Here are some links to upcoming astronomical events in various places in North America with reviews by our long time member Neil Sandy who has been to these events. Please note that the dates are specific to 2014:
Mount Kobau Star party – July 26th to August 3rd. This one is located 5800 feet up a mountain just outside of Osoyoos.
– seeing and transparency can be excellent although light pollution from the valley below is slowly encroaching.
– beautiful mountain top site with hiking trails and view points of the valleys below
– astro speakers, imaging and telescope making contests
– excellent door prize draw on the last saturday of the party
– friendly atmosphere
– weather extremes can be crazy even in summer. Bring your shorts and sunscreen along with your ski pants, mountain boots and scarf!
– no food or water available on site
– rough terrain makes it difficult to find level areas for scopes, tents and motor homes
– access road to site in poor condition
comments: Its a tough site to camp on and the access is poor but the skies can be worth it. Average turnout around 150 attendees.
Oregon star party August 19th to 24th This ones in the middle of nowhere in Oregon.
Sky conditions can be some of the best in north America
Food, coffee, astro gear, speakers, telescope making contests,… its all here.
Good door prizes and lots of them!
– Its a long days drive with minimal stopping if you want to do it in one day.
– dusty ground and no shade and it can get HOT during the day (its in the desert)
– check for forest fires in the area before you go
– busy US border crossing and border guards with lots of attitude, especially on the way back to Canada.
Comments: “Those aren’t clouds lad, that’s the milky way”. Attendance 500 plus. Over 900 in 2003.
Summer Star Quest 2014 (Merritt)
Merritt star quest – August 23 to Sept 1st. Located 20 minutes from Merritt in a dormant gravel pit.
– Large, level site
– Sky conditions can be very good
– just 20 minutes to a major centre (merritt) for food and supplies
– good road all the way there from Vancouver
– Usually held later in the season when the days are cooler and the nights Longer!
– Your entry fee basically buys you only the use of a porta-potti and a chance at the door prize draw (you have to be present to win)
– no scheduled speakers or events during the day (none that I am aware of)
– bring your own everything here as there is no food or water available on site
Comments:: Attendance to this event is getting smaller instead of it growing. The fact that this is a bare bones event could be partly responsible as well as dates could be an issue some years especially when it runs after labour day. Bottom line is its the closest to the coast and the skies can be very good. If you just want to log some long nights at the scope with minimal interruption this is the one. Attendance less than 100
July 22nd to July 26th. Temporarily relocated away from Table mountain to Eden Valley ranch just 15 miles from Osoyoos in the US. Attendance of up to 700 at the old site but not sure about Eden Valley.
– Well within a days drive and good road access
– Lots of gear to look at and Vendors to buy from
– Latte, coffee and burgers available at 2am…. the only other place you can get that is Oregon star party
– A shower truck? Not sure this year but some years they have em
– the most door prizes. Some years have taken over 2 hours to do the draw.
– You have to cross the US border at Osoyoos but its rarely busy.
– Spotty cell phone coverage
Neil sent us this web cam link to check out the weather for the Table Mountain Star Party: http://www.edenvalleyranch.net/home/eden-valley-cam.html
I hope this inspires some of you to get out under the skies this summer. There is no better way to get acquainted with all the ins and outs of telescope gear and observing than going to a star party where you have dozens or even hundreds of other amateurs willing to share there experience with you… It is a wonderful experience.