Registration for the fall star party is now closed. Please check back around January 1st for information about the spring and fall 2015 star parties!
This year the fall star party is from October 20th to October 26th (a full week). We are very excited to announce that Tyler Nordgren, author of "Stars Above, Earth Below" will be our special guest speaker! And also very excited to announce the first SRSP Imaging Workshop, led by the Richmond Astronomy Club, that will run concurrently with the fall star party! Pay one registration fee, and attend both! Check out the "Schedule" and "Speakers" links to the left to learn more about the events at this fall's star party.
Feel free to explore the web site and if you have any questions, just click on the Feedback link above and send us an e-mail.
We look forward to you attending and hope to make this the best star party on the mid-Atlantic coast. Please let us know if you have any suggestions to make it better. And tell your friends and help us keep the Staunton River Star Party growing!
Your SRSP Team
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 is available for a major part of the observing field. Charging batteries, etc. will be possible for everyone at a charging station.
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. Many times AstroGizmos provides wireless Internet on the observing field.
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 is provided by the park but the cost is not included in the star party registration fee. Many items are available throughout the night for observers, and there is a bottomless cup of coffee available (with a discount if you bring back a cup from a previous star party). Here is a proposed menu (click on the picture to enlarge):
|Mon 7/20||Tue 7/21||Wed 7/22||Thu 7/23||Fri 7/24||Sat 7/25||Sun 7/26|
|12:00||Star Party Opens|
Tyler Nordgren is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Redlands. Prior to arriving at Redlands in 2001 he was an astronomer at both Lowell Observatory and the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. He earned his PhD in astronomy from Cornell University in 1997 for work on dark matter in interacting spiral galaxies. In addition to publishing roughly two dozen peer reviewed scientific articles he is also the author of “Stars Above, Earth Below: A guide to astronomy in the national parks,” a popular science book dedicated to revealing what visitors to America’s national parks can observe in a dark night sky. Since 2007, Dr. Nordgren has worked closely with the U.S. National Park Service Night Sky Program to promote astronomy outreach and night-sky preservation in national parks. Dr. Nordgren has helped document this vanishing landscape with award-winning artwork and night sky photography that has been on display in galleries from New York City to Flagstaff, Arizona and is on display in a number of national parks. As a result of this work he was a past-member of the Board of Directors for the International Dark-Sky Association. In 2004, NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers landed on Mars carrying sundials, or “Marsdials” which Dr. Nordgren helped design with a team of seven other scientists and artists. A third Marsdial that Dr. Nordgren helped design is onboard NASA’s newest rover, Curiosity, which is currently making new discoveries on Mars. He is currently working on a book about solar eclipses for the upcoming August 2017 eclipse, the first total solar eclipse in North America since 1979.
Half The Park Is After Dark
The scenic beauty that our parks protect, and that has been a tourist draw for over a hundred years, no longer ends when the Sun sets. Urban lighting has rendered the stars invisible in most cities. A star-filled sky is now just as much a sight people are willing to drive and see as the views of mountains, waterfalls, and forests that have attracted them in the past. Parks, visitors, and local businesses can all benefit when visitors come for the views by day as well as by night.
Stars Above, Earth Below: Astronomy in the National Parks
Nearly 60% of U.S. residents no longer live in places where the Milky Way is even faintly visible. For most American’s, the national parks have become one of the few remaining places to see a natural star-filled sky. For these visitors, a sky full of stars is now as rare as the sight of glaciers, grizzly bears and granite cliffs that brought them there in the first place. Responding to this fact, night sky programs are now the most popular ranger programs at many parks across the country. In this golden age of space exploration and discovery, a visit to the national parks now reveals the beauty of the universe overhead and the wonders of planetary exploration through the geology on display all around. Together they make the parks a hands-on, eyes-on astronomical opportunity for millions of visitors every year.
David Waite ...
The Staunton River Star Party welcomes the following vendors to the spring 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
Providers of camera and astronomy equipment in the Triangle area of North Carolina.
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.