15th Annual


Indiana Family Star Party
and Greatcon 2017

Preliminary Schedule of Events:
GREATCon Contest: The Great Lakes Region of the Astronomical League will be holding an astro-quiz at 10:30 am Saturday in the Nature Center. The astrophotography, astro-art, and telescope making contests of past years have been cancelled due to lack of interest, but the exhibition area at the south end of the Nature Center is still available (after Friday brunch) if you have images or artwork or telescopes/equipment you'd like to exhibit.

Daytime Solar Observing: The Observatory has an H-alpha solar filter for the 16" LX200R, and a white-light filter for the 7" refractor, which will be used for observing sunspots and solar prominences during the day.

Swap Meet: 11:30am-12 noon Friday and Saturday, at the picnic shelter north of the Nature Center. An extra table will be set up for this since the picnic shelter will also be used for the food vendor.

Beginning Astronomy Workshop: As the name of the event suggests, we are encouraging people to bring the whole family. The $5/$15 single-day fee is designed to encourage this, and to encourage newcomers to the hobby. So there will be an "intro to astronomy" talk/class for beginners on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:30 (meet at the Nature Center) to introduce you to some of the basics- what will be visible that night, and a tour of the observing field to demonstrate how to use the many types of telescopes that will be available that night.

Sky Trekker Program: The Sky Trekker observer's program is for kids and has five levels. The first level, Sky Trekker I, is designed for beginners and requires participants to find only naked-eye objects: six constellations and three bright stars. Level IC (C for "Challenge") is for kids who have completed Level I before. Level IC participants must find 4 additional constellations. The second level, Sky Trekker II, is designed for kids who have previous experience using binoculars and telescopes, and familiarity with several common constellations. They will be asked to find six constellations, five bright stars, and 3 deep space objects from five different categories, plus one solar system object (other than the earth). Level IIC is for kids who have completed Level II before. These participants must find 4 additional constellations and 1 more deep space object than Level II. The recommended minimum age is 6- children must be able to read the SkyTrekker booklet (a copy of the booklet from a recent year is here). The maximum age is 18. There's also a "Sky Trekker Jr" level for pre-schoolers who want to participate.

Those wishing to participate must sign up at the Nature Center by 7:00 p.m. Friday. Participants will be given a Sky Trekker booklet and a planisphere (limit: one planisphere per family). A Sky Trekker Workshop will be held that night at 8:00 p.m. at the Nature Center. Sky Trekker examinations will begin at 10:00 p.m. at the observatory. Upon completion of the program, participants will be recognized with a certificate or ribbon, and an ice-cream treat.

The Sky Trekker program was featured in the March 2009 issue of the Astronomical League's "Reflector" magazine. The article is here. A pdf file of a recent Sky Trekker booklet is here.

All Night Long: Stargazing. And if it clouds up, or you just need a break, Sci-fi movies will be showing all night long (Fri-Sat only) in the Nature Center. Free coffee, hot chocolate, and popcorn will be available from 9pm till midnight (Fri-Sat only).
Wednesday 3:00 pm Gates open
  9:01 pm Sunset
  dusk till dawn Observing
Thursday 3:00 pm Gates open
9:00 pm Sunset
dusk till dawn Observing
Friday 10:00 am Gates open
10:00 am- noon Brunch
daytime Solar observing
11:30 am -noon Swap meet at picnic shelter
4:00 pm Single-day admission opens
6-7:30 pm Swap meet at picnic shelter
6:15 pm Ice Cream Social and IFSP Orientation
7:00 pm Round-table Discussion
8:00 pm Sky Trekker Launch
8:30 pm Beginning Astronomy Workshop
8:59 pm Sunset
  9:00 pm Constellations talk by Lisa at the Nature Center.
10:00 pm Sky Trekker Testing
Dusk till dawn Observing
Saturday 10:00 am Gates open
10:30 am Astro-Quiz
daytime Solar observing
11:30 am-noon Swap meet at picnic shelter
  12:45 pm Intro session: IFSP Orientation
  1:00-2:00 pm Mission to Mars presented by Greg McCauley.
  2:30 - 3:30 pm Dr. David Ellis presents NASA and the 2017 Eclipse.
  4:00 - 5:30 pm Dr. Sundeep Rayat presents Chasing the Aurora
Borealis in Yellowknife.
  6-7:30 pm Swap meet at picnic shelter
  6:00 pm Awards and door prizes
  8:30 pm Beginning Astronomy Workshop
  8:58 pm Sunset
  9:00 pm Constellations talk by Lisa at the Nature Center.
  10:00 pm Sky Trekker Testing
  dusk till dawn Observing
Sunday 12:00 noon Event closes