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Black Forest Star Party 2019 in Northern Pennsylvania

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#26 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 08:41 AM

I have never been and hope to get back east to attend in a future year.  Ironically, I grew up in Pgh and never knew about this star party (or any for that matter) until after I moved west and became active in the hobby. From George's photos, it look's like the field has power poles to supply electrical power.  Can someone confirm this?

 

Best Regards,

Curtis (planning for CSSP in '22)


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#27 George N

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 10:09 AM

I have never been and hope to get back east to attend in a future year.  Ironically, I grew up in Pgh and never knew about this star party (or any for that matter) until after I moved west and became active in the hobby. From George's photos, it look's like the field has power poles to supply electrical power.  Can someone confirm this?

 

Best Regards,

Curtis (planning for CSSP in '22)

Yes the "Astronomy Field" (site of the star parties and over-night observing) does have plenty of AC power - limited to "astronomy equipment", laptops, etc - no RV charging. The free short-term area North of the road does not have any amenities other than a nice observing area. It is intended for those who just want to observe, and then leave.

 

The Astronomy Field also has a composting toilet, and during warm seasons - potable water, and a bathroom with heat and red lights. However, for the star parties the organizers bring in porta-potties - because the water supply for the bathroom gets overwhelmed if too many people use it.

 

There are some concrete telescope pads that are very nice - level, and they drain rainwater, and the gravel roads are nice.

 

There is a gate with light block to close at night at the entrance.

 

There is an "emergency contact" phone outside the little ranger station on the North side of the Road.

 

There's limited WiFi -- the Rangers or star party organizers know the password - but my experience is that it gets overwhelmed during star parties.

 

Also - for the star parties - there is usually a 'basic burgers and breakfasts' food vendor.

 

Basically - the Field is an ideal set-up for astronomy - especially with the red light rules, etc. The only real possible improvements I could see would be showers (not gonna happen according to the Ranger - not enough water) and a closer store, gas, and restaurant (but less important during star parties). You can get a shower at Lyman Run State Park - about a 20 to 30 minute drive.

 

During non-star party times - there are lights and AC power in each end of the old log CCC pavilion that imagers often sit in 'processing' during the daytime. During star parties the pavilion is used for the presentations.


Edited by George N, 25 July 2019 - 10:12 AM.

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#28 Pilot87178d

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 01:42 PM

Each time I have been there, AC has been readily available (I generally try to get there on Thursday mornings to still have a decent choice of site on the field and pick up the extra night of viewing).  As back-up, I bring a deep-cycle marine battery to cover all needs during an evening's viewing, just in case.  Will run for several days, if needed.  Too darned far a drive and too many targets to limit my AVX to "manual"!!!  And, dew heaters!!!  And, the gizmos that need charging!!!  And, if you are using Verizon, connections can be slow, sometimes.  AT&T - no signal in the park, but about 20 mins north and the signal starts to re-appear. :-)  

M  


Edited by Pilot87178d, 27 July 2019 - 01:48 PM.


#29 peleuba

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 02:01 PM

 

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.

 

Thanks - Yes, I have seen you walking the area prior to setting up. 

 

Like you and others, I've been going to Cherry Springs since the mid 1990's and at least three times a year since 1999.  I have been there when remnants of hurricanes and tropical storms have rolled through and I have always thought the field drained rather well.  About 12 years ago, around 11:30pm the NWS issued a tornado warning this caused some panic during one Black Forest Star Party.

 

I was at the 2019 Cherry Springs Star Party for the 6 days prior to the SP beginning, it was the most rain in a 6 day period I can recall.

 

Maybe the Woodsman's show on Aug 2, 3, 4 will flatten out the field.  But sometimes the attendees and participants leave it in worse shape then it was prior to the show.  


Edited by peleuba, 29 July 2019 - 03:11 PM.

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#30 George N

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 03:03 PM

Thanks - Yes, I have seen you walking the area prior to setting up. 

 

Like you and others, I've been going to Cherry Springs since the mid 1990's and at least three times a year since 1999.  I have been there when remnants of hurricanes and tropical storms have rolled through and I have always thought the field drained rather well.  About 12 years ago, around 11:30pm the NWS issued a tornado warning this caused some panic at during one Black Forest Star Party.

 

I was at the 2019 Cherry Springs Star Party for the 6 days prior to the SP beginning, it was the most rain in a 6 day period I can recall.

 

Maybe the Woodsman's show on Aug 2, 3, 4 will flatten out the field.  But sometimes the show attendees and participants leave it in worse shape then it was prior to the show.  

I've read that 2019 has been the wettest year on record in the Northeast. I know my yard in June would not support a riding lawn mower and I would sink up over my ankles just walking around in it.

 

I was at CSSP Saturday thru Tuesday nights - Mon/Tue were excellent - but the field was still very muddy.

