Weekend Under The Stars

Host:

Cheyenne Astronomical Society
Laramie Astronomical Society and Space Observers 

Location:

Fox Park, Wyoming        41 04' 56.6" N   106 09' 34.6" W  Elevation: 9100 ft

When:

Thur Sun in August    There is no preregistration

Cost:

Per person - $10 

Web:

http://home.bresnan.net/~curranm/wuts.html 

Attended:

2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011 

Notes:

Forest Service lands - snow mobile/ATV parking area - one permanent, poorly serviced outhouse, no other improvements.   Club puts numerous porta-potties around the fields, they receive daily service.

Numerous ATV trails in the area.  Expect visits from riders that didn't know about the party.  Most everyone is very considerate and idle their rides through the area, minimizing dust. Some astronomers also bring their rides for entertainment.

Two observing fields are separated by about 30 yards of pine trees, both in the 3-4 acre range, both have excellent horizons.  Partiers use the back field, quiet folks tend to stay in the front field. 

This is the friendliest, rowdiest bunch of astronomers you will ever hang with, they put the Party in Star Party.  Lots of socializing, adult beverages and camaraderie.  Don't plan on sleeping during the night - constant chatter and yelling is the norm.  Guaranteed you won't miss an ISS pass or Iridium Flare.  Meteors are met with oohs, awes, and yells.

Several presentations are given.  Kids programs are also provided.  Large door prize drawing.

U of Wyo has a 96" scope on JELM mountain (about 20 miles east) and invites the star party over for a tour, university activities permitting.  They can occasionally put an eyepiece on it for us.  The only sure time for visual viewing is the weekend of homecoming.  Contact the physics department for the time, date and required reservation.

Attendance 200+

Skies are very, very good, there is a minor light dome from Laramie. 

Plan on very little dew, but there will be light frost.  This part of Wyoming has frequent strong daytime winds, don't leave light scopes/mounts or awnings setup without being present to catch them if (when) the wind kicks up.  Even calm days may have quite strong dust devils dance through the area.

Cell phones are useless, none of the carriers work.  If you must use your phone, a drive back to Laramie (about 45 minutes) is required to get a strong, usable signal.  You can get spotty reception driving on the main highway, but it ain't worth it.

2011

Pictures & Report

2010

Planned to attend...   About two weeks before the party, it was cancelled due to beetle kill.  Really.  The Forest Service was cutting beetle kill out of the area.  They did offer an alternate location, but it wasn't really suitable.  Hopefully it will be back on next year, though it has become a VERY popular location for ATV'ers, with the attendant dust all day and campfires all night.  They are usually very considerate though, and enjoy looking through some scopes

2008

Pictures & Report      

2004

Pictures & Report     

2003

Due to a forest fire close to Fox Park, the Forest Service was using our usual location for helicopter and team support.  The star party was moved about 15 miles north.

JELM suffered a direct lightning strike a month earlier, killing ALL the electronic controls on the mountain.  They had hopes of it being repaired in time for us to visit, but parts were still on order...

Clouds were the norm.  The was some guerrilla astronomy to be had, but nothing serious or for more than a few minutes here and there.

Stories were told, adult beverages consumed, and the clouds cussed.

They held a make-up date later in the year, but we were unable to make it back.

2002

Pictures & Report  

2001

Windy, warm and dry. Several scopes blew over, Wyoming does have some wind. Evenings were calm and chilly, frost on two nights

U.W. opened the 96" scope at JELM for everyone to try on Friday night

Organization very good

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