Here is the consolidated communications emails that went out from firstname.lastname@example.org this year. The latest one #4 is at the top.
AHSP 2017 Newsletter #4 sent July 12 2017
This is the 4th and final Registrant Newsletter for AHSP 2017. We will see you in a week at SKMC.
AHSP 2017 sold out some weeks ago. Chris Lee continues to manage the informal waiting list, should anyone find they cannot attend and wish to swap registration with someone who is waiting. He is unlikely to be able to continue this past tomorrow.
We may be able to accept late registration on-site for the Spruce Knob summit hike (Sun. AM) and caving (Sun. PM). Additions are closed for the Beaver Dam hike, canoeing, and Cass RR.
All the speaker and event information has been updated on the web site. <http://www.ahsp.org/home/program/events-overview/> The almanac has been updated for 2017 with information for planning your planetary and sky observations. <http://www.ahsp.org/home/program/observing/solarsystem/>
Ian Carmack’s birding walk, Lyle Mars’ geology walk, and my hands-on celestial navigation are open to all comers.
— Kids events
Kambridge Giles plans to host some organized time for board games in the upper level of the kitechen yurt on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday afternoons. Parents should stay and help supervise. Details will be in your registration package and updated on the message boards.
Arlen Raasch will again manage model rocketry during the weekend. This will be scheduled based on wind conditions and other safety considerations. Pay attention to announcements at AHSP.
And remember that there are special items reserved for younger participants during at the raffle Sunday before dinner.
— Thinking about beginning astrophotography?
John Sojka will be speaking on starting in astrophotography, camera only and through the telescope. He suggests the following in preparation:
PHOTOGRAPHERS! Make sure you bring your camera to the Saturday morning (9:30 AM) session of “Fun With Photons – Imaging the Night” to learn how to image objects at night without a flash, light paint, the moon, star trails, the Milky Way, and even a deep space object. The session will cover camera sensor basics, so attendees can understand the camera settings and learn how and why to adjust them.
If you would like to attach your camera to a telescope, you will need to purchase two inexpensive items ahead of time: 1. A T-Ring for your brand of camera and 2. A T-Adapter that connects your camera, with T-Ring, to a telescope! They can be found on eBay and Amazon. You may also wish to contact your favorite astronomy or camera store for more information. A good primer can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ-6iW2xJCg.
In addition, there are more talks on practical astrophotography by Kevin Quinn and Doug Murphy Satuday PM, and eclipse photography by Dan Ward as part of the eclipse seminar on Monday PM.
— Last minute preparation
Please remember that no one can be admitted before 10:00 Friday. Information on the website gives suggestions for other campsites in the vicinity if you need to arrive in the area earlier.
Two other firm rules:
- No onsite registrations. If Chris hasn’t _acknowledged_ that a person is registered, that person will not be admitted.
- No cars can come or go after dusk.
You may find the “AHSP Checklist” useful as you make final preparations:
This summarizes the items we’ve mentioned in hints before, and has been updated based on past experience for 2017.
We will have one more telecon for last minute questions next Tuesday, July 18 at 7:00. The dial-in number is 323-920-0091 with conference ID “1024009”. It will last about a half hour.
— AV help
We can still use more volunteers to assist with video recording of our speakers in the yurt. Signup is at www.volunteersignup.org/QLPDK
By the way, thanks to all those who have volunteered to help at the registration tent early in the weekend.
— Swap table
The organizing committee would like to put more emphasis on the swap table this year. Despite the name, the items are most often bought and sold, of course. Most of us have unused or underused equipment and accessories, and others have a list of things they would like to have at a good price.
We understand that the time slot — before dinner on Friday — may not be best for many. We would like to encourage more participation by those on-site, and we will consider different scheduling in the future.
To get things off to a faster start this year, we’ll send out a ‘Selling & Wanted’ list in advance, next Wednesday. Send me the items you have in those classifications. You can use this list even if you do not expect to be there in time for the swap table, but will have your items with you later in the weekend. Include your name, contact email during the weekend (remember, we have Web access near the Yurts), whether you’ll be at the table, and for each item whether it is ‘selling’ or ‘wanted’, and optionally price.
If your item is difficult to carry, you can drive to the area near the deck for as long as it takes for dropoff.
— More info
As always, if you have questions or comments at any time, even during the event, send to email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
At AHSP, the volunteer staff will be identified by the orange lanyards for their nametags. They can either help, you find the person who can.
I’ll send specific information to Cass outing participants and speakers in the next day or two.
AHSP 2017 Newsletter #3 sent June 25 2017
AHSP 2017 Newsletter #2 sent June 04 2017
- daily highs above 80 4
- daily low below 55 5
- dew point above 65 2
- 24h precip >0.1 6
- daily peak gust 15+ 13
- daily avg. wind 0-2 23
- A ‘swap table’ is scheduled for Friday afternoon on the deck. Bring your unwanted astronomical gear, or bring cash and pick up a bargain. I will again have aluminized woven plastic tarp material that makes a protective and cooling cover for your telescope – and cheap.
- Two of our speakers are distinguished authors of books for amateurs.
