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2023 Cherry Springs Star Party

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#51 coldzero

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 05:44 AM

First Timers Guide to the star party

https://sites.google...ide-to-the-cssp

Awesome thank you.  I've been trying to read up as much as I can on this.  As far as equipment goes, for things like using an asiair with an ipad or phone and the light it gives off, is the cellophane I keep reading about just the red stuff they use for gift baskets?  I purchased a few dim red el-wires to throw at the base of each tripod for safety.  Been working on packing and setting up equipment at home from a container so I can identify any missing parts I'd usually just run in the house for.  Are there any other equipment "gotchas" that first timers might miss?


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#52 Skywatchr

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 08:03 AM

Awesome thank you.  I've been trying to read up as much as I can on this.  As far as equipment goes, for things like using an asiair with an ipad or phone and the light it gives off, is the cellophane I keep reading about just the red stuff they use for gift baskets?  I purchased a few dim red el-wires to throw at the base of each tripod for safety.  Been working on packing and setting up equipment at home from a container so I can identify any missing parts I'd usually just run in the house for.  Are there any other equipment "gotchas" that first timers might miss?

There are always "gotchas" that pop out of nowhere. lol.gif

 

Red cellophane is not dark enough, especially for an LCD display.  You need to get a photographic dark red filter sheet and cut to size and tape it on.  What you really need to do is think about light shielding.  Light can reflect off of your face, and anything else nearby. I use blackout cloth you can buy by the yard.  You can drape the cloth over a small tent, or make a frame and drape it over that.  Tarps are about useless, and so are the thin "survival" blankets. Too much light still gets through them. Thin tents become a glowing castle lol.gif unless you shield them internally, or externally.  If you bring a camper, you need to cover every single window including the windshield with something thick enough like blackout cloth.  If you need to rent a camper, get the smallest and lowest you can with the fewest windows to cover. Save money, fuel, and space on the field. waytogo.gif
 


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#53 Jim Davis

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 08:22 AM

Also, even if you are using dim red lights, point them down. When you are working on your scope, don't forget there are people around you. I see a lot of people forget that, and are flashing everyone around them as they work. This is particularly bad with headlamps.


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#54 George N

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 10:42 AM

There are always "gotchas" that pop out of nowhere. lol.gif

....

 

My experience - after nearly 30 years of attending major star parties and taking 'dark sky trips' -- I bring about 20 things I never use (that have to be packed away when returning home) and -- there's always at least one thing I absolutely need, but left home! Figuring out the work-arounds are part of the fun!  crazy.gif

 

It helps to make friends - you will find that many folks at star parties are very friendly and might just have a spare dew heater or whatever you forgot - just remember to return it!!! I've personally spent many an hour helping folks I just met get things like Dob GoTo drives working, etc. I once saw a guy arrive late-afternoon at Stellafane with an Obsession 18UC & StellarCat - still in the closed shipping boxes! It took four volunteers and a call to StellarCat to get the thing working - but it was - just as the first stars popped out that evening. My best collimation has always come when collecting a group of 'experts' and let them tinker with my 20-inch! cool.gif

 

Reminds me of a CSSP of the past - elderly Canadian couple (in their 80's) - just getting back into astronomy, with a brand new C-8 on a GoTo mount - sitting outside their RV just looking at it - no idea how to use it. Sky was not all that great, so a friend and I volunteered to help - first pointing out that they had the tube installed backwards on the mount - ;) (really!!) So - we get it assembled correctly - and then show them how to polar align and do the infamous Celestron 2-star/4-star alignment routine - and then I slew the little C-8 to M-57 -- to see - a very dim ring nebula (under Bortle 2 sky!!). Hmmmmm..... I look at the corrector plate - totally dewed over!! Me "Where's your dew strap and controller?" Them "Oh, we forgot it. It's still back in Canada." Me: "Wanna observe using my Obsession 20?"  ;)


Edited by George N, 26 April 2023 - 10:51 AM.

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#55 Mollyinspace

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 10:55 AM

Hello! Im also attending this year and it is my first star party, do yall know if they have plug ins? trying to avoid buying a power bank lol


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#56 dan_hm

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 11:03 AM

Hello! Im also attending this year and it is my first star party, do yall know if they have plug ins? trying to avoid buying a power bank lol


Yes there are large outlets all across the field as well as battery charging stations. There is also wifi.

Edited by dan_hm, 26 April 2023 - 11:04 AM.

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#57 George N

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 11:14 AM

Hello! Im also attending this year and it is my first star party, do yall know if they have plug ins? trying to avoid buying a power bank lolL

Look on the left in this cluttered-with-telescopes view of CSSP 2018 - including a friend's Obsession 20 and another friend's SDM 22" F/3.6 (flickr image https://www.flickr.c...57670817527808/). These power things are all over the field - but, you may well require a very long power cord to reach one from your location (again, note all the stuff in the image).

 

They are supposedly limited to use with astro-gear - there's info on the prior linked-to "rules" - but one is - they must be shared during star parties. I've never had a problem getting power - but it often/always requires a long cord to get to it.

