Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

2019 Stellafane Convention

star party
  • Please log in to reply
84 replies to this topic

#26 Tom Dugan

Tom Dugan

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 260
  • Joined: 31 Jul 2007
  • Loc: Tidewater Maryland

Posted 12 July 2019 - 07:16 AM

As a newbie I'm wondering where to camp as well, so a CN spot would work for me. I'll be getting in Wednesday afternoon in time for the Thursday workshop.

 

Also, I'm bringing a couple of TALs and won't have room for my usual solar observing rig. If anyone is interested in setting up their own refractor for the solar observing using my Daystar Chromosphere and ERF, I'll make it available.

 

(Along the trees on the east side would seem to be the most desirable place, maybe?)



#27 George N

George N

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5459
  • Joined: 19 May 2006
  • Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY

Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:07 AM

George, does the area between your truck and the rope fence get filled up with tents and/or observers, or is it open space?

 

I'm wondering if that could be a potential CN gathering spot and perhaps tenting area?    I've usually camped down nearer the pavillion, near a spot often claimed by Terra, down near a big oak tree on the amphitheater side of the road, but it's a bit slanty down there..... (and T is 'camping' at a B&B in town this year.....)

 

Bottom line: The entire area, like everywhere else at Stellafane, is NOT ideal, but fills in to the 'too-packed point' with people who mostly know each other and have been using the site for years. It has some benefits, and some bad points.

 

Looking at that picture of mine - I see that it was taken either very early (likely) or late in the Convention when most people were NOT there - it is usually not that empty. The entire area fills up fast - half full on Thursday - and with good weather - packed by noon or so on Friday. There are no flat areas - meaning bring leveling boards for your scope - especially big Dobs - and maybe a shovel too.

 

My truck/trailer is parked with the truck in the 'day visitor parking area' -- while the trailer is behind the rope in the camping/observing area. The Dobs are set up just North of the parking area rope. The area behind my vehicle is about half vehicle parking and half tenting/observing. Further to the right of the photo - there is another parking area used by the local campers - the entrance is near the dumpsters (very difficult turn in) - but it gets packed (hard to leave during the daytime) and the grass can get slippery in the rain - best used by 4x4 vehicles - still people pack in there. You need to haul your stuff up the hill - but we take that rope down at the end and just drive up the hill for packing on Sunday - if the grass or mud permits.

 

The roping in this area is sometimes set up by 'volunteers' - and changes from year-to-year - so the relative sizes of the areas keeps changing and you never know what to expect when arriving. For the last 4 years at least they have expanded the parking and reduced the camping/observing - based I guess on the year when tons of locals came to hear the Saturday program by Bean, the Moonwalker. There was not enough parking for non-campers. Since then, they have this huge parking area that often goes half-filled, while the tents and scopes in the 'camping area' are packed in too tight. One year it was so bad that we moved the rope line - and another year we took two of them down after people kept tripping over them in the dark. They just thru some of the tree slash from blowdowns/cutdowns into the very best shady camping spots - making them unusable - hope that is fixed this year.  I still hear rumors that the STMs want to convert the whole area into parking - even tho what they have now is only half used.

 

Also -- flat area at Stellafane? Where??  :)

 

On really old maps this area is named "Turned Edge" (as in defective mirrors) -- because the far Eastern part drops off very steeply to a old road that they closed off about 6 years ago. The area is NOT ideal for telescopes or camping because of the slope. I've had friends roll down the hill in their tents at night. In heavy rain water can run down and make the South soggy. On the other hand -- it is very centrally located - food & presentations South - main Observing Field to the North - close to the bus, bunkhouse, t-shirts, etc. It also has a great view of the Southern Horizon.

 

Set up there is a 'compromise' -- but my friends and I have not found a better location - so far. Most of the observing area in the photo is used by two clubs - my Kopernik Astronomical Society (fewer people coming this year) and the New Hampshire club - that has more people and set up a big communal tent - with grilling station, etc. There are others who 'always' set up there - and know each other - plus there is a group of 'camp followers' who always seem to gravitate to the area after dark ( including the Sky & Tel editors, etc ).



#28 George N

George N

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5459
  • Joined: 19 May 2006
  • Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY

Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:20 AM

Just a bit of information,  Rockland Astronomy - Summer Star Party runs from July 26 to August 4 and is only about 85 miles (2 hour drive from Stellafane).   So spend a couple of nights at SSP on your way to Stellafane.

