The 25th Annual Connecticut Star Party

Hosted by The Astronomical Society of New Haven

Oct. 9, 2015 through Oct. 11, 2015

Edmond D. Strang Scout Reservation, Goshen, CT

By Various CSP Volunteers

On Friday, October 9, the skies were beautiful when the CSP Committee (Donna Pursley, Mike Zarick, Al Washburn, Allan Sacharow, Marty Connors, Greg Barker, Matt Baker with his daughter and her friend, Leo Taylor, Ray Kaville, Steve Steinhardt and his son Wendo) arrived to prepare the viewing fields and the rest of the camp for the 25th Connecticut Star Party. The weather report was not promising; rain was forecast for the evening.

Goshen is larger than Ashford, with more than one viewing field. There was a lot of set up to do and since this was the first time using this site, we had to tweak our plans as we went.

Right around 4pm the clouds arrived and it started to rain. The warming tent had been set up with a heater by Bob Carruthers and Gaianne Jenkins, who kept everyone warm and full of coffee, tea and hot cocoa throughout the weekend. It was a great place to take a pizza break from banging in all the stakes and signs across both observing fields. We also marked the good trails and blocked off the bad. Donna, single handedly cleaned all of the showers, bathrooms and floors across the entire camp.

Dinner was served at 6pm. We were presented with a massive collection of excellent food. Sausage and peppers, Italian Chicken, veggies, potatoes and for dessert, Ice Cream sundaes!

The rain started in earnest and finally let up around 8pm. Some large sucker holes broke out in the East and folks were able to get some observing in for a few hours.

Very early Saturday morning, we were treated to a beautiful and very thin crescent moon just off the horizon, with Jupiter, Mars and Venus all in a line very close by.

Attendees started arriving early Saturday with both observing fields filling up. There was a lot of activity and everyone was excited about the new location. Brownsea was the field with showers, real toilets and indoor bunks. Being a smaller field with the lesser horizon, only a handful of people chose this location. It was laid out nicely for a pop-up and some tents. Camporee contained the majority of attendees in clusters by Astronomy Club, family and friends. The afternoon skies were spectacular. Fingers were crossed that this would hold to the evening and night skies.

Breakfast was, bacon, sausage, home fries, fruit, bagels, muffins, juice and coffee. Again, couldn’t eat it all, but it was excellent. The coffee was excellent too (for all you caffeine junkies). Registration and the store was open and Cheryl Barker and Al Washburn were running flat out to get everything set up for the day’s activities.

At lunch we had wraps of all varieties, chips, crackers and cheese. Throughout the day, we had a variety of events until observing. Andy Poniros hosted a live broadcast for his radio show, Cosmic Perspective on WPKN 89.5FM. He interviewed ASNH President Greg Barker and Treasurer Cheryl Barker about the Connecticut Star Party. He also interviewed Member-At-Large Al Washburn, who spoke about Meteorites. Bob Carruthers, ASNH secretary gave a wonderful talk on many things astronomic. Thank you Andy for publicizing our event!

Elliot Severn, of the Boothe Memorial Astronomical Society, spoke in the morning about his space journalism and photography career. His Antares launch explosion video laced with his excited ‘commentary’ was a big hit as well. Elliot has been attending and supporting CSP and ASNH for almost 2 decades.

Our next speaker was ASNH member, archeologist, Vance Tiede, who gave a very interesting presentation titled An Astro-Archaeological Analysis: The Tall Gnomon of Guo Shoujing. He spent time after his presentation, discussing other archaeological topics with attendees.

In the late afternoon, we all gathered outside for our annual class picture. Al Washburn took pictures of all the attendees, using any camera thrown at him. ASNH member, Maria Schreiner took a photo too, which allowed Al to be included in the photo for the very first time!

Just before dinner we had drawings for both the door and raffle prizes. The first drawing was for youth door prize where every youth under 14 gets a prize. The adult drawings yielded great prizes including a 6″ Orion Dob that was won by a first time attendee who was beside herself with glee. She received assistance from other attendees and was able to use her scope that evening.

For dinner we were served barbecued chicken, pulled pork, potato salad, green salad, hot dogs and cheeseburgers. All were excellent and more than we could finish. Dessert was a 25th anniversary CSP cake that everyone enjoyed, and some designer cupcakes to celebrate the birthday of both Elliot Severn and Allan Sacharow.

After dinner it was back to the viewing fields. Sadly the clouds rolled in around sunset and it was somewhat overcast, but periodic openings appeared most of the evening allowing some viewing. ASNH has held Messier Marathon’s here before. We had all ben excited to share the clear dark skies with everyone. It was disappointing that there was a haze and the stars were somewhat muted. Regardless, most folks were happy to have some viewing.

Sunday morning was sunny and dry. Just in time for everyone to eat a quick breakfast and pack up. Done for another year.

CSP-25 was a great success overall. From our on-line survey results and additional feedback we received from CSP attendees, we are happy to announce that CSP-26 will be held in Goshen. We hope to see everyone at CSP-26!


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