As those of you who attended in the fall know, the conditions were about as good as you could ask for (and got seriously worse after the star party ended)! Excellent job picking the dates, Jayme! You probably deserve more than a bunch of balloons!
But we can't argue with your amazing ability to pick clear nights, and Jayme has looked into his crystal ball and picked the dates for the spring and fall Staunton River Star Parties. Could we observe every night in 2014 as well?
|Spring:||March 27-30, 2014|
|Less formal, only three nights, no speakers or presentations, just come and observe.|
|Fall:||October 20-26, 2014|
|Full week, interesting speakers and presentations, more vendors, door prizes, and also great observing.|
Check back at the beginning of the year for registration to open for the spring star party, and around July 1st to sign up for the fall star party. And tell your friends! We are steadily making the Staunton River Star Party the premier star party on the mid-Atlantic coast!
The star party will be held at Staunton River State Park in Halifax County, Virginia near Scottsburg and about 30 miles east of South Boston, Virginia. GPS coordinates are 36° 41' 46" N latitude and 78° 41' 06.9" W longitude. The area is in a blue area on light pollution maps.
Once you arrive at the park, follow the main road to the visitor center. The star party will be held on the field directly adjacent to the visitor center. Entrance to the field will be via the visitor center roads. Then follow the painted lines on the field.
Attendees will be able to setup and camp near their equipment in either tents or RVs on the main field (although RVs on the observing field will not have hookups). You may also park next to your campsite, although (obviously) you will not be able to leave during the night, so plan accordingly. Staunton River State Park also offers a number of cabins and campsites with hookup, neither of which is far from the observing field. To reserve a park campsite or cabin, please visit the park's reservation page.
Electrical power will be provided for astronomy equipment on a first-come, first-serve basis, and will be limited to only certain parts of the observing field. Charging batteries, etc. will be possible for everyone.
Limited Internet connectivity is available in and around the visitor center (at one end of the observing field). We will also have a live feed of weather conditions in the visitor center.
Toilet and shower facilities are provided by the park, including porta-potties on the observing field as well as shower facilities in the pool house. The visitor center also has a store that provides items you might have forgotten to bring, as well as a wonderful meeting room where we will hold our presentations.
For those of you who wish to entertain yourselves during the day, the park offers hiking trails (although some are closed because of tornado damage) and quite an extensive area for boating on the adjacent lakes. Birdwatching is also great at the far east end of the park. And fishing is definitely one of the main attractions of the park. If you have an NC fishing license, you can fish in the park without getting a Virginia license. And if you need a VA license, you can purchase on in the park's visitor center, right next to the observing field!
Food will be provided by the park but the cost is not included in the star party registration fee. Certain items will be available throughout the night for observers. Here is the proposed menu:
|Cheese Pizza||$2.25/slice, $11.00/whole|
|Pepperoni Pizza||$2.50/slice, $12.00/whole|
|Supreme Pizza||$2.75/slice, $13.00/whole|
|BBQ Plate (BBQ, slaw, bread, fries)||$5.75|
|Coffee||$1.25 or $1.50 to fill your mug|
|Waffles with Bacon or Sausage||$4.00|
|Fresh Fruit||market price|
Various other bottled drinks, as well as chips, crackers, candy, and pastries will also be available. Pricing for those items are still being determined.
The Staunton River Star Party is held twice a year (in the spring and the fall). In the spring, the star party is a very informal event ... no presentations, and limited vendor participation (although we do expect some to attend!) In the fall, we try to have speakers present varying topics, some that will appeal to the scientific astronomer in you, some that will help you observe, and some that explain new technologies or gadgets ... and expect a greater vendor presence. Please check the Vendors section for an idea of vendors that have attended in the past.
The Staunton River Star Party has welcomed the following vendors in the past. Vendor participation in the spring star party may be limited.
Providers of astronomy accessories that are ... beyond the ordinary!
AstroGizmos will also provide Internet connectivity for the star party.
Camera Concepts & Telescope Solutions
Well-known supplier of astronomical equipment and accessories, whose main objectives are to support the astronomical community in general and the individual customer in particular.
Maker of Deep-Sky Planner and SQM Reader Pro
Specializing in precision hand-crafted optics and accessories
Finely Crafted Wooden Telescopes from 8" to 20" of Aperture
Maker of Precision Telescope Mirrors and Innovative Telescopes
If there are other vendors you would like for us to invite to the star party, just click on the Feedback link above and send us their contact info.
We are currently working to sign up sponsors for the 2014 Staunton River Star Parties!
Attendees who insist on violating the rules will be required to leave the event and will forfeit the remainder of their registration fee. Determination of who is violating the rules will be made by CHAOS club officers and state park rangers.
If you have any questions that are not covered in this list, please feel free to use the Feedback link in the menu above to send us a question by e-mail.