Hey -- glad that there's no 'conflict' this year. Alas, there are only so many warm dark weekends each summer.

 

I wonder if David Levy still runs his 'Adirondack Astronomy Camp' the week before Stellafane? Many of the attendees - including David - would leave the 'camp' and go directly to Stellafane!

 

I see that this year he is giving a presentation at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake a few days before Stellafane -- and will be visiting the Adirondack Sky Center & Observatory. I believe Al Nagler will be there too.

 

David was doing the Stellafane "Shadowgram" talk for a few years - and did an excellent job - but I guess following his stroke the rugged hills of Stellafane became too much for him, and he stopped coming. Somewhere I have a picture of David, Caroline Shoemaker, and John Dobson sitting together in front of the Pink Clubhouse on a sunny Saturday afternoon . Even after he gave up Stellafane he still ran his 'camp' - because the area was flat, had cabins -- and was even darker. However, I've not heard anything about it in a few years.



#29 George N

George N

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5459
  • Joined: 19 May 2006
  • Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY

Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:51 AM

As a newbie I'm wondering where to camp as well, so a CN spot would work for me. I'll be getting in Wednesday afternoon in time for the Thursday workshop.

 

Also, I'm bringing a couple of TALs and won't have room for my usual solar observing rig. If anyone is interested in setting up their own refractor for the solar observing using my Daystar Chromosphere and ERF, I'll make it available.

 

(Along the trees on the east side would seem to be the most desirable place, maybe?)

Camping and observing at Stellafane -- the once-a-year question as late July approaches!  wink.gif

 

It is on a mountain in Vermont - meaning - rocky, no place is flat, there's lots of trees, it is difficult to drive in/out.

 

Refer to this map: https://stellafane.o...east_5-3-17.pdf

 

Since you have 'small' telescopes (at least to an Obsession 20 owner - but I use to bring a 127mm APO too) you have more choices than I do.

 

Are you willing to camp separate from your scopes? If so - set them up on the McGregor observing field - and camp someplace under the trees.

 

The camping areas shown on the lower right of the map (Southeast) are flat and nice for camping, and the daytime buss does loop down there - but there's only limited 'holes' thru the trees to observe 'down there' (my friends call that area "the hole" because it is the lowest part of the property.) This is where they make the big RVs go - nice spot to set up - but boy - I would NOT want to be driving a class-A motorhome down in there - or out - especially in the rain or storms!

 

One of the nicest spots - perhaps the nicest of all for camping (but no observing) is the area at the top of the map (North). This road is lower than the McGregor hill and goes thru the woods from the entrance down to the Swap area - with some really nice "campsites" along the way. There's a steep path up from that area to the McGregor - and many of the folks setting up big Dobs, etc, - in the McGregor Field camp in that northern area. There is an open field to the North - but it is off the property. I've heard that some folks go over there with binoculars, etc - but 'not recommended'.

 

The area around the Swap Meet is mostly used for camping by those who expect to offer large collections of 'stuff' that they don't want to haul a long distance (parking is non-existent - except for pickup/drop-off). I'm always amazed at the huge offerings some have at the Swap Meet - it seems their 'hobby' is buying old astro-related equipment and selling same at Stellafane!  wink.gif

 

Alas, they have never developed "Stellafane Far East" the area East of the Swap Meet - but at least they do put porta-potties over there. The roads are rough (4x4 is best), you will be pretty isolated from the rest of Stellafane with only a few neighbors, and it can be difficult to find a good spot to set up a scope. Still -- there are intrepid folks who have pioneered that area to the point that they needed the porta-potties.

 

At one time you could camp up on Breezy Hill 'behind' (South of) the Pink Clubhouse - but they now restrict that area to STM Members only - for camping - you can set a scope up there. As a result, over the years, that area has become less-and-less used - almost empty. In my 'early days' at Stellafane (mid/late 1990's) I would set up my scope and even a canopy tent back in that area - mainly because there was AC power. Today the trees have grown higher - cutting off half of Sagittarius, etc - perhaps limiting the area's use. Also, at night - the buss does not run -- so you will have to walk up/down the road to get there. It's one advantage -- it is in theory Stellafane's 'light restricted area' - with no white lights or headlights at all -- supposedly -- 


Edited by George N, 12 July 2019 - 11:20 AM.


