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Black Forest Star Party 2019 in Northern Pennsylvania

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#1 CometChaser2013

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 11:15 AM

Black Forest Star Party (BFSP)
Cherry Springs State Park (near Coudersport and Galeton), PA
September 27-29th 2019
www.bfsp.org

 

 

Greetings,

 

Registration for BFSP 2019 will open next month; May 1st for mail-in registrations, May 15th for online via PayPal. Click on our Register page

from our web site (www.bfsp.org) starting on those dates for more details.

 

For the latest from BFSP follow us on Twitter @black_forest_sp

 

Thanks!

 

Bill Gartner

BFSP 2019 Star Party chairperson


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#2 steveastrouk

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 09:14 PM

Black Forest Star Party (BFSP)
Cherry Springs State Park (near Coudersport and Galeton), PA
September 27-29th 2019
www.bfsp.org

 

 

Greetings,

 

Registration for BFSP 2019 will open next month; May 1st for mail-in registrations, May 15th for online via PayPal. Click on our Register page

from our web site (www.bfsp.org) starting on those dates for more details.

 

 

Can you confirm the keynote speaker ?



#3 Pilot87178d

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 10:26 AM

Sent in my check, but wonder why the two-channel means of paying the fee?  Is it safe to wait until mid-month and risk the event being sold out?  Thinking you want to reduce the amt of rake-off from PayPal? 

Thx!

Marc 



#4 CometChaser2013

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Posted 06 May 2019 - 08:57 AM

Sent in my check, but wonder why the two-channel means of paying the fee?  Is it safe to wait until mid-month and risk the event being sold out?  Thinking you want to reduce the amt of rake-off from PayPal? 

Thx!

Marc

 

 

The mail-in option is provided for those that want to attend but can't or don't make online purchases.

 

Bill



#5 reddog1972

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 11:15 AM

Just a heads-up.... online registration opened today for BFSP!


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#6 Alvan Clark

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 11:58 AM

This is the latest one I can recall. Probably should have been late August. Risk of sub freezing weather overnight.



#7 scottmm2012

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 12:07 PM

Most likely major park visitation due to Labor Day Holiday, last summer hurrah.  Later new moon in September is probably better to reduce visitor conflict.



#8 Alvan Clark

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 02:42 PM

They've never had it on Labor Day weekend? They could add an extra night that way.



#9 George N

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 03:34 PM

They've never had it on Labor Day weekend? They could add an extra night that way.

The park fills up on Labor Day -- and the Park gets the fees -- not the star party organizers. The Park needs the revenue to justify its existence.

 

Also, over the last few years the park has been getting as many as 2,000 people show up for their "free astronomy programs" - so they are adding extra days to try to spread that out - at least on major holidays. Two years ago when I was there over 4th of July they ran two programs over the weekend..... plus the Park was filled - both the Astronomy Field and the 30 campsites.

 

Last year at CSSP the 'free astronomy program' people spied out the food vendor on 'our' side of the road -- and hit them with such a big crowd that they ran out of food! You could say - why did they let that happen? Answer: only one or two rangers and 2000 people to control!



#10 peleuba

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:35 PM

This is the latest one I can recall. Probably should have been late August. Risk of sub freezing weather overnight.

 

Yes, its the latest one I ever remember and I have been to all of them.  But, disagree with you that August is a better date - from my POV, its not.  Longer nights and cooler temps in late September.  When I saw the dates for 2019 - I think they were announced just after the 2018 BFSP - I was thrilled.  Late September through first week of November is the driest time of the year in the mid-Atlantic.  At Cherry Springs, you really do have to dress for three seasons.

 

As I can recall, some of the best BFSP's have been in September.  In 2001, occurring just after 9/11, the viewing conditions were superb, perhaps the best I have ever seen at CSSP.  There was no airline traffic and the transparency was superb.  In 2002, occurring in early September, we had the Aurora for several hours on Saturday night.   In 2007, Ed Ting gave the keynote and it was chilly, but clear - occurring in mid-September.  There are other examples - I just beleive that late  September offers a better chance for clear and transparent skies. 

