AHSP Registrants –

This newsletter is to bring you up to date on AHSP status, and to remind you of some hints as you prepare for the long weekend in 2 weeks.


There are a few slots remaining for any friends who have not yet registered, and camping spots on the Red Field, where you can camp by your equipment and leave your car in a nearby parking area.

We’ve reached capacity for caving and the NRAO Behind-the-Scenes tour. Of the activities requiring registration, space is still available for NRAO overnight observing, Cass Railroad, Spruce Knob summit hike, and canoeing. If you are interested in adding an activity or signing up for meals, you should register by sending an email to <info@ahsp.org>. Our ability to add meals will end early this week.

The agenda is just about complete. You will see a compact version of the full agenda attached to this email. More detailed information is or will soon be on the website www.ahsp.org.


We have one more telephone call-in for questions about AHSP. This will be this Friday, August 15 at 7:00 p.m. until 7:30 or so. The phone number is 703 349 9500 and the conference code is “AHSP” (2477). This will be a great opportunity to ask about how AHSP works, or to find out what is new. Please join us.

We will also have one more newsletter with last minute news.

New kids’ program

The agenda shows some of the special kids’ activities being arranged by Cathryn Marsh and Arlen Raasch. Each younger participant will receive a special packet at registration with details.  The first two events will be activities and snacks on the Deck from 3-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Saturday event will include solar observing.

The third event will be Telescope Show and Tell  (starting from the Yurt Deck) during which young participants will visit their telescopes on the field, and can explain their equipment and observing to others. Don’t worry if you don’t yet have your own telescope – this is for everyone.

On Monday, weather permitting, there will be model rocket launching arranged by Arlen Raasch. This was a great hit last year.

Finally, we will repeat the special raffle prizes for young astronomers. They will receive special raffle tickets for the items reserved for kids. The raffle itself will be Sunday at 4:30 on the Deck, immediately before dinner.

Skip Bird will be speaking twice during the weekend, and his great enthusiasm is appropriate for all ages.

Other news

The speakers’ schedule has been set. Note that Bob Naeye of S&T will give a two-part talk on cosmogony and evolution. Part 1 is the after-dinner talk on Friday, and part 2 is after lunch on Saturday.  At the moment, there is an opening on Monday after dinner for an intrepid soul who would like to present a topic of broad interest. Contact Bob Parks bparks@volt.org or info@ahsp.org if you are interested.

John McDonnell has updated the observing lists and finder charts  for the sky in late August. The lists now include one for binoculars. This is a great source for ideas on what you can see during AHSP. You might use these as a start for going after one of the Astronomical League challenges. <http://www.ahsp.org/home/program/observing/observinglists/>

Joe Morris is offering an open house tour of his permanent  observatory from 3-4 on Saturday and Sunday. The building is located on the ridge above and west of the observing fields.

10th anniversary celebration:  We will have a special desert one evening to celebrate this tenth anniversary of AHSP.  Everyone is invited, not just those signed up for TMI meals. We will let you know which evening in the next newsletter.

For something different, I’ll present a hands-on introduction to celestial navigation with a sextant at 3:00 on Sat & Sun afternoons, alongside the solar observing with telescopes on the Yurt Deck. In addition to trying your hand at measuring the Sun above an artificial horizon, you’ll see if you can figure out your location in the way it was done at sea for 200 years. Minimal arithmetic and drawing skill required.

Crass commercialism

For several years, we have scheduled a Swap Table at AHSP. This year, it will take place on the deck from 4-5:30 on Friday and Saturday. This is a do-it-yourself activity, where anyone who wants can bring items he/she has for sale, and attendees can browse and dicker for all those great astronomy-related objects they need or want. This might be books, observing aids, telescopes, parts, ATM supplies, large coffee mugs, etc. Sellers should plan to stay by their stuff for the duration.

If you plan to sell a major item at the Swap Table, you could let me know and I will list it in the final newsletter, so that other attendees will know that it is available.

Hands On Optics will be at AHSP in strength, as they were last year. HOO has been a strong supporter of AHSP in the past. If you’re in the market for something they sell, or find you forgot something you need on the mountain, you’ll be able to deal with HOO directly. If there is something you’d like to see in particular, give Gary Hand a call in advance.

Good News:  Equipment you acquire _at_ AHSP (swap table, vendor, or raffle) does NOT count toward the new-equipment weather jinx!

Being prepared

Richard Grauel has updated our TMI emergency plan. While most of this information is for the volunteer organizing team, there are a few points about which everyone should be aware:

— If you need help, call on your FRS radio or find one of the organizers, who will be wearing a distinctive orange AHSP lanyard.

— We are at a remote mountain location, and must depend on ourselves for an hour before any help can arrive. Any fire needs an aggressive, early response. If you are not feeling well, ask for help _before_ it gets serious.

— If you have some skill or training in emergency response or health, or have Red Cross first aid training, please let us know (at <info@ahsp.org>). As you well understand, this information is much more useful to the AHSP volunteers if we have it in advance, and hope not to call on you. This information will not be distributed beyond Richard Grauel and the staff with a direct need to know.

Every year, we try to emphasize the unpredictability of mountain weather – beyond the beautiful clear nights. This year we have had unusually low temperatures some nights, which should be a reminder to bring layered clothing and sleeping equipment, since temperatures could get down to the 40s at night.

Getting there

We’ve heard of no significant changes to the routes to TMI, or the facilities and points of interest on the way. For more information, see the notes from last year at http://www.ahsp.org/news/communications/planning-your-trip/.  Remember, coming from the DC area, gas is cheaper in VA than in WV, the last “full-service” towns along the way (selection of gas, fast food, supermarket, WalMart) are Moorefield (larger) and Petersburg (smaller), and the last village with a country store for basic supplies is Seneca Rocks. Wardensville, WV has been reported to be a speed trap.

You might also want to look at General Planning Notes about camping and observing at TMI at http://www.ahsp.org/general-planning-notes-for-2013/.


As always, if you have any questions, or wish to add some activities to your registration, contact us at info@ahsp.org. And remember the call-in next Friday!

— Alan Goldberg, for the volunteer organizing committee.