Nebraska Star Party - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-05-2007, 02:33 AM   #1
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Here's something different...

14th Annual Nebraska Star Party
July 15-20
Merritt Reservoir, 27 miles south of Valentine, NE

From NebraskaStarParty.org

Quote:
You Won't Get Plutoed!

It's time once again to plan for a summer family vacation under the stars! The astronomical views from Merritt Reservoir's Snake Campground are fabulous, and there are plenty of recreational opportunities to keep the entire family entertained all week long at the 14th annual Nebraska Star Party.

For newcomers, NSP is the perfect place to become acquainted with the wonders the heavens hold, many of which can't be enjoyed from cities. Our unique Beginner's Field School will show you how fun it is to explore the heavens here, as well as in your own back yard when you return home, with or without a telescope.

Seasoned observers will find NSP enjoyable as well, with observing challenges, an astro photo contest, and a fantastic light pollution-free sweep of the summer night sky, with naked-eye limiting magnitude approaching 7.5 to 8!

The remote sandhills of north-central Nebraska offer a vacation full of western and natural history. Short day trips will take you to historical sites important to the settlement of the west. The spring-fed water and sugar sand beaches of Merritt Reservoir offer swimming, boating, and fishing. Valentine national Wildlife Refuge provides a window into the ecology of the prairie, while the nearby Niobrara River affords a cooling tube float or canoe trip through the surrounding cattle ranching country.

Whether you've been to NSP many times before, or you don't even know what a star party is, you'll be treated like a cherished old friend. Plan now to join us this summer for an unforgettable and economical vacation! You don't even need a telescope to attend. Be sure to register before June 1st to save $10 per adult on registration costs.
I can attest to the unbelievably dark skies in north central Nebraska (very few people, huge cattle ranches with very little light pollution)... the Milky Way is so bright, it literally casts your shadow on the ground.

Some pictures from past events...







Tubing/canoe trip down the Niobrara, a National Scenic River


BIG telescopes
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:22 AM   #2
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Thank you for this wonderful information. Sounds like something we will make note of for the next big trip we take next year.
I am marking a big National Geo. map book with all the places, hot springs and events we want to see on the 5 month trip. Thank you for this addition.
This forum is the main basis and inspiration for people recommended good places to see and do.
FG trailer people...and this forum... are the BEST!
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:17 PM   #3
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Donna,

Someone from Halifax will be a bit hot in Nebraska in July. If you have an air conditioner be sure to reserve early to get one of the electric sites.

Nancy from northern MN (Nebraska too hot for me)
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Old 04-08-2007, 03:53 PM   #4
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Thanks for the heads up Nancy. I will mark it on the info sheet in the map book and make sure to check out the average temps in July before we go. Since we won't be going until 2008 I will have time to plan ahead. Certainly didn't give the hot weather a thought before your comment.
We had 10 inches of snow last night , so summer heat is a long way from my world ...still waiting for SPRING!
Donna, Lance and Dixie Dawg
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Old 04-08-2007, 08:22 PM   #5
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We too have been to the NSP with good skies, but if you want really good skies come on down to Arizona and I can show you much better skies. We have some of the biggest and best scopes in the world.
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:59 AM   #6
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True... Arizona wins hands down for clear/transparent skies... but there's only so many times I can drive 1,500 miles to star gaze.

I should mention my parents and sister both live in the Phoenix metro. My wife, kids, and I fly down at least once a year and we rent a class C RV... which we drive south following my parents RV... and we do all the stargazing I can with a 120mm refractor I pack with my carry on luggage. Been to Kitt Peak/Whipple/others. Maybe some day I'll retire down there myself. But for now, the Nebraska sand hills are as good as it gets for me (and we've developed quite a good international following among other amateur astronomers as well! not quite Texas Star Party... but we're right up there). BTW... our day time activities are what make the difference compared to other star parties. We are truly a family friendly event.

Want weeks on end of uninterrupted clear skies? Arizona is definitely the place to be.

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We too have been to the NSP with good skies, but if you want really good skies come on down to Arizona and I can show you much better skies. We have some of the biggest and best scopes in the world.
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:39 AM   #7
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I LOVE this stuff! I know very little about astronomy, but I love it! THE very first attraction I wanted to see, and actually went to when I moved to San Diego in 1979 from Guam was the 200" reflector at Mt. Palomar! I got there just as they closed the gates that first day... <sigh> but, I returned many times, and later sat under the stars on the eastern edge of the Anza Borrego Desert for hours skygazing.

Unfortunately now, in order to look at the stars in Nebraska in July it means staying up past 10pm... and my best party-animal days seem to be behind me now as it's a struggle to stay up past 9:30!

Roger
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Old 04-09-2007, 08:51 AM   #8
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Yeah, most of us are up until the sun rises.

We have been/continue to consider having a separate spring/fall event (to maximize dark sky time). However, as I alluded to earlier, we've chosen to cater our event to families (ie summer vacation), and it is unique among week long star parties in this regard. So about the best we can do is schedule it as late as possible in the summer (near new moon of course). On a 'brighter' note, it is at the very western most edge of the central time zone (literally... the border runs through the state park), and it does get a little darker, earlier.

Another bonus: Nebraska Star Party gives away thousands of dollars in door prizes to registered participants (including a guaranteed prize to every child)... everything from night eyes friendly red lights to $1000+ telescopes.


Did I mention the fine, sugar sand beaches?

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Quote:
I LOVE this stuff! I know very little about astronomy, but I love it! THE very first attraction I wanted to see, and actually went to when I moved to San Diego in 1979 from Guam was the 200" reflector at Mt. Palomar! I got there just as they closed the gates that first day... <sigh> but, I returned many times, and later sat under the stars on the eastern edge of the Anza Borrego Desert for hours skygazing.

Unfortunately now, in order to look at the stars in Nebraska in July it means staying up past 10pm... and my best party-animal days seem to be behind me now as it's a struggle to stay up past 9:30!

Roger
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Old 04-12-2007, 10:07 PM   #9
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Why have I not heard of this before!? I'll definitely consider coming since I'm only a hop and a skip away.

I'll attest to the darkness of the skies up there. In September I was driving north to Yankton and was running low on gas. The map said there was a small town ahead but I could see no lights until I was almost right upon it. Even at the gas station the darkness seem to squeeze in on every side and the silence was almost eerie. I don't remember passing another person on that road and it was only eight o'clock in the evening.

Candi
York, Nebraska
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Old 04-12-2007, 10:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Why have I not heard of this before!? I'll definitely consider coming since I'm only a hop and a skip away.

I'll attest to the darkness of the skies up there. In September I was driving north to Yankton and was running low on gas. The map said there was a small town ahead but I could see no lights until I was almost right upon it. Even at the gas station the darkness seem to squeeze in on every side and the silence was almost eerie. I don't remember passing another person on that road and it was only eight o'clock in the evening.

Candi
York, Nebraska

Well, upon closer inspection of the map, "up there" is similar latitude except t a few hundred miles east of Valentine and equally remote.
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:43 AM   #11
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A youtube video on Nebraska Star Party

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