 

Here's another photo showing one - the grey thing in the center of the photo - note all of the cords coming out of it (and a friend's 36-inch F/4 Dob!!): https://www.flickr.c...57670817527808/

 

In this photo - a friend is just setting up his gear - on a non-star party trip to Cherry Springs - it shows two of the power things - since we were both imaging - we needed them: https://www.flickr.c...57709499635516/


Edited by George N, 26 April 2023 - 11:22 AM.

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#58 Mollyinspace

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 11:20 AM

Awesome! I've got my extension cord ready then. Appreciate the help see yall there! 


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#59 coldzero

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 12:08 PM

There are always "gotchas" that pop out of nowhere. lol.gif

 

Red cellophane is not dark enough, especially for an LCD display.  You need to get a photographic dark red filter sheet and cut to size and tape it on.  What you really need to do is think about light shielding.  Light can reflect off of your face, and anything else nearby. I use blackout cloth you can buy by the yard.  You can drape the cloth over a small tent, or make a frame and drape it over that.  Tarps are about useless, and so are the thin "survival" blankets. Too much light still gets through them. Thin tents become a glowing castle lol.gif unless you shield them internally, or externally.  If you bring a camper, you need to cover every single window including the windshield with something thick enough like blackout cloth.  If you need to rent a camper, get the smallest and lowest you can with the fewest windows to cover. Save money, fuel, and space on the field. waytogo.gif
 

I think the camper idea is gonna get axed and I'll bring a 4 person tent and solo glamp.  Got it on the sheet filter, I'll look for some.  Was also thinking that I could use the displays with red filters inside my tent which is blacked out and that should really cut down on any light I give off. Super excited to attend, I'm living that bortle 6 life.


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#60 Skywatchr

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 01:15 PM

My experience - after nearly 30 years of attending major star parties and taking 'dark sky trips' -- I bring about 20 things I never use (that have to be packed away when returning home) and -- there's always at least one thing I absolutely need, but left home! Figuring out the work-arounds are part of the fun!  crazy.gif

 

It helps to make friends - you will find that many folks at star parties are very friendly and might just have a spare dew heater or whatever you forgot - just remember to return it!!! I've personally spent many an hour helping folks I just met get things like Dob GoTo drives working, etc. I once saw a guy arrive late-afternoon at Stellafane with an Obsession 18UC & StellarCat - still in the closed shipping boxes! It took four volunteers and a call to StellarCat to get the thing working - but it was - just as the first stars popped out that evening. My best collimation has always come when collecting a group of 'experts' and let them tinker with my 20-inch! cool.gif

 

Reminds me of a CSSP of the past - elderly Canadian couple (in their 80's) - just getting back into astronomy, with a brand new C-8 on a GoTo mount - sitting outside their RV just looking at it - no idea how to use it. Sky was not all that great, so a friend and I volunteered to help - first pointing out that they had the tube installed backwards on the mount - wink.gif (really!!) So - we get it assembled correctly - and then show them how to polar align and do the infamous Celestron 2-star/4-star alignment routine - and then I slew the little C-8 to M-57 -- to see - a very dim ring nebula (under Bortle 2 sky!!). Hmmmmm..... I look at the corrector plate - totally dewed over!! Me "Where's your dew strap and controller?" Them "Oh, we forgot it. It's still back in Canada." Me: "Wanna observe using my Obsession 20?"  wink.gif

I took a refractor along as an "extra" one time.  But somewhere along the line the tripod decided it wanted to stay home with it's buddies. lol.gif



#61 Skywatchr

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 01:20 PM

I think the camper idea is gonna get axed and I'll bring a 4 person tent and solo glamp.  Got it on the sheet filter, I'll look for some.  Was also thinking that I could use the displays with red filters inside my tent which is blacked out and that should really cut down on any light I give off. Super excited to attend, I'm living that bortle 6 life.

Look for some, even slightly "high ground" to pitch a tent.  If it happens to rain, you'll know why in short order. foreheadslap.giffingertap.gifgrin.gif  No need to ask me how I know. gaah.gif 


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#62 JimB1

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 09:10 PM

Spare batteries for anything you are bringing that needs them. Forgot a spare for my tracking motor last year and of course I needed one. Also, don’t forget any chargers for your rechargeable gear. 
 

Also, no showers at Cherry Springs so deodorant is appreciated lol

 

I brought a changing room tent like for a beach and used that for a washing up room to remain tolerably clean. 
 

-Jim


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#63 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 09:58 PM

There are showers at Lyman Run State Park on West Branch Road and at the Potter County Family Campground on Route 6.

https://www.dcnr.pa....es/default.aspx

 

https://pottercountycamping.com/


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#64 Skywatchr

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Posted 27 April 2023 - 06:28 AM

Spare batteries for anything you are bringing that needs them. Forgot a spare for my tracking motor last year and of course I needed one. Also, don’t forget any chargers for your rechargeable gear. 
 

Also, no showers at Cherry Springs so deodorant is appreciated lol

 

I brought a changing room tent like for a beach and used that for a washing up room to remain tolerably clean. 
 