#30 roscoe

roscoe

    curmudgeon

  • *****
  • Posts: 10340
  • Joined: 04 Feb 2009
  • Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT

Posted 12 July 2019 - 01:34 PM

excellent overview of the situation, George, thank you!!  And - my apologies, I had forgotten that the area I asked about (below your truck) was your club's usual camping spot.

 

I've played the 'wake up in a ball at the bottom of my tent' game over on the turned edge, so I can check that one off the list..... The area I mentioned between the pavilion and the ampitheatre  was better - I slid around in the tent, but still could roll over without fear in the middle of the night.  Sleeping in my truck in that area was passable, but likely this year the scopes won't be willing to share the space with me......

 

Probably the best thing is for an early arrival to stake out something somewhere and put up a sign of some sort, (isn't there a bulletin board where the T-shirts are sold?) and maybe post it here for Friday arrivals......I won't be able to arrive there before mid-aft Fri at the earliest.



#31 rowdy388

rowdy388

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3502
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Saratoga County, NY

Posted 12 July 2019 - 04:22 PM

Some spots on the top of the amphitheatre certainly are flatter than others but I can try to save a 

couple extra spots next to ours for CN members if I know they're coming. 


Edited by rowdy388, 12 July 2019 - 09:49 PM.


#32 roscoe

roscoe

    curmudgeon

  • *****
  • Posts: 10340
  • Joined: 04 Feb 2009
  • Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT

Posted 12 July 2019 - 07:33 PM

Rowdy and I are PM'ing, and it's looking like he might be able to arrive early enough to claim a location near the top of the amphitheater area, and I've pledged to make a 'Cloudy Nights' signboard to mark the location, and bring along a pop-up roof-thing so folks will have a place in the shade or out of the weather to sit..... (but...bring your own chair....)

 

As always, stay tuned for late details!!

R


  • terraclarke and rowdy388 like this

#33 rowdy388

rowdy388

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3502
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Saratoga County, NY

Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:52 PM

I'll be that weirdo walking around in a Union Civil War cap, another hobby of mine.


  • George N and roscoe like this

#34 Dave Mitsky

Dave Mitsky

    ISS

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 82906
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2002
  • Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth

Posted 13 July 2019 - 02:39 AM

I've only camped on site at Stellafane once and, of course, that was a year with a torrent of Stellarain.


  • George N likes this

#35 George N

George N

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5459
  • Joined: 19 May 2006
  • Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY

Posted 13 July 2019 - 09:18 AM

I'll be that weirdo walking around in a Union Civil War cap, another hobby of mine.

You can walk around with the guy who brings the goat some years...…  ;)


  • rowdy388 likes this

#36 George N

George N

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5459
  • Joined: 19 May 2006
  • Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY

Posted 13 July 2019 - 09:24 AM

I've only camped on site at Stellafane once and, of course, that was a year with a torrent of Stellarain.

 

One of my worst weather years - back when they still had "the tent" -

 

- I **really** wanted to hear the main presentation on Porter at Palomar since I had visited the place a week before. However, the rain was so loud on the tent that I could only hear about 10% of it..... while sitting with my feet in 2 inches of water and running every 15 minutes when the pool on the tent top would drain over the side!

 

I may have even won the raffle that year.... I don't know, because I couldn't hear the numbers when they called them.  << which is why I like the Cherry Springs Star Party's putting the raffle numbers up on the screen!!  >>



#37 PhilH

PhilH

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 621
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Long Island, NY

Posted 14 July 2019 - 04:21 AM

Hi all,

 

Pardon a little self-promotion, but I hope you'll give my 2019 Binocular Observing Olympics (BOO '19) a try.  I've come up with a new list of targets -- some easy, some hard -- and a new pin to go along with it.  The Stellafane web site has the list posted here: Click for the printable Binocular Observing Olympics Object Check List in PDF.  If you already d/l'ed the list more than about a week ago, you should revisit it because I expanded it to include write-ups about each object to accompany the finder charts.

