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Rockland Summer Star Party - MASSACHUSETTS

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#26 stevenwav

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 01:09 PM

For the event only, tents are assigned positions along two sides of the observing area. Along the road all the way down to the end of the field and then at the far end of the field to the trees. So there are some sites that are shaded. Access the day before? I don't know. In years past, the was very limited access to electricity for the tents on the field as the electricity is intended to be used to power mounts, however I know that you could run power from them in a limited basis, you will have to check other the organizers. Finally, the last couple of years I attended, a cooking area was provided for the tent occupants. Very kindly, the club provided a gas grill and wash sink for food prep as well as a picnic table. A wonderful amenity. Again, I haven't attended the past two years but this is the way it was leading up to then, I hope this helps. 



#27 semiosteve

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 07:38 AM

I did talk to the park folks yesterday, and they indicated that while one could arrive and camp the day prior to the actual Star Party, the observing field is not accessible ahead of time as the star party staff will be doing setup.

 

On the other hand, the camp sites are reserved in advanced so I decided not to bother trying to arrive a day early anyhow.

 

Looking forward to attending!



#28 BrettG

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 08:23 AM

I live < 45 minutes away from this Star Party (I suspect you could say that for most people that live in Mass though), and have never been.  I should really try and get there sometime, especially knowing Teeter is there - his scopes are definitely on my short list for some day down the road when I want to upgrade!

 

I am not a camper though - hate it.  But living as close as I do, I suspect that's not a worry!



#29 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 10 July 2019 - 06:37 PM

If it’s of any help the image below shows the typical layout of the field and camp sites. This was from 2016 but I don’t think it changes much year to year. I’ve already reserved space F-20..

 

 

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#30 WyattDavis

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 05:16 AM

For the event only, tents are assigned positions along two sides of the observing area. Along the road all the way down to the end of the field and then at the far end of the field to the trees. So there are some sites that are shaded. Access the day before? I don't know. In years past, the was very limited access to electricity for the tents on the field as the electricity is intended to be used to power mounts, however I know that you could run power from them in a limited basis, you will have to check other the organizers. Finally, the last couple of years I attended, a cooking area was provided for the tent occupants. Very kindly, the club provided a gas grill and wash sink for food prep as well as a picnic table. A wonderful amenity. Again, I haven't attended the past two years but this is the way it was leading up to then, I hope this helps. 

When I made my camping reservation, the Park staff member helping me said they would be setting up the cooking tent/area again. Just over two weeks to go!



#31 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 09:51 PM

Looking forward to starting to try and peer into the long range forecast! Less than 2 weeks to RAC-SSP 2019. Spent the day unwrapping the camper and getting the beds made. Now it’s just a waiting game to see what the weather holds for us. Will it be sunny and clear nights more than 60% of the time? If so the big dob will be coming. If it’s less than that it’ll be the refractor on the EQ mount.

 

I just don’t have the energy to pack up and then set up the Dobson just for it to sit under a tarp for all but 2 nights and hope the cover doesn’t spring a leak. (God bless Telegizmos cover). Hasn’t failed me yet. But rain or shine we will be there!

 

Our luck has to be changing by now. It’ll be our 5th year and every time we have rain stretches. And always HEAVY!!. Last year being the absolute worst.

 

So we all deserve a clear sunny low humidity week! I’ll take 1 day of storms but that’s enough... starting my prayers now. praying.gif

 

Getting excited finally!



#32 WyattDavis

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:31 PM

Here's to clear skies. I'm packing the dob and a refractor - rain or shine. I believe!



#33 semiosteve

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:01 PM

The setup here is different from the other star parties I've been to. The map Daniel provided in his post was very helpful.

 

Not sure I can picture myself physically carrying heavy sections of my GEM and my large refractor to some random patch of the observing field from the space I get assigned to for tent/car.

 

Also a concern if one decides to take down a scope into your tent or car because of impending storm

 

Looks like you could be easily quite a distance away with no option but to physically shlep equipment back and forth some distance when needed.

