywhere
and then the night sky
I spent hours staring at Omega Centauri from the North Rim
but get your lodging early
Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:25 PM
Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:53 PM
Is the North Rim Star Party still being held on the patio of the lodge? I love the dark skies on the North Rim, but they had all those yellow bulbs burning on the patio all night.
The park service now turns out all of the lights on the veranda during the star party. They are set on a timer and do come back on at about 12:30am, but the veranda is dark during the star party....and the skies are amazing (as you know). Few things I've seen with the naked eye can match watching the Sagittarius Milky Way rise in the east while you're staring across the Grand Canyon to see it.
Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:15 AM
It is sometimes funny to see the reactions to the rising of the summer Milky Way. Even some of the astronomers, new to that environment, think it's a cloud bank rolling in and start to take down their setups. I had a visitor once who insisted it was clouds. I showed him the star field through the big dob, and he insisted that the stars were in FRONT of the clouds. The crowd around us really enjoyed that conversation.
And thanks for the commercial, Ed. Very well stated. Try doing it as we did the last two years with three grandkids along who never seem to need sleep. This will be our tenth year attending, and I've only seen and done about a tenth of what I want to eventually see and do during the day.
On the South Rim, we have plenty of room for more volunteers. Come on out and join us and see how many lives you can touch.
Posted 20 December 2012 - 05:57 PM
Can't wait -- we have our reservations made. I know of an additional 2 astronomers coming up with our RLD group. We should have about a dozen telescopes.
I'll use the links & get our offical astronomer registration to you in the next week or so.
Posted 20 December 2012 - 06:07 PM
Posted 03 March 2013 - 07:34 PM
of the Grand Canyon Star Party. GCSP '13 is the 23nd annual collaboration between the National Park Service and astronomers from around North America to bring astronomy outreach to Park visitors. The event is held concurrently on both the North Rim, coordinated by the Saguaro Astronomy Club, and the South Rim, coordinated by TAAA. The level of public interest and involvement, and the opportunity to make major contributions to public education and awareness, is profound. And the visitors tend to disappear around 10:30 PM so personal observing objectives at 7000 feet and dark skies are available as long as you can stand it.
And Ed J. above has a great commercial for daytime activities.
For North Rim information, please see the link above.
For South Rim information, please see the South Rim link above or email me at link below.
To register as a volunteer for the South Rim, please send me an email at the link below.
One of our regular observers, Dr. Alan Delman, at the Grand Canyon Annular Eclipse, was building a solar filter at the Visitor Center when he was approached by a stranger who asked what was going on. He told him about the eclipse about to occur, and a public star party we were putting on afterward. Alan was asked, "You volunteers are working with the public at night as well?" to which he replied "Half the Park is After Dark". Little did Alan know he was talking to the new Park superintendent. Now I'm seeing that phrase pop up in Park publicity material.
Come join in for a great experience. And, more importantly, you never know what one life you'll touch.
Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:12 PM
Sigh...without the two granddaughters(they have jobs now!) I'll be actually employed.
Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:45 PM
I would like to come up with my video system for a couple of days. Is there AC power available in the observing area and have you thought about establishing an isolation site for folks using video screens? Don't want to mess up anyone's night vision.
Any sign of ranger support?
Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:31 AM
Oh, you'll love the answers. Not.
First, we have only ever had one person do non-eyeball at the eyepiece, a coworker of mine, and he only shows up about once every three years. However, he does pure imaging with a 9.25" Nexstar at sundown, then processes and links the image to the object on a planetarium display of the sky on a laptop. He does it with a boatload of batteries which he has not a clue how to correctly manage.
No A/C available. We are in a fairly remote parking lot and generators in the park other than the campground are not permitted, nor is it possible to get A/C the 300+ feet to the closest outlet because it is a single 30 amp service and with 70 powered scopes out there, the local safety folks don't want ANY wire/cable on the ground in the dark.
As far as isolation, we're pretty compressed but ad-hoc. Pretty easy to get there early enough and set up on an edge so if there is any glare, it's directed outward, or set up in the small permanent area at the north end, again facing away from the few big iron instruments we let stay set up for the duration. I have a 3M privacy screen on my monitor, and a CompuShade housing around it. Zero visibility outside of 15 degrees from straight on. This year, including you, we will have three video setups; mine and one other will be Mallincam Juniors. The other guy uses his a lot for outreach. Where I set up, and where the other guy will set up, easy for non-interference with other observers. I'll be using two scopes, and with luck my granddaughters will do the real work - an 18" Teeter, probably for purely visual, and the 10" SCT with the Junior. Visitor traffic only lasts for about two and a half hours, so with my two 35 AH deep cycles and an 800 watt inverter for the laptop, I should be able to go a couple of nights even though I recharge everything at night with a Battery Defender. Plus, the granddaughter that will run the 10" is in her fourth year with it, and she'd be happy if the laptop died. She's great with the visitors at the eyepiece and running the Atlas. And the other granddaughter who runs the 18", when I was in the hospital with pneumonia last fall and a 20% survival prediction, sent me a sweet email asking if she could just take the scope now. Sheesh.
If you'll be attentding, send me an email to the gcsp address below. That's how I automate sending out 100+ registration packages and keep track of things.
As far as ranger support, it is usually awesome but I just haven't had time to ping our lead Ranger, Marker Marshall, yet. Last year we had three full time Rangers (Marker, Mike Weaver, and the Interpretive Astronomy Ranger from Desert View) and four Ranger Aides to help, fantastic support. We volunteers may have to do a bit more than usual, like moving a sign or two around and setting up the day pylons, but we always did this at Yavapai and it only takes six or seven minutes. The last three years the rangers have been allowed to schedule their hours to support us through 11:30 PM, long after the last visitor has gone.
Send me an email to the gcsp address below, and you're in. And don't try to bring logic to the Federal Government; this is the largest National Park, and making anything happen is like herding cats or picking up mercury with a fork. They have a highly developed risk management process. BUT they cover us as National Park Service official volunteers for liability and medical, so we get what we get.
Posted 12 March 2013 - 01:43 AM
Had to put the TV on the ground because it was threatening to blow over and take the table with it. Chairs did blow over. Then the battery for my TV died after about 90 minutes. What really impressed me was that at the Yavapai Lodge there was no wind at all.
I think that I've heard that there is much less wind at the new site.
I'll have to think about power.
Posted 12 March 2013 - 03:32 PM
Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:39 PM
Posted 04 April 2013 - 11:14 AM
Is there a link for information like where everything will be set up and such so I know where to go and when?
Didn't realize it was at the north rim as well. We'll be camping at the north rim a month afterwards, but maybe we'll do the star party at the north rim next year!
Posted 04 April 2013 - 03:00 PM
General information is at the South Rim URL in the first post in this thread.
If you are going to be one of the volunteer astronomers, you need to register with me at
gcsp [at] tucsonastronomy.org
so I can get you the information and forms you'll need for the park.
If you will be a visitor, just show up whenever you wish during the week. This is a public outreach event, but most visitors evaporate by about 10:30 PM so we get to have our own fun after that.
Posted 04 April 2013 - 03:52 PM
I have a C11, but no battery system for power (I run off my camper when we're out camping with no electric hookup). So I think I'll just be a visitor this year at least.
Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:44 PM