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1st annual Great Southwest Star Party

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#1 Tony_Gondola

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 12:55 PM

The New Mexico Museum of Space History will be hosting the first annual Great Southwest Star Party, May 31st through June 2nd.

 

Located in sunny and warm southern New Mexico you can expect comfortable conditions in a clean and amenity filled location. We have paved accommodations for RV’s and large tents as well as 2 and 3 bay spots for car camping. Indoor restrooms will be available 24 hours a day, food vendors will be on-site. Access to the museum, 4K theater and local attractions along with the comradery of fellow observers will make this a fun and unique event.

 

Sky conditions should be very favorable with average highs jut touching a dry 90F, nighttime lows averaging around 60F, precipitation zero. Nestled in the foothills of the Sacramento Mountains at an altitude of 4797 ft. the museum site offers clear skies with sweeping views of the Tularosa Basin and White Sands National Park. 

 

For more information and registration go to:

 

https://spacehalloff...gistration.html


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#2 petert913

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 01:26 PM

I would love to attend.  Probably not in the cards, but I would love to !!



#3 Tony_Gondola

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 10:10 AM

We would love to have you! Take a break from clouds and rain!!



#4 MikeTahtib

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 09:08 AM

Something like this is definitely on my bucket list.  I would love to observe from the southwest at high altitude, but don't know where to go that is optimal & safe for setting up a telescope.  I don't know if I'll make it this year.  I've been debating having my mirror refigured, so it probably won't be ready in time.  Bt I hope you do this annually, and I hope it is very successful.



#5 Tony_Gondola

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 03:11 PM

Thanks for he good words!



#6 Tony_Gondola

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 09:59 AM

Update

For anyone wishing to have a display table or to attend as a vendor should submit the following form:

 

https://form.jotform.../90864558342162



#7 MikeTahtib

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 02:22 AM

I just googled it. It's a 34 hour drive each way. frown.gif  And I thought Cherry Springs was a long trip at 7 hours.

I will have to start planning the Great Southwest Star Party Road Trip for next year.



#8 WSMIKE

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 07:57 PM

Ok

Signed in, family coming to event from Pacific north west.  can you elaborate on resources, bugs, temps changes, and wind? Also, any suggestions about beating the heat, I normally don't dry camp in the summer. ( I know this isn't summer, but this more summer than we normally camp in )  Any of the locals have suggestions for restaurants similar to Las cruces's to La Posta (my last visit was in 79)..  



#9 BarbMoore

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 05:50 PM

Just FYI, this is nowhere near a dark sky site.  This is in the middle of a town of 30,000 and the sky glow is horrible.  A better place to do any observing can be found 8 miles south at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park.  The museum is wonderful but not for hosting an astronomy event.  Solar would be fine but nighttime has horrible viewing from the parking lot.  Take it from someone that has tried to support the museum for many years. 


Edited by BarbMoore, 29 April 2019 - 05:54 PM.

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#10 Tony_Gondola

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 12:10 PM

wsmike, I believe we talked on the phone but I would like to cover your questions for everyone. Since we will be at the museum you'll have 24 hour access to restrooms and a shower, no porta potties! Food will be available on site and provided as part of the daytime tours. As far as bugs go we are remarkably bug free so in general it's not a problem, no worries about mosquitoes. For weather, expect it to be sunny with highs in the high 80's to low 90's. Night time temps will drop to about 60 F, humidity is very low making things very comfortable day and night.

 

On sky conditions, we are obviously making a compromise between dark skies and museum / local amenities. We are located on the edge of Alamogordo, in the Sacramento mountain foothills at an elevation of 1435 meters. From Atlas 2015 data our SQM at the zenith is 20.81 mag./arc sec^2, bortle class 4.

 

https://www.lightpol...rs=B0FFFFFTFFFF.

 

Nearby Oliver Lee State park is slightly better with an SQM of 21.81, bortle class 3. This doesn't take into account the fact that we'll be turning off all local outdoor lighting on the museum site as well as the street lighting on Scenic Drive, 1/3rd of a mile to our south. We have done this in the past with a considerable improvement in conditions. In addition to that we will be having a special Light's Out Alamogordo event on Saturday night after 10:00 pm. This should improve conditions further while raising awareness of the light pollution issue that faces us all.



#11 Tony_Gondola

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 01:03 PM

Another event update:

 

We are pleased to announce that our speakers for Saturday and Sunday night will be Chris Orwoll, executive director of the New Mexico Museum of Space History and Dr. Karen Kinemuchi, support astronomer for the Apache Peak observatory.



#12 BarbMoore

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 07:24 PM

BTW, Alamogordo can't pick up the trash so I doubt they will be turning off any lights.  Also, the museum is not on the edge of Alamogordo; it's on a small hill in the middle of the city.



#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 03:07 PM

Tony:

 

When I first saw your post about the Star Party, I looked up the site with on a dark sky map and came up with a number similar to yours, 20.81. I was concerned. I am more concerned now.

 

In your comments, you mentioned the nearby spot at 21.81 as being slightly darker.. it's much darker, the scale is logarithmic so that's a full magnitude .Your skies are 2.5 times brighter. That's a major difference.

 

On that same map, my sky is listed at 21.64 mpsas.  I measure it with an SQM-L several times every night. and while on a very good night. I see 21.5, directly overhead, I have never seen 21.6. More typical is 21.3 and I have seen 21.0.

 

In my experience, traveling the southwest, the meter reads 0.3 magnitudes brighter than the map.

 

My guess is that your skies are about 20.5-20.6 overhead. 

 

My concern is that people will travel quite a distance, expecting truly dark skies and be disappointed.  20.6 or even 20.8 skies are relatively bright, particularly when that's overhead.

 

I would recommend purchasing a Uniheadron SQM-L and taking some readings during several dark nights overhead an in at least the 4 cardinal directions at 45 degrees elevation. Then you will have documented the skies and participants will have reasonable expectations and hopefully not be disappointed.

 

Jon Isaacs


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#14 BarbMoore

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 08:12 PM

Thank you Jon for your input.  As an amateur astronomer in the city of Alamogordo, we hold monthly public outreach events at the Oliver Lee Memorial State Park (8 miles south of Alamogordo) because the skies are considerably darker than anywhere in the city of Alamogordo.  I can appreciate what the museum is trying to do but hosting a 3 day event and advertising it as a dark site area is misleading. 

 

Alamogordo has had a great dark sky ordinance but has not been strictly enforced for many, many years.


Edited by BarbMoore, 10 May 2019 - 08:14 PM.

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#15 Tony_Gondola

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 02:48 PM

Update:

 

The final schedule has been posted at:

 

https://spacehalloff...gistration.html

 

Our opening night speaker Dave Dooling will be presenting on the history and design of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope Now nearing completion atop Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii.

 

Saturday's speaker Karen Kinemuchi will be presenting "Apache Point Observatory: Gazing at the Milky Way and Beyond".

 

And finally Sunday night's speaker, Chris Orwell will be presenting “Anecdotes of Apollo”.

 

The Sunspot Apache Peak tour is filling up fast so register now to insure getting a spot in the vans. We still have room for the White Sands trip. 

We have moved that tour to a morning slot to avoid the hot part of the day.

 

Currently the 10 day forecast is looking good with Friday coming in as sunny with a high of 89 F and a low of 60 F



#16 helpwanted

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 01:54 PM

There is no such thing as "first annual"... it's not annual until the second year  laugh.gif 


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#17 Tony_Gondola

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 11:21 AM

https://painintheenglish.com/case/925/




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