 

I was there in late June, and friends were there 2 weeks ago and over the past weekend - the field is now dry - even with the rain storms I had when first getting there. I'm sure it will be fine for Black Forest - but you don't want one of those ruts in your area to trip in in the dark.


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#31 Skywatchr

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 09:08 AM

Thanks - Yes, I have seen you walking the area prior to setting up. 

 

Like you and others, I've been going to Cherry Springs since the mid 1990's and at least three times a year since 1999.  I have been there when remnants of hurricanes and tropical storms have rolled through and I have always thought the field drained rather well.  About 12 years ago, around 11:30pm the NWS issued a tornado warning this caused some panic during one Black Forest Star Party.

 

I was at the 2019 Cherry Springs Star Party for the 6 days prior to the SP beginning, it was the most rain in a 6 day period I can recall.

 

Maybe the Woodsman's show on Aug 2, 3, 4 will flatten out the field.  But sometimes the attendees and participants leave it in worse shape then it was prior to the show.  

 

I was also there when those hurricanes passed over. The wind and rain was terrible, but we survived. The "eye" of each actually passed right over the field and we took advantage of it to re-secure everything down for when it passed. Fortunately they were on Wednesday/Thursday so when Friday rolled around things were much better.  I was also there during the tornado warning. I was part of the "little circle of wagons" with the Denkmeier "gang". It would have taken us about an hour to pack things up, so we just stayed and enjoyed the lightning "show". We actually watched the lightning "part" north and south of us and go around the field and the storms never hit us.


Edited by Skywatchr, 30 July 2019 - 09:12 AM.

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#32 peleuba

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 09:40 AM

I was also there when those hurricanes passed over. The wind and rain was terrible, but we survived. The "eye" of each actually passed right over the field and we took advantage of it to re-secure everything down for when it passed. Fortunately they were on Wednesday/Thursday so when Friday rolled around things were much better.  I was also there during the tornado warning. I was part of the "little circle of wagons" with the Denkmeier "gang". It would have taken us about an hour to pack things up, so we just stayed and enjoyed the lightning "show". We actually watched the lightning "part" north and south of us and go around the field and the storms never hit us.

 

Yes!   The tornado warning caused some panic - people were getting in their cars and racing out of the park...    Like you we stayed and watched the lightning show.  It was a bit surreal - lightning on all the horizons, but mostly clear immediately above.  

 

I've looked through your F" F/15 refractor when you used to bring it to the park.  waytogo.gif  bow.gif

 

Anyway, I think this year's BFSP will be a great.  Its the latest one I can ever recall; hopefully cool temps and clear skies.  Maybe some early autumn color in the trees.


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#33 steveastrouk

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 12:49 PM

Great to see the buzz building for this year's BFSP.

I too am looking forward to the later party - hopefully we get good weather this year.

Steve


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#34 Menefist

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 03:03 PM

Missed the registration window foreheadslap.gif

any advice?

 

anyone not attending anymore?

 


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#35 mjw

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 04:37 PM

Missed the registration window foreheadslap.gif

any advice?

 

anyone not attending anymore?

 

Keep watching the CN Classified for an available ticket. I was unable to attend the spring event and sold mine there. I'd seen others there on occasion too. Good luck.


Edited by mjw, 30 July 2019 - 04:38 PM.

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#36 Skywatchr

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:02 PM

Yes!   The tornado warning caused some panic - people were getting in their cars and racing out of the park...    Like you we stayed and watched the lightning show.  It was a bit surreal - lightning on all the horizons, but mostly clear immediately above.  

 

I've looked through your F" F/15 refractor when you used to bring it to the park.  waytogo.gif  bow.gif

 

Anyway, I think this year's BFSP will be a great.  Its the latest one I can ever recall; hopefully cool temps and clear skies.  Maybe some early autumn color in the trees.

If I can find a way to bring the Brass Behemoth, I would like to!  I've had shoulder surgery so I can't lift much anymore, and the ol' "aching back" doesn't help much either. lol.gif  I strain to lift 20 lbs now. That Meade Giant tripod, and DS-16 GEM are heavy! If I could get it loaded up somehow, I would need plenty of help at the park to set it up, and tear it down on Sunday.  Unless someone wants to buy it.  tongue2.gif

I remember another later-ish in September BFSP when we awoke to a lil' frost on the pumpkin. I loved it!  That was back when I was either camping in the "van in the tents" setup, or when I had that old Chevy RV I cut an access "door" in the rear to haul the Behemoth. grin.gif . I no longer have the RV. I do want to try to get there early to mid week this time.


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#37 Skywatchr

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:08 PM

Missed the registration window foreheadslap.gif

any advice?

 

anyone not attending anymore?

 

DoH!  Been there, done that.tongue2.gif  I almost missed it too! lol.gif   Keep watching the classifieds, there is almost always someone who ends up not being able to make it.


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#38 Starkid2u

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 08:54 AM

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

 

Bill

And I LIKE doing it the old-fashioned way besides....