 

Anyway, just some historical perspective.  

 

It will be interesting to see how cold it gets.


Edited by peleuba, 23 May 2019 - 09:07 AM.

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#11 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 12:01 AM

Here's a photo that I took of the great Saturday night aurora in 2002.  The 2002 BFSP was one of the very best star parties that I've ever attended.

 

Dave Mitsky

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  • 1-Aurora_at_the_2002_BFSP_-_Prominent_Rays.jpg

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#12 Pilot87178d

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 10:12 AM

Will be coming up from Central Maryland for this year's event.  Considering renting a pop-up camper for the weekend to mitigate the potential cold evenings and the repeated short walks to the Restrooms.

Anyone have experience with camper rentals along either of the two main routes (Western route through Altoona and up, or Eastern route up through Harrisburg)?

Clear skies.....

Marc 

 



#13 MSJK1171

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 11:22 PM

Just a heads-up.... online registration opened today for BFSP!

I might see you there this year. Got rained out last year. 


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#14 George N

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 06:40 PM

This is the latest one I can recall. Probably should have been late August. Risk of sub freezing weather overnight.

I don't know about 'sub-freezing' air temp -- but by 2 AM yesterday (6/4/19) at Cherry Springs I had ice all over my equipment cases -- and woke up around 9 AM to a tent encased in ice!  In early June! At least stuff radiating to the sky was below freezing.

 

It could very-well be in the 30's in late September. However, I've been to Cherry Springs 3 times in October - and only one time featured below-freezing temps -- and that was well after midnight. I've seen warm nights in April -- and snow in late May.

 

It's all part of the "fun of astronomy" in the mountains of North-central PA.


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#15 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 02:54 PM

On one night in May a number of years ago the low temperature at the park was 24 degrees Fahrenheit.


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#16 peleuba

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 02:31 PM

Will be coming up from Central Maryland for this year's event.  Considering renting a pop-up camper for the weekend to mitigate the potential cold evenings and the repeated short walks to the Restrooms.

Anyone have experience with camper rentals along either of the two main routes (Western route through Altoona and up, or Eastern route up through Harrisburg)?

Clear skies.....

Marc 

 

I don't know what you mean by "central Maryland" (maybe maybe Frederick or Westminster?)  But I live 20 miles due north of Baltimore in Hunt Valley/Cockeysville area and have been traveling to Cherry Springs since the mid 1990's.  I have tried many different routes to Cherry Springs and this is the quickest:

 

  • Pick up Route 11/15 north of Harrisburg and take it all the way to I-80.
  • Get on I-80 west for 17 miles to Exit 192.
  • Make a left hand turn at end of exit onto E Valley Rd and travel about 1 mile.
  • Make right hand turn onto Route 880 toward Jersey Shore (little town in, PA)
  • Follow 880 until the end - and make a left on Route 44 and proceed into Jersey Shore.
  • You'll go over a green bridge as you come into town.
  • Make a right hand turn at the first stop light onto Main St.
  • In about 1.5 miles, take I-220 West/44 North
  • In about 2 miles takes exit 120  on to 44 North.
  • Stay on 44 for the next 65 miles or so.  The park will be on the left hand side of Route 44.

 

Regarding a camper, I spent the first fifteen years or so using a tent, then graduated to a popup camper and for the last 5 I use a Casita fiberglass  camper.  By far, the Casita is the best star party accessory I have ever purchased.  So, I highly recommended you renting a pop-up.  It will make the experience better, for sure.    I don't have any experience renting campers, but do know it happens all the time.  And, as someone who tows a camper, I would recommend you obtain it prior to leaving for the trip and not pick it up "on the road" to the star party.  


Edited by peleuba, 09 June 2019 - 02:35 PM.

