Indiana Family Star Party
Access in/out of the camp is via the old east gate (see the map). The check-in booth is on the main road through the camp, at the entrance to the "single-day" parking lot. Those paying only the daily fee will have to park in this lot. Those paying the full weekend fee will be allowed to drive past to the observing field (during daylight hours only!) The check-in booth will be staffed from 4pm to 10pm Friday and 10am to 10pm Saturday. During other hours (after 3pm Thursday or 10am to 4 pm Friday), weekend registrants can check in at the info room at the Nature Center.
Special Note for RVs: The road through the camp via the east gate has steep hills and low overhanging tree branches, so owners of larger RVs may want to use the west gate, which can be used if necessary during daytime hours. The gate will be closed, but call the camp's phone at (765) 296-2753 for us to come open the gate.
The camp does not have RV hook-ups.
No driving on the observing field after dark.
No white lights in the observing areas. If you don't have a red-light flashlight, we will have a roll of transparent red plastic available at the info booth at the Nature Center that you can put over your light to convert it to red light.
"Saving" parking/camping spaces on the observing field for later arrivals is limited to one extra space per "already arrived" individual/family. (Please make sure this spot is well marked to avoid disputes.)
The event's organizers and volunteers will be using FRS ("Family Band") radios set to channel 11 to communicate. If you are using FRS radios, please use a different channel.
Campfires are permitted in established campfire rings only, and must never be left unattended. No campfires in or near the observing field.
Camp stoves are permitted on the observing field before dark and some group campsites have charcoal cooking grills. There's a microwave oven at the observatory.
Do not run generators on the observing field. Generators can be used north of the observing field on the north side of the gravel lane (near the playground area), or at other areas further from the observing field and observatory, but only from noon to 8pm.
Since many observers will be up until dawn and may be sleeping late, excessive noise before noon is prohibited.
Bag all garbage, dispose of cigarette butts, and clean up your campsite.
Water and restrooms are available at the Nature Center.
Well-behaved pets are allowed, but do not walk your dog on the observing field- it would be way too easy for a dog to wrap its leash around a telescope's tripod leg and knock it down. There are several large open areas in other areas of the camp. Cleanup after your pet is required.
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WiFi is available on the field, but we have a very slow connection. Streaming of music or video is prohibited.
Questions? Contact Russ Kaspar at 765-659-4451 email@example.com.
No firearms, fireworks, controlled substances, or alcohol are allowed in the camp. This is a childrens camp and we obey their rules. Anyone found with any of these is subject to immediate eviction from the event and forfeit of all fees.
Star Party Etiquette and tips:
If you've never been to a star party before, here are a few tips:
Most amateur astronomers love to show off what's visible through their scopes, so don't be shy about asking to look through someone's scope. If the image doesn't appear to be properly focused, ask the scope owner how to adjust the focus. If you wear glasses for near- or far-sightedness, you will probably find it easier to view if you remove your glasses and adjust the focus for your eyes.
If the object being viewed appears near the edge of the scope's field of view, or if you can't see it at all, tell the scope owner so he can adjust the aim. Many scopes today have motorized or computerized mounts which can be damaged if you try to move the scope manually. However some other scopes have very simple mounts that aren't even motorized to track the object (as the earth rotates beneath it), so the object will slowly drift across the field of view. That means you may need to occasionally move the scope to keep the object centered. In most cases, you move it by just physically nudging the eyepiece end of the scope, but check with the owner first. And since the optics may make the image appear upside-down or mirror reversed, the direction that you need to move the scope may not be what you expect, so try a small nudge first to find out how the image moves. As a general rule, the skyward end of the scope needs to move gradually towards the west, to counter the earth's eastward rotation.
No white light! Many astronomical objects are faint, even when viewed through a telescope, so preserving the dark-adapted state of our eyes is very important. Red-light flashlights are permitted, since red light has less effect on dark-adaptation. If you don't have a red-light flashlight, we will have a roll of transparent red plastic available at the information booth (at the Nature Center) to put over your flashlight to convert it to red light. Even then, keep it aimed low, and avoid shining it in people's faces.
Bring warm clothing. Even in July/August, it can get surprisingly cold late at night. And if you'll be there during the day, remember to bring sunscreen.
Many of those camped on the observing field will be staying up very late and sleeping during the day, so loud noise, especially before noon, is seriously frowned upon.