 

At the same time, if you'll be there on Friday, I'm presenting a talk entitled, appropriately, "Two Eyes are Better than One 2019" beginning at 4:00 PM in the Flanders Pavilion, immediately after my buddy Rich Sanderson's presentation "A Dipper Full of Stars."  It's billed as a "Beginner's Talk" because I go through some basic "bino-babble" terminology, but I also discuss optical issues, consumer tips, review some homemade binocular mounts (Stellafane is, after all, an ATM convention), and then review the BOO '19 list.  I hope you'll stop by!

 

Oh, and this year is the 50th anniversary of my first Stellafane!  Yikes!!  1969, my parents brought me (over the objections of my younger brother) to my first Stellafane.  That place has seen me grow from barely a teenager to a curmudgeonly grandfather.  Each year I drive up Breezy Hill Rd, it's quite an emotional roller coaster for me.  Always an amazing experience.

 

Only 18 days to go!  waytogo.gif


  • Dave Mitsky, George N, John O'Hara and 5 others like this

#38 Slartibartfast

Slartibartfast

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 590
  • Joined: 28 May 2008
  • Loc: New Jersey

Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:35 AM

I'm bringing my 25x100's so, I'm game to give BOO '19 a try!  I definitely want to attend the talk.  I missed it last year!


  • PhilH likes this

#39 Slartibartfast

Slartibartfast

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 590
  • Joined: 28 May 2008
  • Loc: New Jersey

Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:39 AM

[...] near the top of the amphitheater area, and I've pledged to make a 'Cloudy Nights' signboard to mark the location, and bring along a pop-up roof-thing so folks will have a place in the shade or out of the weather to sit..... (but...bring your own chair....)[...]


I'll look for you! I was thinking of making a pin or something with my 'Cloudy Nights' name and avatar just so that I can meet some fellow CNers irl.

#40 roscoe

roscoe

    curmudgeon

  • *****
  • Posts: 10340
  • Joined: 04 Feb 2009
  • Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT

Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:17 AM

So.... as one of the cheerleaders for a CN gathering spot, I'm going to step back a bit and let those of you who arrive on Thursday pick out the perfect spot.... and hopefully be able to post that location in time for us Fri arrivals to get the info... and put up some sort of marker..... and I'll bring a handmade sign Fri aft..


  • terraclarke and Augustus like this

#41 George N

George N

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5459
  • Joined: 19 May 2006
  • Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY

Posted 21 July 2019 - 11:51 AM

Looks like "early activity" has already started at Stellafane!

 

I just did a capture of their web-cam pointed 'behind' the Pink Clubhouse -- and there are a few tents and RV's already there!

 

Alas, the long-range weather forecasts all predict more lightning bolts than stars -- all three nights, for the 2019 Convention. There is of course plenty of time for this to change -- but this forecast has been consistent for the last 3 days.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Stella-web.jpg

  • terraclarke and Augustus like this

#42 George N

George N

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5459
  • Joined: 19 May 2006
  • Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY

Posted 21 July 2019 - 12:19 PM

This will be my 25th continuous year attending the Stellafane Telescope Makers' Convention.

 

According to the long-range weather forecasts this will be a "Lightning Boltz & Stella-rains" year - maybe a few holes one night to see M-13 or something? tongue2.gif

 

Yes - it is early - and it could change..... but it makes me think back to my first year - 1995:

 

     I arrived in early evening - maybe 6 PM on Friday, riding with a friend who had been there a few times. The last 25 minutes before getting there - we had been driving thru pounding rain and a thunderstorm, after hours of high heat and humidity, and ever more ominous skies. However, after he parked in this grassy field with tents ( I had no idea were I was ) the rain had stopped - but it was like 85 F, humid, everything was soaked, an there were heavy rumbles of thunder from some nasty clouds. As I tried to remember how to put up my tent, my friend kept laughing at me - standing in a wet field amid rumbling thunder and distant lightning - waving long metal tent polls around - cursing of course!

 

    After dark - still with no idea where I was - I followed my friend - in the re-started rain - to the food tent for some snacks and coffee, and then to "the tent" for the "Friday Night Talks" - open mike - anyone could stand there for 15 minutes - with 35mm slides or "over head projector" slides. The tent was filled, so we stood outside in the rain under our umbrellas listening to the presentations - some great, some OK, some incomprehensible! Around mid-night, rain stopped - we left for our campsite ( Had no idea how to get there ) - after another stop for coffee. My friend, who had not set up his tent, said he would sleep in his van, or outside on a lounge chair! It was so hot & sticky -- I kept sticking to my air mattress. I was woke up 2 or three times by heavy thunderstorms and pounding rain.

