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  1. #1
    John Nichols's Avatar
    John Nichols Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties

    Let's go beyond the obvious and the general, which I'd think would be your
    scope, a star chart, and a chair.

    When you attend a star party, what do you bring? Does it depend on which
    party you're attending, i.e. distance you have to travel?

    Does what you bring vary? Why?

    How is what you bring to a star party different from what you bring to a
    dark sky site that isn't the location that night for a star party?

  2. #2
    Joe S.'s Avatar
    Joe S. Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties

    "John Nichols" <> wrote in message

    Laptop with power supply that plugs into car 12 VDC outlet.
    GPS receiver
    Bug spray
    Warm clothes
    Cell phone
    Roll of toilet paper

  3. #3
    Chris L Peterson's Avatar
    Chris L Peterson Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties

    On Fri, 11 Aug 2006 17:32:22 GMT, "John Nichols"
    <> wrote:

    Let's adjust the obvious. I don't bring a scope, because my best stuff
    is permanently mounted and I have no reason to bring smaller stuff. I
    take a chart, a chair, a pair of binoculars, and myself.

    A star party is an opportunity for me to be a visual astronomer,
    something I don't often do, and for that I want to take advantage of the
    largest apertures- and there are always a few really good, big scopes.


    Chris L Peterson
    Cloudbait Observatory

  4. #4's Avatar Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties

    John Nichols wrote:

    I'm not sure I follow that question, but the only difference between
    what I bring to a star party, which I take to mean like Texas Star
    Party, Shingletown Star Party, Oregon Star Party, and going out to a
    dark site for the night... other than the obvious....

    More food, more water, and fresh underwear.

    In that order.

  5. #5
    Mean Mr Mustard's Avatar
    Mean Mr Mustard Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties

    John Nichols wrote:

    The main objective is to be comfortable. Don't underestimate how wet
    and cold it can get at a summer star party, which can mean long
    underwear, winter coat and cap. Bring bug repellent.

    Again the main objective is to be comfortable. Is the star party at a
    location with rest rooms, will you have a camper, will you have a tent,
    will there be a concessions stand. If you're roughing it, then I
    suggest taking along food and beverages that will be easy on your
    stomach ... you'll want to avoid a port-a-potty as much as possible.

    You have to be considerate of the other observers, so that means no
    pets, no smoking, disconnecting the lights that come on when opening
    your car door ... etc.

  6. #6
    RMOLLISE's Avatar
    RMOLLISE Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties

    John Nichols wrote:


    Glad you asked...the Fall Star Party Season will be here before we know
    it. ;-)

    When I'm going to be at a star party over several days, as opposed to a
    single evening at a club dark site, I bring the following in addition
    to the usual stuff (scope, mount, eyepieces, dewshield, DewBuster,
    laptop, cameras, battery, red flashlight, star atlas, etc.).

    --Desert storm type cover for the scope and line/tent stakes to stake
    down the tripod (I've seen all too many scopes crash to the ground
    after a sudden windgust, even East of the Mississip).

    --Dining canopy (an EZ Up to be precise). If these are allowed on the
    field, they are a godsend. Even in fairly northern climes the sun can
    get brutal, even in the fall.

    --Tent. I tend to eschew tents as I get older. But I will still sleep
    in one if there are no accomodations onsite or nearby (my idea of
    roughing it is now the Holiday Inn Express in Chiefland, FL ;-)). If a
    tent it must be, err on the side of "too big" rather than "too small."
    You'll be much happier. I'd say "choose one that's easy to erect," but
    luckily most tents are pretty easy to set up now.

    --Sleeping bags. Even if there are cabins and bunks onsite, I bring a
    sleeping bag. Much easier than messing with sheets and blankets. Make
    sure the bag you bring is suited for the temperature conditions you
    will face. And don't forget pillows for your poor noggin. ;-)

    --Ice chest and plenty of bottled water (and whatever other beverages
    you may require ;-)). Always have plenty of water available, and don't
    forget to drink some occasionally while observing. If you get
    dehydrated, you WILL get tired. For that reason and others, save the
    moonshine for dawn. ;-)

    --Binoculars. I rarely use 'em on a club dark site evening, but I
    always wind up using them at a star party. Usually a pair of nice Canon
    10x30s for Dorothy and some humble Burgess 15x70s for me.

    --Emergency eyepieces. I squirrel away a few OK oculars in the scope
    case just in case I ever forget the eyepiece case (is that too many
    "cases"?). Forget your eyepiece bos and you'll be at the mercy of a
    vendor and will be glad to get a Kellner for fifty bucks. ;-)

    --Plenty of ice (unless it's available onsite).

    --Snacks for latenight use. I favor jerky and chocolate these days.
    Take a break at mid evening, eat a little, drink a cup of coffee, and
    stretch your legs with a ramble around the field. Do this every hour or
    two and you'll be surprised how easy it is to keep goin' till dawn.

    --Disposable cups.

    --Trash bags.