 

This may require a drastic rethinking of what scope I am willing to bring, i.e. If its big enough to really take advantage of good skies, it may also be too big to use for this setup

 

Am I missing something ?



#34 stevenwav

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 02:05 PM

For set up and take down, you can drive onto the field and park next to your scope or within a few steps. 



#35 semiosteve

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 04:52 PM

ok whew that's a relief.

#36 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:07 PM

Yes.. with set up and take down they allow vehicle access on the field. No problem. The only issue would be if you wanted to take your scope off the field at night due to rain or something. In that case cars aren’t allowed for obvious reasons. This is why most who set up for the week have telescope covers. That way you can leave it all set up till the next clear night. I highly recommend Telegizmos brand covers. The silver one has worked perfect for me thru several HEAVY rain events. Without a drop of water on the scope..


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#37 JohnPancoast

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 08:02 PM

Have to echo what Jim said. I have no experience at any other star parties but this one is no more or less serious than others I have read about. I’d say it’s a bit more relaxed that most, but they do have appropriate have rules and everyone has a great time. And it’s by no means a free for all, its very well planned out and executed! Also I agree your participation can be as social or as isolated as you wish. It’s all up to the person. Some are extroverts walking around and talking to everyone, and some just quietly observe by themselves. Myself I’m in the middle group. Like to chat but most of my time is just quietly observing or sitting back in my chair just taking it all in.

I think SSP has been burdened a bit by its reputation for being family friendly. Perhaps this comes form the Peppermint Park name of the site. There's the hint of "not serious" about this. My experience going three times in the past four years is that the astronomers are very friendly and welcome others to have a look at what ever they are seeing at any moment. By and large, the observing field is left to astronomers as it is at any star party. If you wish to be on your own, you can do that too. Last time I went, I set up for AP and wandered around to those who welcomed visitors while my camera was clicking away. Once I brought an 8" dob to enjoy while my refractor was collecting data.

 

Skies are officially Bortle 4. I'm pretty sure they are a bit better than my local Bortle 4 site in northern Virginia. Still, if Cherry Springs is your benchmark, you might be a little bit disappointed, but you will still get some great views/ photos.

 

The RSP sponsors are amazing. Two days before our arrival, José Alvira and Frank Bifulco come to set up. In addition to making sure the big tent and facilities are suitable, set up includes setting up power on the observing field that we all access with outdoor extension cords. (Bring at least 100 feet of true outdoor cord.) Another prep step that adds enormously to the experience is that they unscrew all the white lights near the field and replace with red. And they get the town to turn off the street lamp near the entrance to the park. (These steps probably make it seem darker than Bortle 4)

 

In return for having our way at this wonderful site, the park's holiday campers are welcome to join us on one of the weekend evenings for a stargazing outreach session. I love outreach events so this pleases me as well.

 

What more can I say. I love this event and look forward to it each year. I sign up for the entire time, and watch the weather to decide exactly when to arrive.

 

Hope this helps others to know what to expect. See you there!

 

John



#38 JohnPancoast

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 08:07 PM

The setup here is different from the other star parties I've been to. The map Daniel provided in his post was very helpful.

 

Not sure I can picture myself physically carrying heavy sections of my GEM and my large refractor to some random patch of the observing field from the space I get assigned to for tent/car.

 

Also a concern if one decides to take down a scope into your tent or car because of impending storm

 

Looks like you could be easily quite a distance away with no option but to physically shlep equipment back and forth some distance when needed.

 

This may require a drastic rethinking of what scope I am willing to bring, i.e. If its big enough to really take advantage of good skies, it may also be too big to use for this setup

 

Am I missing something ?

Steve, the assigned spots are not far from the field positions. As for protecting your equipment, many including myself would be happy to be pressed into service. 

