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Midsouth Stargaze 2013

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#1 skyquest25

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:36 AM

I haven't seen anything posted recently on this upcoming event in Mississippi, is anyone going ? Is this event worth the travel. Mind you any time to venture on dedicated nights of astronomical viewing has its own value, but any advice on this one?

#2 skyquest25

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:33 PM

Well this doesn't look promising :scratchhead: :scratchhead:

#3 skyquest25

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:51 AM

Well I'm going, April 10-13th, 2013 ! Suppose someone has to have something to say about this location :)

We are gearing up for Rainwater Observatory's annual Midsouth Stargaze and Astronomy Conference coming up April 10-13, 2013! This event attracts amateur and professional astronomers from all over the United States. It is held under one of the darkest skies in the southeastern United States just off the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway near the village of French Camp, Mississippi. We have a large camping area with a pavilion, picnic tables, men’s and women’s showers and bathrooms, electrical outlets on the hill, 14 bed air conditioned bunk house, grill and two campfire pit areas with surround seating. There is a Bed and Breakfast, Council House Cafe, Lodge, Memphis Guest House and other additional lodging located within a mile of the observatory.

Join us this year for fun, fellowship, observing, and fascinating presentations by astronomers such as galaxy researcher, Dr. William Keel from the University of Alabama, comet researcher, Dr. Donna Pierce from Mississippi State University, extra solar planet researcher, Dr. Angelle Tanner from Mississippi State University and much more!

#4 bicparker

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:21 AM

I haven't been there in a few years, so this information may be dated. The observing area is really quite nice with only a couple of minor light domes (I'd call it Bortle 2). This is a smaller star party (probably between 100-150 people) unless things have changed. It is pretty well facilitated for its size.

There was power on the field when I was there, but the access to it was limited and they had some stability problems with it, so I would prepare to bring your own battery power.

The observing field is positioned on the side of a gentle rolling knoll with the main observatory building off to one side.

I tent camped when I was there before and it was comfortable. The bunkhouse is pretty decent, but I don't know how the housing there is decided. The meal plan they had was average camp food, but nothing bad. You might want to bring your own snacks. This is a fairly remote location, so don't anticipate that you can shop for anything you forgot or wish you had. Plan ahead for that.

#5 skyquest25

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:40 AM

Thank you bicparker , that's good information. I seen it was fairly remote but didn't really know how remote. A little bit of info goes a long way ! :thewave:

#6 LivingNDixie

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:53 AM

This star party is on my list, just haven't made it out to it yet.

#7 bicparker

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:06 AM

I should have added that many of the attendees have been going there for several years and so the party has a really nice "family" feel to it (and they are very welcoming to newcomers).

#8 skyquest25

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:42 AM

I will be taking my daughter with me and this will be her first "larger" star party. I remember my first star party, it was the most awesome thing ever !

I look forward to meeting everyone that goes, I'll report on here to let everyone know how great it was ! Thanks again bicparker.

Perhaps we'll see you in the future LivingNDixie ! :jump:

#9 Rusty

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:29 PM

I've been several times (Missed last year). Rainwater Observatory has had a new director since 2011, so I don't know what the programs will be.

In the past, there have been several activities for kids.

There are a few RV sites behind the lecture hall/bunkhouse with 30A outlets. Unfortunately, the electrician Siamesed some, so RVs have to hold consumption down to keep from tripping the breakers.

Limited wi-fi is available.

The Council House Restaurant (just off the Trace) has great food.

As had been mentioned, observing field power is scattered, so bring extension cords. Sites are all over the hill. Rainwater has a couple of its scopes available for public use. Hopefully, the big scope in the dome has its software issues sorted out.

Expect a pleasant time!

#10 skyquest25

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:50 AM

Thanks Rusty ! Again, the info and tips always help. Nothing worse than arriving at a remote location without the necessary goods.

Limited wifi ? Could you expound on that, do you mean as far as range or availability ?

#11 Rusty

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 07:03 PM

The wi-fi is routed through French Camp Academy's pipe. There is censoring software which blocks access to a significant number of sites, including many that are inoffensive. Range is adequate, and is available on the hill.

I think FCA has a T1 pipe; the system was upgraded some time ago because the Sangre scope (in the observatory) was to be linked to Wayne Rising's Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network.

#12 skyquest25

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:52 AM

Oh ok, I understand now. That's great shouldn't hinder wifi calling, gmail, and weather which is all I need it for. Not that concerned about any web browsing, plenty of reading material on my tablet to keep me busy on the off observing hours. :jump:






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