Nebraska Star Party

Host: Prairie Astronomy Club – Lincoln
Omaha Astronomical Society
Location: Merrit Reservoir – 30 miles south of Valentine, Nebraska
When: Sat – next Sun in July
Attended: 2000
Notes: Held in state park campground

Perfect dark skies, no light domes

Numerous activities for entire family – BBQ’s, rafting, beach party, etc.

Due to state park requirements:

    Access cannot be restricted – plan on headlights and traffic all night

    No alcohol allowed, including in your RV

    No business allowed, including registration

    Most activities are at the registration area – 15 miles from observing/camping     Plan on driving a lot – 30 mile round trip just to check the bulletin board

    Programs are held in Valentine – 90 mile round trip

Would be a great star party if they would eliminate all the driving required and could control headlights

Arrived Sunday.

Typical Nebraska summer weather - windy and hot, evenings calm and warm

Great viewing, except for headlights, through Tuesday night

Wednesday was clouded out until after midnight. Someone had a kite with a light stick on it, provided lots of entertainment while the clouds lasted - Dobsonion Maglite Guns were deployed across the front to protect us from attack

Thursday brought high winds and severe weather watches. We had enough photons by then so packed up and headed to Cabela's at Sydney (they have a campground) for some new toys and buffalo sandwiches

Presentation by Pete Smytka (Mag 1 Instruments) on telescope maintenance and adjusting was outstanding

Organization was outstanding - we didn't attend any of the non-astro activities, but the reports from others indicated all went well

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