 

STARKID2U


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#39 Starkid2u

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 09:00 AM

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

No doubt about it on BOTH counts! Best aurora I'd ever seen and one of the best star parties I'd attended! Holding out lots of hope for this one, given what a bust CSSP was (not their fault, of course).

 

STARKID2U


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#40 George N

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 11:10 AM

….. Holding out lots of hope for this one, given what a bust CSSP was (not their fault, of course).

 

STARKID2U

What??? You don't like rain and mud????  ;)

 

The programs were good, and Saturday night was OK.... but not up to Cherry Springs standards.

 

I stayed Sunday -- and lived thru endless rain and boomers all night and the next morning.

 

Monday night featured fantastically dark sky conditions, with good seeing too -- but frost late. I woke up in an ice encased tent.

 

Tuesday night was very good also - not quite as good as Monday - but a fine night of observing. I saw some 17th magnitude galaxies in a friend's 22-inch Dob - and my Obsession 20 performed flawlessly - despite the 'mud donut' that surrounded it.

 

I left Wed - when the field was dry enough that there was no fear of bogging down - but still wet & muddy. I believe it was clear Wed night too - but I had left.


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#41 twjs

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 08:54 PM

See you there!

 

 

"This is an email confirmation that you are registered for the 2019 Black Forest Star Party."


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#42 steveastrouk

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 08:24 PM

Missed the registration window foreheadslap.gif

any advice?

 

anyone not attending anymore?

 

I've already heard from one attendee who bought two tickets, and the person for whom he bought the other ticket has given back word.

 

Steve



#43 Mybad101

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 08:19 AM

Hey is it true that the galactic center will only be visible from 8:30 to 10:30 pm during this star party? That’s the info I’m seeing from the PhotoPills app but I’m not sure. I thought it would be later in the night after midnight.


Edited by Mybad101, 03 August 2019 - 08:20 AM.


#44 Alvan Clark

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 01:13 PM

Star party is very late this year. M8 for instance will already be past the meridian when it's fully dark. I would plan any southern milky way observing/photos immediately when it gets dark. Scorpius will probably be too far down already.

 

The northern part of the milky way (Cygnus) you'll have more time for.



#45 Ac2aj

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 12:58 PM

Need your input to help me decide: I’ve been to the star party a bunch of times but this time I’m going with my friend and room in my suv is limited. I could bring either my ES152 Apo on my CgemII mount or my Orion XT 10 dob. I also have an 80mm Onyx on the CG-4. What would you bring? I’m thinking my 152 Apo but with the skies there so dark I’m almost thinking my dob would be the better choice. Thanks

Brian
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#46 Skywatchr

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 06:07 PM

Need your input to help me decide: I’ve been to the star party a bunch of times but this time I’m going with my friend and room in my suv is limited. I could bring either my ES152 Apo on my CgemII mount or my Orion XT 10 dob. I also have an 80mm Onyx on the CG-4. What would you bring? I’m thinking my 152 Apo but with the skies there so dark I’m almost thinking my dob would be the better choice. Thanks

Brian

 

XT10!  And make an off-axis mask out of cardboard with about a 4" aperture hole.  It will become one of the "best", CA-free 4" "APOs" in existence for doubles, planets, lunar, etc.grin.gif  Besides, you can always "scope bum" if you want. lol.gif


Edited by Skywatchr, 05 August 2019 - 06:08 PM.

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#47 George N

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 12:27 AM

Star party is very late this year. M8 for instance will already be past the meridian when it's fully dark. I would plan any southern milky way observing/photos immediately when it gets dark. Scorpius will probably be too far down already.

 

The northern part of the milky way (Cygnus) you'll have more time for.

On the other hand.... Orion and some other Winter Constellations will be up high enough for good views by 3 AM, or before..... and you don't have to freeze to explore them.

 

Late September 'features' a good view of the Southern "Summer" Milky Way - but only for a short time after an early sunset. Think of it as "Fall Galaxy Season" for most of the night - time to explore those forgotten "water constellations" like Aquarius, Cetus, and Pisces -- filled with many a dim galaxy that the dark skies of Cherry Springs are perfect for observing.


Edited by George N, 07 August 2019 - 12:28 AM.

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#48 nateman_doo

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:20 AM

I am honestly torn about what to image. That is my biggest quandry. I have limited FOV, and I don't want to waste time gambling on a mosaic.
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#49 Skywatchr

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:54 AM

I am honestly torn about what to image. That is my biggest quandry. I have limited FOV, and I don't want to waste time gambling on a mosaic.

 

Well if you wait up long enough, go for M1, and don't be crabby about it. tongue2.gif



#50 nateman_doo

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 02:02 PM

I feel like that comes up later in the night.  I was thinking 2 hours per target.  Do you guys have a rule of thumb, like 1 hour at a dark site is worth 2 hours in a red zone?

 

Either way...M1 will be on the target list, so thank you for the reminder.  Maybe I will post my target list here (in order) to help collect and organize my thoughts. 


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