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#17 Pilot87178d

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 06:53 PM

Paul-

By "central", I mean pretty much equidistant btw the two routes you describe.  I tend to go up one route and back the other, alternating each year.; total "map time" difference is 2 mins....4:45 vs 4:47. 

Will likely do as you recommend and rent prior to leaving, or this time go up the western route and see what the big dealer in Altoona has to offer.  Will ensure my camping gear is loaded in so no forced bad choices need to occur.  And, that Casita you have must be very quiet with the fiberglass exterior.....looks like a great place to spend the weekend!

 

No matter the weather, there are very few places with skies like CPSP on a crystal -clear night....am batting about 50/50 with weather over the years, .but when the place is good it is almost overwhelming.  Got to remind my always-stunned self to use dscipline!  And then, up comes the Pleiades to the East and I cave, grab the binos, and just enjoy. 

 

Marc   



#18 Starkid2u

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 12:43 AM

GOT*MY*IN! See you all in late September!



#19 steveastrouk

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 03:16 PM

Keynote speaker this year is....

 

MEL BARTELS

 

http://bfsp.org/2019-speakers/


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#20 droid

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 12:25 AM

Here's a photo that I took of the great Saturday night aurora in 2002.  The 2002 BFSP was one of the very best star parties that I've ever attended.

 

Dave Mitsky

OMG , I was there, best aurora I've  ever seen  

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#21 CometChaser2013

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 04:55 PM

As of this evening, there are less than 50 open slots available for BFSP 2019!

 

If you are planning to attend, but have not registered, now is the time. Registration will close very soon.

 

 

For the latest from BFSP follow us on Twitter @black_forest_sp

 

Thanks!

 

Bill Gartner

BFSP 2019 Star Party chairperson


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#22 Skywatchr

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 08:10 AM

As of this evening, there are less than 50 open slots available for BFSP 2019!

 

If you are planning to attend, but have not registered, now is the time. Registration will close very soon.

 

 

For the latest from BFSP follow us on Twitter @black_forest_sp

 

Thanks!

 

Bill Gartner

BFSP 2019 Star Party chairperson

 

I just registered today (July 24) for 2 adults via PP.  I hope I made it in time!



#23 Skywatchr

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 08:16 AM

Here's a photo that I took of the great Saturday night aurora in 2002.  The 2002 BFSP was one of the very best star parties that I've ever attended.

 

Dave Mitsky

 

I was there for this one too!  I think I was one of the first ones, or even the first one to spot the "glow" to the north as it was getting dark and started telling people.  It was hard to see with not being completely dark yet, but the color gave it away. It wasn't long after until the first "spike" lit up, the show had begun, and the "oohs and ahhhs" rang out.  There was another night like that too not long after. Maybe 2004?  I remember a guy calling his wife in Jersey and she was seeing it too as a testament to how bright it was.



#24 peleuba

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 03:15 PM

I just registered today (July 24) for 2 adults via PP.  I hope I made it in time!

 

Anyone know the condition of the field?  Lots of mud, ruts and the like leftover from the Cherry  Springs Star Party.



#25 George N

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 03:37 PM

Anyone know the condition of the field?  Lots of mud, ruts and the like leftover from the Cherry  Springs Star Party.

 

I was there June 29 thru July 1. Some ruts still there, but mud mostly gone. The field was firm over most of the area.

 

I was concerned enough to call Lyman Run a day or two before, and they called back to say they had had little rain and the field was firm.

 

A friend was on the astronomy field with a Girl Scout group last weekend -- They were totally alone, despite several hours of dark before the last-quarter moon came up. He did not have any "mud" issues.

 

BFSP is a long way off -- and the best source of info on conditions is the Ranger office at Lyman Run.

 

My Flickr Album of photos from June 29 -> July 1st is here: https://www.flickr.c...157709499635516

 

Nevertheless - I think those ruts will be there for years. I always get out and walk the area before pulling my vehicle onto the field.


Edited by George N, 24 July 2019 - 03:39 PM.



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