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38th Annual Deep South Star Gaze - still on for November

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#1 BarrySimon615

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 05:25 PM

2020 has been a miserable year for star parties.  Most have cancelled due to Covid-19.  A few that cancelled did have a few regulars show up to do some astronomy at a distance anyway.

 

As of now there are still 7 or 8 US star parties scheduled thru November.  Likely a few more will cancel.  In many cases the venue is calling the shots and they in turn are just following mandates of the states where they are located.  As of now we are proceeding with plans to hold the 38th Annual Deep South Star Gaze.  It has been held every year beginning in 1983.  Our current venue, the White Horse Christian Retreat Camp located about a dozen miles south of Columbia, MS is the darkest we have utilized (Our skies hover on the Bortle 3/4 boundary with a NELM of about 6.5.)  This, our 3rd location, also boasts the lowest horizons.  We are able to easily see Omega Centaurus during our Spring Scrimmage.

 

The Deep South, held this year from Tuesday, November 10th to Sunday, November 15th, typically has had attendances above 100.  On occasion close to 200.  2020 though is a different year.  We realize that our attendance will be down this year as some people are just not ready to "star party" yet.  Nevertheless we are proceeding with plans to hold our event.  Our earlier Spring Scrimmage, held in May, had a small crowd, but we had no complications during or after the event.  This fall I am anticipating an attendance of between 30 and 40.  Yes, that's small, but enough critical mass to enjoy the company of others and to stay safe at the same time.  We will have restrictions with the primary change being that we are limiting use of the bunkhouses where occupancy will be greatly reduced.  (If all bunks were to be occupied we could accommodate 120, but with the restriction we will have in place we can probably have no more than about 40 in bunks.)  Others will stay in tents, campers and rv's.  We have plenty of room for those.

 

More can be found on our website, just go to:  https://dssg.boards.net/

and then go to this thread:  https://dssg.boards....8th-annual-dssg

You will find the registration form there.

 

Questions?  Let me know.  We would like to see some familiar names from CloudyNights, those in need of a star party fix.

 

Barry Simon, Director

Deep South Star Gaze 

 

PS - while we cannot start earlier than November 10th, if the weather is good, some may want to stay longer than our official final date.  No problem with that.  Pay your lodging fee and Carol will be happy to accommodate you.


Edited by BarrySimon615, 26 August 2020 - 09:41 PM.

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#2 John Miele

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 05:54 PM

All I can say is...Yahoo! I plan to attend and take all precautions including tent camping instead of the bunkhouse. 

 

Thanks Barry for pushing ahead with it!

 

John Miele



#3 BarrySimon615

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 08:06 AM

John,  I got your registration.

 

Seems like our early registrations are all from 1st time and/or registrants coming from a distance.  I think many amateur astronomers are eager to once again attend a star party.

 

As I have told members of my club - better to get your registration forms in early as we are limiting attendance as it is prudent to create space between people particularly as this pertains to sleeping arrangements.  We do have plenty of space for rv's and campers, albeit with limited 30 amp electrical hook-up.  (outlets for 6).  Quiet generators are ok during the day, and if at a distance, at night too.  You will have to dry camp.  No individual water hook up, but you can pull water from a spigot, one at a time.

 

Crossing our fingers that the weather will be good in the November 10th to 15th time period.  If the weather is good on the 15th and later there will be no problem if anyone wants to stay a few days later.

 

Barry Simon



#4 BarrySimon615

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 07:54 PM

Up to 16 registrants as of yesterday for the Deep South Star Gaze.  Surprisingly running ahead of last year.  As we are limiting attendance due to COVID we should top out at about 40.  Plenty of space for rv's/campers.  We only have 6 thirty amp outlets and 3 are already reserved.  Bunk space is available too.

 

Message me for more info.  Dates are Tuesday November 10th to Sunday November 15th.  6.5 magnitude skies and low horizons.  Held about 10 miles south of Columbia, MS.

 

Barry Simon



#5 BarrySimon615

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Posted 07 October 2020 - 07:03 PM

We just crossed the “5 weeks out” boundary to the beginning of the 38th Annual Deep South Star Gaze. Our registration count is now up to 26 in consideration of Covid and all. Several in our area have said that they will not do any outreach or star parties until they have a vaccine or Covid magically goes away. I anticipate a final registration of about 40 which will be fine considering all obstacles.

A registration around 40 reaches a threshold that will give our event some punch without being too crowded. Keeping our fingers crossed to assure nice weather.

Barry Simon

#6 BarrySimon615

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 02:36 PM

The 38th Annual DSSG starts on Tuesday the 10th and every thing is a go. T Minus 4 days and counting. Current registration is 41 which is pretty good considering all of the 2020 obstacles.

Will report back at it’s conclusion.

Questions? Please ask them.

Barry Simon

#7 BarrySimon615

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Posted 10 November 2020 - 11:07 PM

The Deep South Star Gaze started today.  Our official registration is 41 with 14 attendees on the first day and night.  The weather reports were not good for tonight but in spite of that most of us set up equipment and we did get some brief clearing showing just what a dark sky site can do  The most promising days and nights lie ahead of us with Thursday and Friday projected to be nice.  In fact next week is looking good too.  We still have some room available for additional attendees so if anyone is interested send me a private message and I will get you squared away.

 

Food is good and there are optional exploratory trips that can be made in the area.

 

Here are some photos of setup.

 

Barry Simon

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  • Field at 3 pm Tuesday.jpg
  • 6 inch refractor.jpg

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#8 BarrySimon615

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 11:00 PM

Almost over, final few hours of observing.  We have had two excellent observing nights and another one where observing was good for several hours plus tonight which was ok.  Everyone is going away happy.  Another successful DSSG in spite of COVID.  Our attendance was great considering. our final attendance was 55.

 

Here are some images.  I am the monkey climbing the light pole to get some pictures.

 

Barry Simon

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#9 BarrySimon615

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 11:04 PM

More pictures -

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#10 BarrySimon615

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 11:06 PM

Some more - of the sky.  

 

These photos were taken with an AstroTech 111 (first heavier version) f/7 using a Televue .8x reducer corrector (designed for scopes with a focal length of between 800 mm and 1000 mm).  This yielded a final focal length of 622 mm @ f/5.6.  Single exposure of approximately 2 minute length each, no special processing other than a bit of contrast enhancement.

 

Barry Simon

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Edited by BarrySimon615, 14 November 2020 - 11:27 PM.

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#11 John Miele

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 08:25 PM

Had a great time! And it was really cool to have Ron Keating there to personally show me all the bells and whistles on my Dewbuster controller! I  have a few pics to add...

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#12 John Miele

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 08:26 PM

+1

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#13 John Miele

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 08:27 PM

+1

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