Winter Star Party Registration
REGISTRATION IS OPEN
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Winter Star Party: February 5th to February 11th, 2024
We are pleased to announce that we will again open both gates at 10 AM on Monday February 5th. The RV's on Weesumkee, have been given an arrival time beginning at 7 AM, please don't block the entrance gate. There will be staff members there to help make this orderly.
If you are camping on Sawyer, line up also begins at 7am. You will be directed to enter the gate and stage further into the driveway to try to keep as many vehicles off the road as possible
Your cooperation is appreciated. Stay tuned for any further announcements.
MICKIE'S KITCHEN IS BACK!
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 the 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!!
Menu for pre orders can be found here:
Post Idalia Update:
The Girl Scouts have reported no damage.
The Boy Scouts experienced some minor flooding but Camp Sawyer is in excellent shape.
Dear WSP Attendee,
Due to the recent uptick in covid variant cases, some of you may be concerned about covid and whether we will enforce masks and ask for proof of vaccination. We are neither in the position to enforce masks nor 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 38 years!
Stay Safe and Be Well,
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 make for a wonderful experience under the stars. local weather on Big Pine Key
Welcome back to the Florida keys!!
Here at Southern Cross, we are very excited to welcome you back to one of the premier star parties on the planet.
It has been far too long since we have seen our friends and "family", the WSP, and the love for astronomy has created for us. We are honored to have you back.
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, this year we will
be adding a new evening talk: An Introduction to Celestial Navigation.
SCAS member and commercial pilot, Martin Caminos, will be 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.
We will be observing all CDC guidelines in place at the time for those who wish to do so. We have no plans to mandate masks.
Whatever method you choose to protect yourself is your decision.
New this year !
We have been missing something here at the Winter Star Party, 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.
Both Camp Wesumkee and Camp Sawyer will be open for tent camping. All RV’s will be on Camp Wesumkee as usual.
Glam Tents will be available. These tents will have electricity and air conditioning.
We will continue to use the same configuration of the Glam Tents to accommodate 5 people per tent.
3 sets of metal bunk beds in the main room and 2 sets in the smaller side 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.
Also during the registration, please do not forget to select your campsite. Wesumkee, Sawyer w/ parking or Sawyer w/o parking. Select "not camping" if your are staying off site.
There are a few limited spots available outside the gate of the boy scout camp.
If you choose to park there it will be at your own risk.
Now for a little about the 2 camps.........
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.
After Hurricane Irma struck and destroyed Camp Wesumkee,, the Girl Scouts decided not to pursue 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 (below65 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 Astro- Vendor area will be here as well, straight across from Mickie's Kitchen as always. We are expecting reps from Celestron, Tele Vue, 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 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 Wesumpkee. There is no vehicle traffic permitted on the pass or Camp Sawyer, so you must walk to the showers.
All vehicle traffic must be inside the gate by 7 pm. There will be no gate access til dawn.
The Glam Tents are on Sawyer. Tent camping is available on Camp Sawyer in limited numbers but we only have enough parking spaces to accommodate 75 cars, Glamping or tenting. Once that number is reached Camp Sawyer will be turned of 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.
AS WITH LAST YEAR, THE BOYS SCOUTS HAVE AGREED TO ALLOW YOU TO DRIVE OUT TO WHERE YOU WILL BE CAMPING ON CAMP SAWYER.
HOWEVER, YOU MUST UNLOAD YOUR GEAR AND MOVE YOUR VEHICLE TO THE PARKING LOT BEFORE SETTING UP YOUR CAMP.
NO MORE WHEELBARROWS!
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.
Our speaker schedule starts Tuesday and will feature presentations from the following:
Dr. Mario Motta Objects in the Southern Sky / Building a 32" Dobsonian Telescope
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 Astronomical League Observing Programs
Scott Roberts TBA
We have the following confirmed vendors:
Benro Polaris Astro
As always, we will have some fantastic door prizes to give away on Friday.
You will receive the details of your arrival time along with your tickets. We have reached out to the church in Big Pine to see if you can use their parking lot for your RV's on Sunday night.
Your parking arrangement will be with the church staff. When we have confirmed, we will post the contact information.
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.....................
Stay tuned to this page and our website for any updates.
If there is anything you need to discuss with us or issues with your registration, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From our family to yours, be safe and healthy and we will see you in February.
Thank you again for your patronage.
Tim Khan, Director
Winter Star Party
Russ Brick, President
Southern Cross Astronomical Society
Only Available at Camp Sawyer
The Boy Scouts take GLAMPING to a new level!!
We will be changing the configuration of the Glam Tents to accommodate 5 people per tent.
3 sets of metal bunk beds in the main room and 2 sets in the smaller side room.