16th Annual


Indiana Family Star Party
and Greatcon 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm just coming for the day; can I bring my telescope in?
Yes, but you need to be able to carry your telescope into and out of the event.  Make sure to keep track of the time as the hay wagon only runs to midnight.

I've got a full event registration, but I'd rather sleep in a bed as opposed to camping.  Can I observe and drive off?
Yes, but you need to park in the day-pass lot.  Safety and courtesy demand no driving on the field after sunset.  If you do not wish to leave your equipment on the field, you can carry it to the designated overnight telescope storage area.

I'm here and ready to setup but registration is not setup yet, what should I do?
Please come up to the Nature Center before you settle in.  Someone is usually up there and will let you know whether the spot you've chosen is ok or if it's reserved for some purpose.

I'd like to have a fire ring for my site, what should I do?
While you can request one of the campsites away from the main field when you register, the likely hood of it being granted is slim.  There are few sites and we usually have several scout troops using them.

I'd like to get a pad by the observatory, what do I need to do?
You need to register to help with the Sky Trekker program.  Please sign up on your full registration form.  You are expected to help with both Sky Trekker events.  If you reconsider, you forfeit your spot and must move to the main field.

What is on the menu for breakfast/lunch/dinner?
We do not get a menu ahead of time.  We try to make sure the food is reasonable for most people.  We have requested a vegan selection this year be added, but the details are up to the vendor.  If you have a dietary requirement/limitation, your best bet is to bring your own food.

I've got a single day admission - can I bring my scope and where should I set it up?
We welcome you and your scope.  Remember that you MUST carry out your scope that night and you may not bring your car up to pack up your gear.

Are laser pointer allowed?
Yes.  They are allowed AND ENCOURAGED for safely pointing out astronomical objects to others.  We know this is a problem for people doing astro-photography.  While you can use the astronomers corner (see the maps), you will undoubtedly get streaks in your images.  Our best suggestion is to wait until after midnight when their use will usually be rare.  If you bring your own, please use it responsibly.

Can I use the big scope?
Yes, but we'd suggest you wait until after midnight and the public have gone.

Do I have to share access to my scope?
No, but expect to be ask.  Please be courteous.  This event is open to the public and they are inquisitive.  We show the night sky to hundreds of scouts as well as the area residents.  They come out and support the camp and the observatory and therefore help us keep the registration fees low.

The events are not finalized.  When will it be final?
We have to be flexible with the schedule up to the last minute.  We should have a 'final' schedule about a week or two before the star party.

Can I get the brunch even though I didn't register for it?
Yes, but the people who fill out their registration and request the brunch get first choice.  We do NOT guarantee that there will be anything left over for purchase on the day.

Is there a swap meet?
Yes.  Check the schedule for times and location.

Can I help?
YES!  There is a spot on the registration to signify that you'd like to lend a hand.  We can always use a hand for various tasks.  We take care of the 'truly messy' tasks and do not request that of those who lend a hand.  Typical requests are to help man the registration tent during the daylight hours.

When will the speakers be finalized?
The list will be finalized when it is finalized.  We contact various people and search for topics that we think will appeal to various levels of interest.  When a speaker has said they will show up, we will post what information we can as soon as we can.

Will we have vendors?  What about door prizes?
We'd love to say that we will have a dozen vendors onsite for your convince.  Sadly, that is not the case.  All star parties are having problems getting vendors to show up.  The price of going to any star party is beyond many of those still selling astronomy equipment.

That said, we have people beating the bushes to get door prizes and they have yet to fail.  We usually have a reasonable selection of interesting items.

Can I get power on the field?
Yes, but you have to bring your own extension cord.  We have multiple power outlets available at the Nature Center.  The power is shared among everyone who plugs in.  (That means toasters, air conditioners or other heavy draw items are prohibited and will result in the breaker tripping.)  While we have all power on GFI outlets, please be careful.  We test the outlets, but we cannot keep rain (water) from causing a hazardous situation. 

Additionally, please make sure that the cords do not cross walkways or driving areas.  If you must cross a driving area, the cord MUST be remove from the drive areas at any time when cars on the field are allowed. 

Also, please make sure that the cord is not a tripping hazard.  It's dark and the cords get hard to spot!