2024 Winter Star Party

2024 Winter Star Party Registration is closed

February 5th - February 11th

Well my friends, the the 2024 Winter Star Party is over and everyone is back home safe and sound. WSP 2025 dates are set, January 27th to February 1st.
We had some weather issues with the rain early on and of course, the wind made it's presence known on a regular basis. To the good, we had 3 1/2 crystal clear nights under Bortle 3 skies.
It was great to see all of our old friends and just as great to make new ones. For you first timers, we hope that you now feel as we do, the Winter Star Party is a yearly must!
We all have had a lot of great times together over the years and this year was no exception!. We are sad to see Michelle and GC  ride off into the night
but we wish them great happiness and success in the future. It was our pleasure to grant Mickies Kitchen a lifetime membership into Southern Cross. We are beyond gratefull for
all the years of dedicated service to the Star Party and the thousands of brownies too!

We want to thank the WSP committee leaders and their respective staff. Winter Star Party would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the following people:

Tim Khan, WSP Director
Charlie Perillo, Host Coordinator
Neal Kleinman, Speaker Coordinator
Sergio Fiquero, Video Coordinator
Jose Cordozo, Sales Coordinator
Russ Brick, Vendor Coordinator
David Liles, Registrar

The Winter Star Party and Southern Cross Astronomical Society wish to thank all of our vendors who support the WSP with door Prizes.
Your support makes our amazing door prize drawing posasable!

Agena Astro
APM Telescopes
Astronomy Shoppe
Atlanta Astronomy Club
Atlanta Hobby
Barry Christ
Bob's Knobs
Camera Concepts and Telescope Solutions
Charlie Warren
Daystar Filters
DC-3 Dreams
Disc Mounts
Explore Scientific
Hands on Optics
Jen Shivak
Joe Haldeman
nPAE Nottingham Precision Astro Engineering
Oklahoma City Astronomy Club
Peggy Walker
Simulation Curriculum
Starfield Optics
Tele Vue Optics
Telescope Engineering Company
Ursa Major Night Sky Stencils
Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes


This Year's PRIZES

Prize Value Winner Ticket#
Celestron Omni 1.25 Barlow Lens $40.00 Calvin Carter 78
Power Tank Glow $45.00 Greg Quilling 258
11 x 56 LW Series Binoculares $110.00 Bill Murray 72
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 Gage Hallhuran 144
Celestron Omni 1.25 Barlow Lens $40.00 Jeff Thomas 36
Individual or Family Entry 2024 Peach Styate Star Gaze $75.00 Ronie Joe Evans 255
Sky Safari 7 Plus IOS $13.00 Jay Elliott 156
2.5X Powermate $230.00 Siripen Bradshaw 76
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 Harold Soto 168
Celestron 10 x 25 Solar Binoculars $45.00 Marge Durham 190
Summer Sky $57.00 Steve Saworiwsky 132
SV503 80mm ED F-7 Doublet Refractor $450.00 Doug Corey 62
$50 Gift Certificate $50.00 Jeff Schoenig 87
Power Tank Lithium $100.00 Bill Gwynne 179
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 Rae Murphy 215
2 Tickets 2025 Winter Star Party $700.00 Barbara Williamson 101
Starry Night 8 Enthusiast: $90.00 Gay Haldeman 30
$50 Gift Certficate $50.00 Emily Tusick 186
Sky Master Pro ED 7 x 50 Binoculars $200.00 Daniel Doyle 38
Sky Safari 7 Pro IOS $30.00 Mark Groszko 251
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 Jeff Corder 142
Coma Corrected 2.7 X Barlow $200.00 Chris Westphal 59
2 Tickets 2024 Okie Tex Star Party $200.00 Sherley Ssample 121
Deep Sky Planner 8 $75.00 Phil Whitebloom 206
Sky Safari 7 Plus Android $13.00 Eileen Fisher 201
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 Neal Kleinman 32
Celestron 20 x 80 Sky Master Binoculars $200.00 Sally Smith-Raymond 172
Ziess 7 x 50 Binocilars $300.00 Jessica Hernandez 252
Alvin Clark Refractor $100.00 Carol Brown 123
$50 Gift Certificate $50.00 Sara Wallach 265
Multi-Purpose Dovetail Plate (Losmandy D Compatable) $95.00 Mitch Cox 71
Individual or Family Entry 2024 Peach Styate Star Gaze $75.00 RICK Walker 207
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 Gordon Schafer 131
127 mm F-7 Refractor EMD Coatings $2,000.00 Tony Cecce 178
Celestro 10 x 25 Solar Binoculars $45.00 Maria D. Garcia 239
13mm Nagler Type 6 $335.00 Paul May 259
2 Tickets 2025 Winter Star Party $700.00 Joyce Schoenig 86
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 John Stanton 4
StarSense Explorer 130mm Table Top Dob / Tripod $570.00 Dean Schwartzenbeg 183
Mini Tripod and Binocular Tripod Adapter $170.00 John Diller 34
3 Red Light Flashlights, 2 CarbonFiber Pens $80.00 Carolina Albarracin 176
2 Tickets 2024 Okie Tex Star Party $200.00 Stephen Durham 189
Winter Sky $57.00 Rodney Rossell 145
$50 Gift Certificate $50.00 Bob Dorcas 73
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 David Liles 69
Pinpoint Astrometric Engine Liscence $149.00 Jean Patterson 213
5 position 1.25 Eyepeice Turret $1,200.00 John J. Viescas 110
2 Tickets 2025 Winter Star Party $700.00 Lou Alfonso 231
$50 Gift Certficate $50.00 Megan Bethencourt 233
Starry Night 8 Pro: $160.00 Fred Rains 130
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 Russ Brick 33
Multi-Purpose Dovetail Plate (Losmandy D Compatable) $95.00 Mike Napper 48
StarSense Explorer 150mm Table Top Dob / Tripod $700.00 Bill Caspe 52
High Speed, 5 position, 1,25 Filter Wheel $249.00 Sheila Budd 139
$50 Gift Certificate $50.00 Keith Fisher 200
Sky Safari 7 Pro Android $30.00 Jim Moscheck 153
Sun Catcher Variable Large Aperure Solar Filters $40.00 Pamela Shivak 103
2 Tickets 2025 Winter Star Party $700.00 Bruce Kaczmarek 80
Clothing Package $120.00 Klaus Hartkorn 61
Cift Certificate for on set of Bob's Knows $25.00 Lisa Schwartzenberg 184
39 Years or Amature Astronomy Magazine $159.00 Jim Pickerine 242
Universal Solar Lens Filter ULF50-2 $25.00 Ken Diller 224
Universal Solar Lens Filter ULF50-2 $25.00 Mark Korzen 256
Universal Solar Lens Filter ULF70 $20.00 Ron Poller 165
Universal Solar Lens Filter ULF70 $20.00 Barbara Stanton 136
Universal Solar Lens Filter ULF70 $20.00 Adam Diaz 98
Universal Solar Lens Filter ULF70 $20.00 Darryl Archer 161
Universal Solar Lens Filter ULF90 $30.00 John Panek 124
20 x 50 Binocular Bundle w/ Universa; Lens Filters $50.00 Karen Carpenter 91
FCD 100 Series ED-80 Triplet Apo Refractor $1,500.00 Barbra Williamson 101
Handmade WSP Quilt   Denise WoTimody 41
Hand Painted Image   Mitch Cox 71
Hand Painted Image   Tina Cecce 177
The Forever War Signed book   Bill Caspe 52
None So Blind Signed book   Tim Kahn 260
Hemingway Hoax Signed book   Demetryr Papadopous 128
1968 Signed book   Sara Wallach 265
Pentax 16.5 mm Eyepiece   Richard Wright  



Finally, we would like to thank you, our patrons for coming down and spending a week with us at our favorite place on the planet
The Star Party would be nothing without you.



Have a look at this blog post from AstroBackYard.
Astrophotographers and social media inflencers both, Trevor Jones and Ashley Northcotte made the trip to WSP for the first time.
What follows are the details of thier experience with us and we thank them for the kind words.

Winter Star Party

Don't forget next years dates, January 27th to February 1st 2025.
Registration will open on or about October 1st, 2024.

See you next year!


Scroll down near the bottom of the registration page for the registration form or click the link below:

Welcome back!!
Here at Southern Cross, we are very excited to welcome you back to one of the premiere star parties on the planet.
Planning is underway and we will update this page regularly.
Again, Kudos to all who attended last year and showed patience and understanding. The situation was beyond our control but this year, FDOT is not invited to the star party......... :-)

As usual, we will have an excellent lineup of speakers and a few activities for you to participate in and enjoy. Along with the Beachwalk and Laser Tour, we will
once again have SCAS member, and commercial pilot, Martin Caminos returning to present his evening talk: An Introduction to Celestial Navigation.
This year he will be adding 1 or 2 more sessions to take a deep dive into demonstrating how to operate a sextant and its use in navigating the earth by the stars.

