Tuesday, August 20, 2013

StarFest 2013

Another StarFest come and gone. There are quite literally two seasons. StarFest and Christmas never mind construction and hot, humid weather. This year was not quite hot and not quite humid but it wouldn’t be StarFest without a Tornado Warning issued somewhat close to River Place Park. That was Wednesday. Wednesday morning started off with a bang as nasty weather moved through with high winds and rain. Later that afternoon, a funnel cloud was spotted near Arthur, Ontario. Wednesday for whatever cosmic reason, is “Tornado Day”. Arthur, thankfully, is not that close to where we are. Still, it was a tad disconcerting that, once again, a tornado was spotted during StarFest.

K and I got lucky only because we showed up as it was clearing up. Lots of set up including our trailer, dining tent (Party Central!) and the New Eyes Old Skies vendor tent. So luckily for us the weather cooperated.

Wednesday night it cleared and we got some observing done. I was working with a 105mm Antares Refractor trying to demonstrate just how faint this particular telescope could see visually by challenging myself to observe some very faint Struve double stars in Aquila. Given the ever encroaching light pollution I did manage to spot a pair down to 12.5 magnitude. Not bad!

Thursday night really defines StarFest personally for us. Always good times and good fun. Tony and Janet and Jim Kendrick finally showed up along with John and Maggie, Dave, Brent, Drew, K and myself for our annual Thursday night pot luck dinner which is always so much fun. Everyone has become family. I am not sure StarFest would be the same without it. Thankfully, we were all able to get back together, not to mention the usual shenanigans of our music night with Dave, John, Mickey, Victor and someone else I can’t remember. Otherwise it was great fun.

I cannot honestly remember when we first visited Normand Fullum's monster 36" telescope but it was sure impressive...We didn't get a chance to look through it.

Friday was the first vendor day and it was lots of fun to see old friends and to make new ones as K and I volunteered to help out Bruce and Susan at the New Eyes Old Skies tent. Friday was a very nice day till about early afternoon when high altitude clouds began to form. By evening a line of clouds began to form and showers were bearing down on River Place along with some moderate wind. Someone forgot to cover his scope, a wonderful TEC 140 (not to mention any names, right Malcolm?). So we packed everything up, guitars got out again and the “Girls” had their little pow-wow in what we guys have nicknamed “Estrogen Meadows” which is John and Maggie’s tent. Except they kick out John. At midnight it had cleared. I should have gone to bed, but I rolled out the Tele Vue 76 for some deep, wide field observing…

Saturday was the last of the vendor days as again we volunteered for New Eyes Old Skies and made a day of it. We believe we generated quite a bit of buzz there and we hope to see all our new friends throughout the years to come. It was also fortunate that Saturday night was THE night at StarFest. Still, I was dead tired but managed to work with my ES127ED to start the Herschel 400 list. This list can be very challenging. However, I stayed mainly in Cassiopeia and some of the wonderful open clusters in that constellation. But by 1am, fatigue was really becoming a factor and K and I crashed for the night.

Sunday we took everything down and headed out for our annual lunch at “The Spot” restaurant where again our good friends met up to enjoy a good meal, lots of laughs (we were slap happy!) and just to reminisce about StarFests past.

StarFest can be defined many ways, but I define it as a place to gather, a place of “fellowship under the stars” (not my phrase, that was a StarFest phrase), a place for family. Our “astronomy family”.

More great memories. And more to come…Check some pics below...


1 comment:

  1. what about the LOONIE showers ???or did you not take any ??
    as for the guitar-fest ---Can't say Im sorry to have missed that !
    MM xo
    and hugs