near Mount Forest, Ontario
presented by North York Astronomical Association
Starfest Home Page
How StarParties Work
This is meant to be a quick intro to starparties for those who may have not heard the term before
or for those who have and never checked it out *Smiles.
If you are interested in
checking out every kind of telescope possible side by side (in the daylight)
listening to some great (and some famous) speakers (topics of your choice)
actually viewing from a few of the different kinds of telescopes you like the best
shopping in an "astronomy store" at your fingertips (starparty deals available)
socializing with friends you know from the club (so you are not alone)
meeting new friends with the same astronomy interest (of all levels of experience)
then a starparty is worth checking out!!
Here is how it works:
You can camp or not.
You can go for one day and leave, one night and camp, or stay for the weekend.
Saturday is the day to be there. It is the main day with the very best "talks" to attend in the daytime and the special evening presentation to attend (usually with door prizes including scopes and binocs!), and the night with the most astronomical population. Most starparties' talks are about one hour long and scheduled into the program anywhere between Friday morning and Saturday night.
Amateur astronomers as well as professional astronomers will be your neighbours at the camp ground (usually an empty field). Tents and telescopes will be set up all around the place. What an amazing sight! All astronomers are very approachable (dying to explain their telescope to you or have you take a peek). Don't be afraid - ask. They are likely hoping you will.
Attending a speaker's talk is optional. On the registration form, you will find on the websites, it will tell you what talks or workshops are available and when they start. (Registration is usually cheaper before a certain date). Lots of people will still be around outside if you decide to skip a speaker's topic in the big tent or in the barn. Informally, campers walk in late or leave when they want during a talk and no one will remember you for doing so.
The most important equipment you need to purchase before attending a starparty is a small, handheld flashlight. Expect to be yelled at if you use it without obtaining red film to secure around the light base with an elastic band. It is always available from the entrance/registration gate. (White light destroys night vision and astrophotography).
There is always a swap table on the schedule - even if you are not shopping for something - you will likely find some neat items to ponder over. Astronomy stores are also at camp (more so at Starfest). Hint: take $
M31 our club's starparty is just for us and our families hosted by Dave and Joan S. on their dark sky property. Again come for the day and a view or camp out.
Huronia is a small camp ground with around 200-300 ppl
Starfest is a large camp ground with around 1,000 ppl
(Can you imagine the number of telescopes?!)
This is the largest Starparty in Canada.
Due to the size of Starfest, if you have never been there before and wish to check it out, it might be helpful to know where to find most of our group.
Starfest site on the webpage I've given you above- enter starfest site link to see map.
Viewing the Map - - The entrance gate is on the far right of the map at the end of the single road. Follow the road in until you reach the first intersection. Continue straight just past the ½ way mark between the intersection and the big white tent ahead of you. Most of our group members and our large banner will be camping right there just off the road on your left side (on the flat side before the big tent). The blue and red dots all over the grass on the map are the cars, tents, and scopes.
Most of the talks (and Sat. night dinner) are held in the big white tent. Some talks are held in the small white tent where the small rectangle shape is on the grassy area to the right of the big tent in the field. Straight behind the big tent is a building for showers, etc. (Loonies needed for showers - I always forget to take the correct change! [not that I don't have a shower! *Smiles])
On the left of this website page, click on the "link-title" Starfest (and current year). There is all your talk info, registration info, etc. etc.
Starparties are a lot of fun (solar viewing is on the day program as well - I will certainly have my solar scope there) and there are always an infinite number of things to learn. If you attend other starparties or attend Starfest every year, you will start running into familiar faces.
There is nothing like a party under the stars.
article written by Sheila Sz.