- Prof. Mike Reynolds will have copies of three books – Binocular Stargazing (2005), Falling Stars: A Guide to Meteors & Meteorites (2010), and Observe Eclipses! (Astronomical League 1995)
- Jerry Hubbell will have copies of two books – Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data, 2012; and Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes from Home, 2015 — both from The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series from Springer.
- Explore Scientific will be at AHSP with a tent to demo (day & night) some of its items: a telescope mount (EXOS 2 GT PMC-Eight); a telescope (FCD100 102 EDAPO CF ); and eyepieces (100 deg 20 mm, 82 deg 30 mm, 82 deg 14 mm , 82 deg 8.8 mm). They will offer all items in their catalog with a 15% discount on the Minimum Advertised Price and take orders for shipment from their factory direct to you. Explore has also donated eyepieces to the raffle on Sunday.
Chris Lee – chairman; SKMC coordination; registration; website; apparel; dorm coordination; teardownSkip Bird – sky tour; generalMarty Bordelon — raffle coordination; field layout; teardownTerry Cabell – first aid prep; registration & check-inIan Carmack — birding tourJo Charlton– activities launch; dorm coordination; presenter coordinationElizabeth Erickson – activities launch; dorm coordinationKambridge Giles – rocketry; prize recording; activities launch; kids activitiesAlan Goldberg – program; observing almanac; Cass outing; attendee communications; websiteRichard Grauel — battery charging shuttle; site safety; first aid prep; field layoutWade Hampton — generalLyle Mars – geology hike; field layoutSean Mathews — meal coordination; teardownShauna Mathews– parking setup & ops; registration & check-inJohn McDonnell – publicity; observing lists; vendors; raffleEuro Micelli – gate operations; raffle; teardownZack Panitzke – website; generalArlen Raasch — materiel logistics; rocketry; first aid prep; teardownPatricia Rostkowski– staff supplies; registration & check-inKathryn Scott – raffle; presenter coordination; field layoutJames Stack – tent arrangementsDan Ward – Cass outing
AHSP 2017 Newsletter #2 sent June 04 2017
Welcome to the first registrant newsletter for Almost Heaven Star Party 2017! The volunteer committee will be sending out several newsletters between now and AHSP2017 opening the gates on Friday July 21. We hope these will help you prepare for an enjoyable weekend of observing, relaxation, and hanging with friends.
Over 80% of spots at AHSP are already reserved. As of this writing (Tuesday May 9), all options are still available for new registrants, although only one spot in the RV field and just one spot for the Beaver Dam hike remain. Any friends who have not yet registered should act soon. Similarly, if you want to add an activity to your existing registration, you should do so soon by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s new this year
The biggest change this year is scheduling earlier in the summer to avoid conflicting with the total solar eclipse. This means statistically warmer days and warmer nights, but in the mountain climate above 4000 ft. everything should be quite comfortable. It also means more time to prepare equipment between the after-dinner talks and twilight.
The Mountain Institute (TMI), our host over the past 12 years, has reorganized. Spruce Knob Mountain Center (SKMC) is now separate from the other cultural and environmental awareness activities of TMI. As a result, we are more properly referring to our site as SKMC. You will see this now on the AHSP website. The staff and policies remain the same. “Experience Learning” is the new parent organization. The SKMC website is https://experience-learning.org/ .
In response to participants who have taken advantage of cooked meals in the past, starting this year WE WILL NOT NEED TO WASH OUR OWN DISHES!
Due to a scheduling conflict, we will not be able to offer the group tour and overnight observing at NRAO. Anyone interested is welcome to take a public tour of NRAO either before, during, or after AHSP. Taking advantage of this time slot, SKMC staff will lead a new environmental hike to a nearby beaver dam.
As part of the daytime speaker program, we will have a special session on Monday afternoon for those planning to travel to the eclipse center line. (If you have not already made arrangements to get to the path of totality, you should do so soon. Accommodations are already scarce, and travel to the centerline may be difficult in many areas.) For those who will be in totality, this session will help you plan for what to expect and what you can see and record around and during totality.
Other speakers and topics have been added on the Events Schedule. http://www.ahsp.org/home/program/events-overview/ . We will have a full schedule of talks and events from Friday afternoon through Monday evening.
What stays the same
- Dark sky observing on the highest ridge in WV – check
- Home cooked meals by the SKMC staff – check
- Showers and indoor plumbing – check
- Full program of talks and demonstrations, including kids’ activities, nature hikes and outings – check
- Internet access and battery charging at the Yurts – check
- Cass Railroad outing – check
- Newly designed hats and shirts – check
If you wish to add any of these items that you missed with registration, send your request to email@example.com
Still to come
Future newsletters will point out specific material on the website that will help your planning, especially if you are a first-timer. We are actively updating material on the site for AHSP2017.
If you have questions, you can check the website first, and send any remaining questions or special requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will repeat our successful information teleconferences several times in the next few weeks, to answer questions of individual or group interest. All are welcome to dial in.
Also, we are still looking for a few volunteers to help with various tasks on-site. Let us know at email@example.com if you can help.
As a reminder of how good AHSP can be, follow this link < http://www.ahsp.org/2016-ahsp-photos/ > to photos from last year, both of the sky and of the event.