 

John Pancoast



#39 semiosteve

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 09:37 AM

Yes.. with set up and take down they allow vehicle access on the field. No problem. The only issue would be if you wanted to take your scope off the field at night due to rain or something. In that case cars aren’t allowed for obvious reasons. This is why most who set up for the week have telescope covers. That way you can leave it all set up till the next clear night. I highly recommend Telegizmos brand covers. The silver one has worked perfect for me thru several HEAVY rain events. Without a drop of water on the scope..

Neither Telegizmos nor any other supplier makes an off-the-shelf scope cover for the AP180 on its AP800 mount. That's a 7 inch f9 refractor that is almost as tall on its GEM mount as a 20 inch Dob !

 

So I picked up a 20' by 20'  10mil thick waterproof, UV blocking reflective tarp. Hope that is sufficient.

 

I have a Telegizmo 360 cover for my other scope - a Cave 8" RFT. I think that cover is heavier than the scope LOL



#40 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 10:36 PM

I think SSP has been burdened a bit by its reputation for being family friendly. Perhaps this comes form the Peppermint Park name of the site. There's the hint of "not serious" about this. My experience going three times in the past four years is that the astronomers are very friendly and welcome others to have a look at what ever they are seeing at any moment. By and large, the observing field is left to astronomers as it is at any star party. If you wish to be on your own, you can do that too. Last time I went, I set up for AP and wandered around to those who welcomed visitors while my camera was clicking away. Once I brought an 8" dob to enjoy while my refractor was collecting data.

 

Skies are officially Bortle 4. I'm pretty sure they are a bit better than my local Bortle 4 site in northern Virginia. Still, if Cherry Springs is your benchmark, you might be a little bit disappointed, but you will still get some great views/ photos.

 

The RSP sponsors are amazing. Two days before our arrival, José Alvira and Frank Bifulco come to set up. In addition to making sure the big tent and facilities are suitable, set up includes setting up power on the observing field that we all access with outdoor extension cords. (Bring at least 100 feet of true outdoor cord.) Another prep step that adds enormously to the experience is that they unscrew all the white lights near the field and replace with red. And they get the town to turn off the street lamp near the entrance to the park. (These steps probably make it seem darker than Bortle 4)

 

In return for having our way at this wonderful site, the park's holiday campers are welcome to join us on one of the weekend evenings for a stargazing outreach session. I love outreach events so this pleases me as well.

 

What more can I say. I love this event and look forward to it each year. I sign up for the entire time, and watch the weather to decide exactly when to arrive.

 

Hope this helps others to know what to expect. See you there!

 

John

I have to echo what John just said.. Frank and Jose (among many others) work tremendously hard to make the site as dark as possible.  Red lightning everywhere even in the bathrooms in the lodge. These guys are serious,... but not so that they make you uncomfortable in any way...super polite and great all around individuals....it’s all so much fun and a great experience. I don’t think ANYONE should be concerned that this star party wants to be family friendly. On the contrary the Rockland Astronomy Club really wants to make the star party as family friendly as possible. They even said to me that they really want to try to make it as inclusive as possible for EVERYONE. They do wish more young folks would attend as they are the future of out hobby.  So they try hard to include the young folks as well as us “older” folks in their activities. Speaking for myself with a 4 year old daughter,... I’m looking forward to having her experience for the 3rd time the RAC Summer Star Party... although she’s in bed way before the skies get dark for serious Astronomy. But each year she can stay up a bit later... my goal is in a few years is to have her by my side looking at all the wonders of the sky... She absolutely lover going, she can’t stop.talking about Frank!!. I love the people and the friendliness of this Star Party... it has such great vibes! And a good time is had by all....! Please don’t miss it!  You won’t disappointed!!!


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#41 bherv

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 07:02 PM

I’ll be there from Friday to Friday. Right now the forecast looks good for the first four days. 

                                                Barry


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#42 MikeTahtib

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 04:15 AM

I've got reservations for Friday and Saturday nights, and will be bringing my 15" Obsession and 8" Meade.  The forecast looks better than it has around here for many months, so I'm looking forward to it. 