We will have our normal lineup of vendors including Explore Scientific, Celestron, and TeleVue to name a few.

Everything has remained essentially the same at both camps. Rustic camping with no facilities or power at Wesumkee. 
The Boys Scouts did erect a new bunk house for staff but it has no impact on the star party. All facilities remain on Camp Sawyer.
More details are below.

The information that follows is essentially the same as last year but we leave it as such for our new guests who have never been to the star party.
This Page will be updated continually.


Michelle, G.C, and the gang from Mickie's Kitchen will be returning to the star party this year for what looks to be their "Swan Song". It's retirement time for our brave crew who has gone where no one has gone before for us for 20 years. Southern Cross and Winter Star Party thank G.C. and Michelle for their many years of service and wish them a peaceful, star-studded retirement. So if you want to be there for the last appearance of Michelle's "world famous" WSP Brownies mark your calendar for October 1st for registration. I know I'll be There!!

 we have taken down the link for Mickey's kitchen Because we have received several emails that the link has been hijacked. Please email G. C. directly at: mic1111953@yahoo.com


We will open the gates at 10 AM on Monday, February 5th, as we did last year. We think that it works out well for everyone with an extra 2 hours on the field to get set up. The RV's will be given an arrival time beginning at 7 AM, please don't block the entrance gate at Wesumkee. If you are camping on Sawyer, you will be able to line up at 7 am as well. We will bring as many cars as possible into the driveway to get you off the road. There will be staff members there to help make this orderly. Your cooperation is appreciated. Stay tuned for any further announcements.

New this year!

We have been missing something, here at the Winter Star Party over the last couple of years.
So, in an effort to bring "the Yackers" back, we are raising the age limit to 15 and under.
No ticket or camping fees for your children under 16.

Post Idalia Update:

The Girl Scouts have reported no damage From That Storm However Early In The Week Of January 8th, Severe Weather Brought Several Tons Of Sand Onto The Berm. We Will Have A Contractor Do The Best He Can To Clean It Up, But Please Be Prepared.

The Boy Scouts experienced some minor flooding but Camp Sawyer is in excellent shape.


Post Star Party Update:

If you attended last year's star party, you know the condition that the camp was handed to us in. 
We just had our visual inspection and the property is in good shape. There was an event after the star party and as a bonus from their visit, the berm has been cleaned up! The property is overgrown but we did not find any of the debris that was there last year. Once we get the grass and brush cut down, we will have a much better idea about how much of the berm will be available. So Stay tuned................


COVID Announcement

Dear WSP Attendee,

Some of you may be concerned about COVID and whether we will enforce masks and ask for proof of vaccination. We are not in the position to enforce either masks or vaccinations. We ask that you observe all state and federal protocols with regard to Covid-19 and its variants. We do expect our attendees to be mindful of each other and respect their decision about whether they are vaccinated and/or decide on wearing a mask. We are here to enjoy looking at our favorite southern celestial objects like we have been doing for the past 39 years!

Stay Safe and Be Well,
Tim Khan,
Winter Star Party Director



The Winter Star Party is famous for the "steady air" over that portion of the keys.
Borrtle 3 skies with an average SQM of 21.76 are a treat for astrophotographers and observers alike.  Bortle Dark-Sky Scale
Click anywhere in the map to see the sky conditions. Light Pollution Map



Sunny days in the 70s and cool, calm nights in the 60s makes for a wonderful experience under the stars.
Take a look at the local weather on Big Pine Key

You will receive the details of your arrival time along with your tickets. We will again reach out to the church in Big Pine to see if you can use their parking lot for your RVs on Sunday night.
Your parking arrangement will be with the church staff. The number to the church is 305-872-2470.  Ask for Geri.


Now for a little about the 2 camps.........

Camp Wesumkee

Since 2017, when Hurricane Irma struck and destroyed Camp Wesumkee, the Girl Scouts have made no attempts at restoring the facility.
It is rustic camping, with only Port-o-Lets. There is no power on the Girl Scout camp except for the vendor area and only for the vendors and Mickie's Kitchen.
We have changed our procedures to now allow small, quiet (below 65 decibels) generators to run 24 hrs. a day for electricity.