    --A tool set, to include small allen wrenches.

    --Tie wraps.

    --Bungie cords.

    --A plastic tarp or two. These always come in handy, and I like to set
    the scope up on a tarp. If I drop wee little things in the night they
    do not become lost in the grass. Bring some landscaping nails to stake
    down your tarp on the ground (tent stakes will stick up above the
    ground and you will be tripping over them _all night long_.

    --Rope/line (remember what Sam Gamgee's ol' Gaffer said. ;-)).

    --Coleman stove and coffee maker. Even if meals are available onsite or
    close at hand offsite, I bring a modern electrically lighted two-burner
    Coleman. If nothing else, one of the Coleman Mr. Coffee style makers
    that fits over the stove means you can make a thermos or two of fresh
    coffee at sundown (unless you can shield it, you might not want to fire
    up the Coleman after dark...the burners put out a surprising amount of

    --Camp/lawn chairs. I now favor the folding canvas chairs that go in
    bags. I do bring one lawn-style chaise lounge, as both my wife,
    Dorothy, and I like to use that with binocs.

    --Entertainment stuff (for use when it's cloudy or during the day).
    Books/magazines, etc. I also usually bring some DVDs that can be played
    on the laptop.

    --I usually bring a CD player/MP3 player to listen to while observing.
    Sometimes I use it; sometimes I don't. I don't usually listen to music
    early in the evening--I prefer to talk to my fellow observers, or just
    listen to the ambient field sounds. Late in the evening as the
    observin' field thins out, however, listening to CDs seems to help me
    keep goin'.

    --Batteries. Even if there is supposedly power on the field, I always
    bring plenty of 12v batteries (I now favor deep cycle marine/trolling
    motor batteries). Just in case, you want to be able to run your
    PC/scope all night on battery. Also, replacment batteries for
    flashlights, radios, etc.

    --If you don't have a 12vdc cord for the laptop, pack a good inverter
    (I have one of the Black and Deckers they sell at WallyWorld, and it
    works well). Forget getting much time out of the laptop's onboard
    battery, especially if you're using a USB camera that needs power from
    the laptop!

    --A _good_ battery charger.

    --A long extension cord and a multi receptacle power strip or similar.

    --If it's the end of the season, and I know I'll be staying in a drafty
    cabin, I bring a small, safe space heater.

    --If we're moving into November and I think it's gonna be chilly, I
    bring some chemical handwarmer thingies in addition to coats, gloves,

    --If it is likely to be cold, dress in layers. Pay particular attention
    to your head and feet. Spreading a carpet square on the ground next to
    your scope will keep your footsies insulated from the cold, cold ground
    and will help a lot.

    --Observing table. I usually use one of those folding camp tables, but
    a card table can also work.

    --Some kind of shield/enclosure for the laptop (to keep dew off and
    further shield the screen (suitably red filtered) from other observers'

    Do I bring this much stuff all the time? No. If I'm flying in to speak
    at a star party, I just bring myself and maybe a pair of binocs. For a
    day or twoer, maybe half this much stuff. For a multi day affair (e.g.
    the TSP), yes, all of it. ;-)

    I will say that in recent times I've tended to reduce/minimize. A C8 on
    a GEM instead of a larger/fork mount scope. Small, disposable styrofoam
    ice chest, no stove coffee maker if there's decent coffee on site or a
    Micky D's in range, etc., etc. You should have seen what some buddys of
    mine and I took to the 1997 TSP (we rented the largest Ryder truck
    available), only to be mostly rained out. ;-)

    Rod Mollise
    Author of:
    Choosing and Using a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope
    The Urban Astronomer's Guide
    The Annual SCT User Imaging Contest is Underway!

  7. #7
    Linux Utilisateur's Avatar
    Linux Utilisateur Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties wrote:

    Water is okay. Eating food at night --- bad idea.

  8. #8
    Starlord's Avatar
    Starlord Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties

    Well, the last star party I was at was over on Oahu in Hawaii and along with
    the normal things such as telescope, etc. I'd take me at lest 10 coils of
    skidder coils, of which I would set up in a 4 pointed area around my scope
    and light'm up so they would smoke all night. Kept me from getting bit!

    Other than that, food and coffee was a must have too.

    The Lone Sidewalk Astronomer of Rosamond

    Telescope Buyers FAQ
    Sidewalk Astronomy
    Astronomy Net Online Gift Shop
    In Garden Online Gift Shop
    Blast Off Online Gift Shop
    Astro Blog

    "John Nichols" <> wrote in message

  9. #9
    St. John Smythe's Avatar
    St. John Smythe Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties

    Starlord wrote:

    As long as we're accused of being tools of satan, we might as well place
    them at the points of a pentagram (and provide a bit of extra coverage).

    St. John
    It gets late early out there.
    -Yogi Berra

  10. #10's Avatar Guest

    Default What Do You Bring to Star Parties

    Linux Utilisateur wrote:

    I'm puzzled by that. Care to explain?


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