AHSP Preparations Checklist

Revised August 11 2019

Here is a list of items which you should consider in getting ready for your AHSP weekend. Of course, not all of these apply to everyone.

Remember the importance of being familiar with your equipment before heading to AHSP. At a minimum, set it up and operate it in a familiar location, and practice putting it and yourself through its paces. Learn the buttons, knobs, and controls. Set adjustments to be comfortable. See how to attach wires so they don’t bind or become tripping or entanglement hazards. The better you understand your equipment, the more enjoyable your experience at the star party, where it will be darker and you may be more tired than at previous outings.

The need for a pre-check applies also to camping equipment, most of all to tents. For those pitching tents or shade canopies, bear in mind that wind on the open, ridgetop field can at times be quite strong, and prepare accordingly. Pitch your tent at home if you haven’t done so recently. Note especially any instructions on pole assembly and on fully attaching the inside of the rainfly to the tent frame. Check whether any poles are missing or broken, and that there is a guyline attached to each of the tent’s guyout loops. Check that you have enough stakes to secure all of the guylines as well as all the stake loops on the edge of the tent floor, Do not rely on the set of “fair-weather” stakes that came with your tent—these are usually too few, and too flimsy, and inadequate for strong wind gusts.

  • tripod
  • power supply, batteries, charger
  • eyepieces, filters
  • dew shield; lenscaps
  • dew heaters
  • solar filter
  • telescope rain/wind/sun cover; guy lines & stakes
  • zero-power (LED spot) finder & batttery; finder scope; guide scope
  • assembly, adjustment, alignment tools
  • observing chair, stool, ladder
  • accessory table
  • dewproof containers
  • control computer
  • software, cables
  • computer screen light shield
  • star charts, observing list
  • guide books; instruction manuals
  • observing plan; observing logbook
  • cleaning materials (outside surfaces, optics: blower, lens brush)
  • ground cover
  • red flashlights, batteries
  • NO laser pointer (not permitted!)
  • spares for your setup
  • duck tape, tie wraps, velcro wraps, bungee cords
  • cases, wheeled carrier
  • watch or clock for obseving use
  • luminous or LED markers on tripod legs and things you must find or not hit in the dark
  • wide, dark tape to mask bright indicator lights and car lights that cannot be switched/programmed “off”
  • batteries, charger
  • memory card
  • remote release, intervalometer, computer control interface
  • lenses
  • telescope adapters
  • filters, holders
  • tripod, piggyback bracket
  • dewshield, lens warmer
  • non-electronic film camera (for Greenbank)
  •  

 

  • tent,  tent rainfly, complete set of poles, ground stakes, and guylines for all guyout points. Guyline tensioner adjusters are also very handy.
    • to cope with winds:  buy additional, and stronger-holding, ground stakes. Tents typically come with short (6” or 7”) narrow metal pins that may pull out in windy conditions.  Consider the widely-available 10” steel stakes that have a poundable top surface and a plastic gizmo just underneath.  9″ plastic or metal stakes with a thick, channelized cross-section are another option.  Remember to bring stakes for all guylines. Hammer or rubber mallet for driving ground stakes; stakes that will not be pulled out by strong winds cannot be inserted without a hammer!
  • tent pole repair kit.  REI sells a kit for aluminum poles and another for fiberglass poles—the types are not interchangeable 
  • luminous or LED markers on guy lines & pegs
  • reflective & opaque tarp to cover your tent during daytime
  • tent “footprint,” or extra ground cover sheet, to protect the tent’s floor—though the grassy field  is not hard on tents.  If using a tarp for this, cut it slightly smaller than the bottom of your tent.
  • sleeping bag, bed, pad
  • red-filtered lamp illumination
  • bulk water containers; travel cup
  • cooler & ice
  • food for meals, observing snacks
  • drinks other than water
  • dishware
  • camp stove (enclosed only, no open fires)
  • trash bags (take your trash when you leave)
  • generator (quiet only, limited use)

 

  • hat; sunscreen
  • sturdy shoes; extra shoes
  • hiking or walking stick
  • clothing layers for the range 85F-40F
  • rain gear — umbrella, slicker w/hood
  • backpack
  • FRS radio
  • personal first aid kit
  • medicines – prescription and OTC
  • towels, shower shoes
  • toiletries
  • NO pets (really sorry about this, but strictly enforced)
  • directions to SKMC
  • cellphone (likely not operative at SKMC)