 

   I woke on Saturday morning to.... glorious sunshine -- and someone's cat in a cage meowing. I met new friends (many are still good friends), had a great time, and saw maybe 50% of what Stellafane has to offer.

 

  Alas, the clouds came back in the late afternoon - so I did not even bother to set up my telescope. However, there was maybe an hour of clear sky that developed around 10 PM. I had the chance to look thru the brand new McGregor Shuppmann refractor - target Saturn - wonderful view - color free!! << 1995 was the first year for the McGregor >> Later, walking the 'scope field' South of the NcGregor I ran into a long line -- that snaked its way to JohnV's wonderful 32-inch ATM scope - so I waited my turn to see -- the Veil Nebula - Witch's Broom - thru a O-III filter - at the time - it was a totally amazing sight. I stayed up the ladder as long as I could. Very soon thereafter patches of cloud blew in - and soon the sky was gone - but it had been a glorious hour of observing - but the only that weekend.

 

  It was all enough to inspire me to return to Stellafane for another 23 summers - and hopefully I'll be there again soon - no matter the weather.


  • Augustus likes this

#43 terraclarke

terraclarke

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20381
  • Joined: 29 May 2012
  • Loc: Terra Nova Observatory

Posted 26 July 2019 - 11:02 AM

I love Stellafane and hated missing last year, so this year I’m super-stoked about going! I’m leaving tomorrow morning early and will be arriving at the Fullerin Inn on the Common in Chester VT Thursday evening. We’ll be there Friday and Saturday. See ya up on Breezy Hill!

 

:jump:


  • George N, roscoe and Augustus like this

#44 George N

George N

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5459
  • Joined: 19 May 2006
  • Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY

Posted 27 July 2019 - 09:47 AM

I love Stellafane and hated missing last year, so this year I’m super-stoked about going!...….

If you need a "Stellafane Fix" -- Here's my Flickr Album "The big winner in 2018 - a 28-inch F/3.6 truss dob" ( I would love to own this scope!! ): https://www.flickr.c...157697155196532

 

Photos from 'the contest on Breezy Hill', 2018: https://www.flickr.c...157697194441452

 

Photos from "Stellafane East, 2018": https://www.flickr.c...157670379586977

 

Now it's time to start packing -- for Stellafane 2019


  • John Boudreau likes this

#45 Slartibartfast

Slartibartfast

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 590
  • Joined: 28 May 2008
  • Loc: New Jersey

Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:34 PM

It looks like the weather forecast got better!


  • George N and Edward Swaim like this

#46 Dave Mitsky

Dave Mitsky

    ISS

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 82906
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2002
  • Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth

Posted 30 July 2019 - 12:30 AM

https://forecast.wea...667&lat=43.278#


  • George N likes this

#47 roscoe

roscoe

    curmudgeon

  • *****
  • Posts: 10340
  • Joined: 04 Feb 2009
  • Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT

Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:55 AM

Speaking as a person who lives about 60 miles south along the same line of hills....that forecast is about as good as it ever gets around here!!!

The weather dieties are smiling on us this year!


Edited by roscoe, 30 July 2019 - 06:09 AM.

  • George N and Augustus like this

#48 Shane LaPierre

Shane LaPierre

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 239
  • Joined: 17 Apr 2009
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 31 July 2019 - 04:23 PM

Clear Sky Clock is as good as it gets for the Convention smile.gif

Attached Thumbnails

  • clear-sky-clock.png

  • George N likes this

#49 terraclarke

terraclarke

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20381
  • Joined: 29 May 2012
  • Loc: Terra Nova Observatory

Posted 01 August 2019 - 06:11 PM

We’ve arrived and are checked into the Fullerton Inn on the Common in Chester VT, 5 miles west on 11. We’ll be here 3 nights. See Y’all on Breezy Hill tomorrow!


  • roscoe likes this

#50 roscoe

roscoe

    curmudgeon

  • *****
  • Posts: 10340
  • Joined: 04 Feb 2009
  • Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT

Posted 02 August 2019 - 05:53 AM

I'm about to go finish up my chores and and load the truck, I'll be arriving late morning.


  • terraclarke likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: star party



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics