Indiana Family Star Party
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I'm just coming for the day; can I bring my telescope in?
Sorry, this year is limited to full-event registrants. If you want to come for just one day, you must register as a full-event participant. Additionally you must either A) stay the night or B) not bring a telescope if you want to leave before the morning or C) leave your scope on the field overnight.
I've got a full event registration, but I'd rather sleep in a bed as opposed to camping. Can I observe and drive off?
Yes, but you will need to park on the outside of the gate by the camp ranger's house. This parking is very limited and goes first for the people helping to run the event. You would have to carry your equipment from the observing field to your car which we do not recommend in the dark.
I'm here and ready to set up but registration is not set up yet, what should I do?
Please come up to the Nature Center before you settle in. Someone is usually up there and will let you know whether the spot you've chosen is ok or if it's reserved for some purpose.
I'd like to have a fire ring for my site, what should I do?
While you can request one of the campsites away from the main field when you register, the likelihood of it being granted is slim. Additionally, these sites are mainly located within the trees so your field of view will be rather small.
I'd like to get a pad by the observatory, what do I need to do?
If you still want a pad, please note on your registration. Do not assume that it will be granted... We will notify you if your request is granted.
What is on the menu for breakfast/lunch/dinner?
We do not get a menu ahead of time. We try to make sure the food is reasonable for most people. We have requested a vegan selection this year be added, but the details are up to the vendor. If you have a dietary requirement/limitation, your best bet is to bring your own food.
I've got a single day admission - can I bring my scope and where should I set it up?
Sorry, single day admission is not being allowed this year.
Are laser pointers allowed?
Yes. They are allowed AND ENCOURAGED for safely pointing out astronomical objects to others. We know this is a problem for people doing astro-photography. While you can use the Astrophotographer's corner (see the maps), you will undoubtedly get streaks in your images. Our best suggestion is to wait until after midnight when their use will usually be rare. If you bring your own, please use it responsibly.
Can I use the big scope?
We are debating whether to open the observatory this year. There is no conclusive evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by contact with the eyepiece, but likewise there is no conclusive evidence that it cannot. At present, we are leaning towards opening the observatory, but we will make a final call at the start of the event.
Do I have to share access to my scope?
No, you do not need to share your telescope at all this year. As was said above, we do not conclusively know whether sharing eyepieces could cause transmission of COVID-19.
The best recommendation that we have is that IF you decide to share your telescope that you use alcohol to wipe the telescope controls and eyepiece cup between every user.
The speaker order is not finalized. When will it be final?
We have to be flexible with the schedule up to the last minute. We should have a 'final' schedule about a week or two before the star party.
Can I get the brunch even though I didn't register for it?
Yes, but the people who fill out their registration and request the brunch get first choice. We do NOT guarantee that there will be anything left over for purchase on the day.
Is there a swap meet?
Yes. Check the schedule for times and location.
When will the speakers be finalized?
The list will be finalized when it is finalized. We contact various people and search for topics that we think will appeal to various levels of interest. When a speaker has said they will show up, we will post what information we can as soon as we can.
Will we have vendors? What about door prizes?
We'd love to say that we will have a dozen vendors onsite for your convince. Sadly, that is not the case. All star parties are having problems getting vendors to show up. The price of going to any star party is beyond many of those still selling astronomy equipment.
We will have door prizes. We have people who contact the various vendors and get some items. Additionally, we have items donated by your fellow amateur astronomers.
Can I get power on the field?
Yes, but you have to bring your own extension cord. We have multiple power outlets available at the Nature Center. The power is shared among everyone who plugs in. (That means toasters, air conditioners or other heavy draw items are prohibited and will result in the breaker tripping.) While we have all power on GFI outlets, please be careful. We test the outlets, but we cannot keep rain (water) from causing a hazardous situation.
Additionally, please make sure that the cords do not cross walkways or driving areas. If you must cross a driving area, the cord MUST be removed from the drive areas at any time when cars on the field are allowed.
Also, please make sure that the cord is not a tripping hazard. It's dark and the cords get hard to spot!