-Jim

A bird bath works quite well. grin.gif  Not as good as a shower, but does the job.  Like Dave says, there are places to shower not far away.


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#65 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 27 April 2023 - 11:55 AM

Sometimes I use Edge.  Look at what came up there.

https://www.bing.com...trypoint=ANST00


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#66 George N

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Posted 27 April 2023 - 06:17 PM

There are showers at Lyman Run State Park on West Branch Road ....

 

I've used the Lyman Run showers over the years. It takes longer than you would think - slow driving and once you get there you will be 'in line' with others from Cherry Springs and Lyman Run (quite nice part, and can fill up of the weekend is nice). But, if you need a shower, have nothing else to do - it is a nice ride and place to visit.

 

You have put $$ in an box - so bring small size bills --- or, stop at the park headquarters and you can pay there using big bills or a credit card. Also, if lucky you can talk to the manager in charge of Cherry Springs!


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#67 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 28 April 2023 - 01:54 AM

I've used the showers at Lyman Run a few times but never had to wait in line.  However, I've usually gone to the Potter County Family Campground, taking the short cut to Route 6 via Billy Lewis Road.  The distance is 10 miles versus about 8.5 miles to the showers at Lyman Run.


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#68 Autumn

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Posted 30 April 2023 - 12:34 AM


Of course - who's gonna set up a 'defense line' in the dark at night? Most of the people in the rustic campsite part of the park are well aware of the star party and its rules - but many walk over - and behave quite well - but it does add to the 'people count' on a good night. The other 'issue' I've experienced in say 2018/19 -- when the 'public program' people saw the food vendor -- many walked across the road and ordered food. The food vendor told me "Nobody told us that we could get hit with 200 more people! We ran out of food!"

I sure hope no one at the Cherry Springs event was dependant on the food vendor for their meals and starved because the food vendor ran out! .... Important lesson here, make sure you've got your own food and drink at these events, even if there is a food vendor, just in case :p


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#69 Skywatchr

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Posted 30 April 2023 - 08:46 AM

I sure hope no one at the Cherry Springs event was dependant on the food vendor for their meals and starved because the food vendor ran out! .... Important lesson here, make sure you've got your own food and drink at these events, even if there is a food vendor, just in case tongue2.gif

Bunch of hungry hounds anyways. lol.gif



#70 JimB1

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Posted 30 April 2023 - 09:46 AM

I sure hope no one at the Cherry Springs event was dependant on the food vendor for their meals and starved because the food vendor ran out! .... Important lesson here, make sure you've got your own food and drink at these events, even if there is a food vendor, just in case tongue2.gif

Also you can cook but nothing that smokes so no BBQ. I used a camp stove and made decent fajitas last year cool.gif

 

Far as power goes there are power outlets but not for RVs. I was tent camping but used a Ecoflow River max the whole time and charged solar so I wasn’t on the grid at all. I just bought the new Ecoflow River 2 pro so with two solar generators (one for equipment and one for personal/12v refrigerator use) I should be good to not be on the grid again this year. 
-Jim


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#71 George N

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Posted 30 April 2023 - 12:34 PM

I sure hope no one at the Cherry Springs event was dependant on the food vendor for their meals and starved because the food vendor ran out! .... Important lesson here, make sure you've got your own food and drink at these events, even if there is a food vendor, just in case tongue2.gif

Even when I bring food (sometimes as part of a group with a 'chuckwagon RV') - I always eat at least two meals with the food-vendor - plus a late-night snack or something If they don't sell food - and make a profit - they won't be back! Not to mention, the tables under the canopy tent are a nice place to meet new and old friends.


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#72 JimB1

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Posted 30 April 2023 - 01:10 PM

Even when I bring food (sometimes as part of a group with a 'chuckwagon RV') - I always eat at least two meals with the food-vendor - plus a late-night snack or something If they don't sell food - and make a profit - they won't be back! Not to mention, the tables under the canopy tent are a nice place to meet new and old friends.

Late night cookies!!!


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#73 George N

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Posted 30 April 2023 - 01:56 PM

Late night cookies!!!

Anyone bringing some by - still warm - get's to pick the next target and first look thru my telescope!  flowerred.gif


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#74 Autumn

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Posted 30 April 2023 - 09:50 PM

Even when I bring food (sometimes as part of a group with a 'chuckwagon RV') - I always eat at least two meals with the food-vendor - plus a late-night snack or something If they don't sell food - and make a profit - they won't be back! Not to mention, the tables under the canopy tent are a nice place to meet new and old friends.

You made a very GOOD point George! Get to the "social place", in this case, the canopy tents. It's really special to get to meet astronomers from all over the world and talk shop. Talk to people who understand our passion for astronomy, talk to people who understand the gear, swap stories .... like you, I make it a point to go and try to meet people from all over the world too. In fact, I still remember friendly people I've met at star parties from a decade ago.

 

Another cool thing is to look for astronomy celebrities at the social places. Ed Ting, Trevor Jones ....


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#75 JimB1

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Posted 01 May 2023 - 06:20 AM

I need to actually meet some of you guys in person. Maybe we need to designate a Cloudy Nights coffee time or something.


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