Ive been every year since 2014.  The facilities are pretty nice, and kept very clean by the staff.  People are generally friendly if you want to socialize, but it still a low-key, quiet event no need ot worry about wild crazy people or out-of-control children running around.  



#43 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 10:07 AM

Yes! The first few days look to be great. Maybe we can finally have a ballon launch on opening night! Starting my packing now...and will be there tomorrow afternoon! Bringing the 15” Teeter!

 

Our car died yesterday so we had to scramble for another tow vehicle  . Thankfully my brother has a Jeep!.

 

I'm bringing my Blue Ray of “Apollo 11” for the inevitable cloudy night for a viewing in the Astronomy lounge on their wonderful high def TV set up.. If you haven’t seen it it’s not to be missed, like it was filmed yesterday, absolutely amazing.



#44 BrettG

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 11:44 AM

I am not attending, but do live in Western Mass - this is the clearest I've seen the forecast in a while.

 

Enjoy all who are going to be there!



#45 MikeTahtib

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 04:30 PM

Yes! The first few days look to be great. Maybe we can finally have a ballon launch on opening night! Starting my packing now...and will be there tomorrow afternoon! Bringing the 15” Teeter!

 

Our car died yesterday so we had to scramble for another tow vehicle  . Thankfully my brother has a Jeep!.

 

I'm bringing my Blue Ray of “Apollo 11” for the inevitable cloudy night for a viewing in the Astronomy lounge on their wonderful high def TV set up.. If you haven’t seen it it’s not to be missed, like it was filmed yesterday, absolutely amazing.

Are you the person with the teardrop-shaped trailer who was there last year?  I remember the trailer, and I kinda remember it being associated with the other 15" telescope on the field.   It looked like a really nice setup.


Edited by MikeTahtib, 25 July 2019 - 04:34 PM.


#46 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 10:21 PM

Are you the person with the teardrop-shaped trailer who was there last year?  I remember the trailer, and I kinda remember it being associated with the other 15" telescope on the field.   It looked like a really nice setup.

Yup that’s me! 15” Teeter, Silver Teardrop Tailer, Wife and now 4 year old daughter... and usually a Mini Cooper. But will be a Jeep this year due to,....of all things.. Boston City Rats chewing thru the engine wire harness...‍♂

 

Setup has been a work in progress... and I think I’ve got it down after 4 years of “trying” to improve.. Tomorrow will be the test.

 

Hope to see you there! And YEAH! The weather Gods are looking favorably down on us..,.. Finally..



#47 RobTeeter

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 08:02 AM

Had a GREAT night up there Saturday night. RAC putting on a great event again. Couldn't make it up Friday so just the one night for me this last weekend. The sky was as dark as I remember, the Milky Way looked stunning naked eye, especially once the sky cleared after midnight from the roughly 11pm-12am fog bank and mostly cloudy conditions that rolled in. I headed home Sunday. Good luck to those staying the whole week. There's a chance I'll be back Thursday or Friday if the long range forecast holds. I'm working on my 20" F/3.5 this week to get it rebuilt (better, stronger, faster...well, nah still F/3.5).  lol.gif

 

Take care,



#48 MikeTahtib

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 04:05 AM

Yes, the weather was pretty weird Saturday night, but good.  I was stunned by how clear the Milky Way got after the clouds rolled in and out.  Then the fog rolled in, and I thought we were done, but it never got bad overhead, then the fog rolled out.  This happened a couple times, but never really stopped the ability to view.  I stayed up all night both Friday and Saturday nights.  The weather looks promising for Thursday night, and I'm hoping I can make it for one more night. 

I look forward to taking a look through a Teeter 20", I hope you can make it.



#49 MikeTahtib

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 05:34 AM

The weather is looking great for Thursday, probably Friday too.  I'm heading back over!



#50 stevenwav

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 08:55 AM

I am too!




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