Parking is the same as always, you may park in proximity to your campsite as long as you are not setting your equipment up on the berm. For all you first-timers, the "berm" is an area adjacent to the shoreline where we only allow telescopes to be set up so everyone behind the berm can enjoy the southeastern horizon. There is no vehicle traffic allowed after 7 pm and all vehicles parked near the berm must be removed by the same time.
Our Vendor area will be here as well, straight across from Mickie's Kitchen as always. We are expecting reps from Celestron, TeleVue, Disc Mounts, and Starlight Instruments, just to name a few.
Mickie's Kitchen is our food vendor. No trip to the Winter Star Party can be complete without a 3 am brownie and hot chocolate from Mickie's kitchen............... I can taste it already!

Camp Sawyer

Camp Sawyer belongs to the Boy Scouts. All bathroom and shower facilities are on Sawyer. 10 private showers and 10 private stalls.
Access from one camp to the other is thru a pass on the west end of Wesumkee. There is no vehicle traffic permitted on the pass or on Camp Sawyer, so you must walk to the showers.
During the day you may also drive to Sawyer on the highway but please remember that if you go late afternoon, give yourself enough time to get back to the park on Wesumkee before 7 pm
otherwise, you will have to leave your car on the road.

As advertised, the Glam Tents are on Sawyer. Tent camping available on Camp Sawyer is in limited numbers and we only have enough parking spaces to accommodate 75 cars, Glamping or tenting. Once that number is reached Camp Sawyer will be turned off from the registration system and we will accept no more requests there. To accommodate that many cars, no trailers or RVs are allowed on Sawyer. Sawyer will also have electricity throughout the camp thru extension cords and plug stations. Be aware that you should have a 100-foot extension cord with you to be sure you are within reach of a plug.

We will be using the same configuration of the Glam Tents as last year.  Some will have 3 sets of metal bunk beds in the main room and 2 sets 
in the smaller side room and some will have 2 larger beds in the main room with the 2 sets of bunk beds in the small room.
Each person will occupy one set of bunk beds. You will sleep in the lower bunk and stow your gear in the upper bunk.

The Speaker presentations will be on Sawyer in an open-air venue. We are planning to have between 6 & 9 speakers this year. The finalized list will be available below  

Some of you have asked us for an aerial map of Camp Sawyer so that you can see the numbers on the glam tents. Please go to the following link. The tents are numbered one through 11 from left to right. Only tents one through eight are available for registrants.







The Speaker presentations will be on Sawyer in an open-air venue. We are planning to have 9 speakers this year. See the speaker list below.

This year we will have a special guest. Long time SCAS member and WSP volunteer, Joe Haldeman, will be signing autographs and fielding questions at the registration table on opening day.

Joe Haldeman

is a Grand Master author of Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning science fiction and fantasy. His first story appeared in 1969. His best-known novel is THE FOREVER WAR and his most recent is WORK DONE FOR HIRE. He taught writing at MIT for 30 years, but is now retired. He paints, bicycles, plays the guitar, and spends as much time as he can out under the stars as an amateur astronomer. He’s been married to Gay Haldeman for 58 years.



Our speaker schedule starts Tuesday and will feature presentations from the following:

Dr. Mario Motta     Objects in the Southern Sky / My Dream Observatory 32” refractor.
Martin Caminos     An Introduction to Celestial Navigation
Richard Wright       Get Lucky, Lucky Imaging
Randy Shivak          Improving Your Solar Images
Charlie Warren       ASIAIR Beginners Guiode / Zen and the Art of Astronomical Pursuit
Mike Lockwood     Thermal Effect on Mirrors
Jon Talbot               Setting the Right Exposure Times and Adventures in Imaging the Unknown
Peggy Walker         The importance of knowing the culture of astronomy - through the old school hand made tools and equipment generation.

Scott Roberts         TBA


We have the following confirmed vendors:

Explore Scientific
Pentax Eyepieces
Starfield Optics
Benro Polaris Astro
Astronomy Shoppe
Hands on Optics
nPAE: Nottingham Precision Astro Engineering


Representives from:

Telescope Engineering Company
APM Telescopes

As always, we will have some fantastic door prizes to give away on Friday.

Please be reminded that on Sunday Feb. 11th, all camp sites and vehicles must be off of both camps by 10 AM.

Have a look at our last star party here.....................
2023 Winter Star Party Recap

Stay tuned for further information.

If there is anything you need to discuss with us or issues with your registration please send an email to wsp@scas.org
Thank you again for your patronage and please stay safe and healthy.



Tim Khan, Director
Winter Star Party

Russ Brick, President
Southern Cross Astronomical Society