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SGL9 Information Page

April 3rd - April 6th 2014

Bookings Open: Sunday 10th November 2013 10:00 Bookings Close: Sunday 2nd March 2014 10:00

This page contains all the information you need regarding the event, etiquette at a star party, the camp site, location and directions and other useful information This page will be updated as necessary - please ensure you check it regularly for any updates.

First Light Optics have kindly agreed to allow us to use their store to take the bookings for SGL 9. It is important that you register your booking with your CORRECT EMAIL address, as you will be sent information nearer the date.

Bookings

The following information will help you with the booking process. Although you can stay elsewhere on the site by booking directly with the campsite, please note - they will not take bookings for the rally field. Also, if you wish to extend your stay beyond those listed, please click here to contact Daz directly to arrange (you'll need to amend the email address)

Please note:

  • Payment does not guarantee a pitch. There is only a certain capacity available to us, and so pitches are sold on a first-come-first-served basis. We will endeavour to secure additional capacity should we need, but this is not guaranteed.
  • You may book for any number of nights, however, we may ask you to share a pitch if you only book one of the main days
  • To qualify for the event pricing, you must book one of the main days

Pitch Type

The following pitch types can be booked

  • Tent
  • Tent with Electric Hook Up
  • Caravan/Trailer Tent
  • Caravan/Trailer Tent with Electric Hook Up

There is no charge for a Visitor to the Star Party, and you can book a meal ticket, if you require. Anyone turning up after dusk needs to read the section on lights, below please.

Please note that Tents staying more than 4 nights will be asked to move on the 5th day. This is so the grass is not too affected so early in the season. Usual practice is pitch your tent at one side of the pitch, and then move to the other side.

Booking Process

1 - Select your pitch type

2 - Select your first night - click Add to Basket

3 - Select your next night - click Add to Basket

Repeat step 3 until you have added your required nights

4 - Add your food options via the Related Products links

5 - When finished, go to the Checkout

6 - Enter your SGL username, preferred pitch number and additional usernames if needed

** SLEEPING IN VAN / CAR **

If you wish to sleep in a van, or your car, this is no problem - HOWEVER, you must be on a booked and paid-for pitch. Under NO circumstances will anyone be allowed to just park up and sleep without having a pitch booked.

Tent Safety

Ideally, there should be a 3 metre gap between you and your neighbour, however, if people are sharing pitches, this is not always possible. Therefore, please exercise caution and common sense when pitching your tents. We want everyone to be SAFE!

Nights

The camp site have again agreed that we can book dates either side of the main weekend

  • Monday 31st March
  • Tuesday 1st April
  • Wednesday 2nd April
  • Thursday 3rd April ** MAIN DAY **
  • Friday 4th April ** MAIN DAY **
  • Saturday 5th April ** MAIN DAY **
  • Sunday 6th April
  • Monday 7th April

PLEASE - ENSURE YOU BOOK THE NIGHTS YOU INTEND TO STAY!

IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHECK THIS!!

Preferred Pitch

When you go through the purchase process for your pitch, you will be able to nominate a preferred pitch number. We will try and accommodate everyone for these requests, but it is not guaranteed. Be aware that Lucksall themselves may allocate you a different pitch if the weather is likely to be poor

Name Badges

There is also a box for you to enter your SGL username, which will be used to produce a name badge for you. If you have other people with you (non-SGL'ers) that would like a name badge, there is space for you to add their names too

Meals

We are looking to arrange another Hog Roast on the Saturday and a meal on the Friday night. Vegetarian options and child options are available for both.

These can be ordered at the same time as your pitch booking.

Costs

Pitch with Electrical Hook Up = £16.00

Pitch without Electrical Hook Up = £13.50

Hog Roast / Vegetarian (Adult) = £6.00

Hog Roast / Vegetarian (Child) = £3.00

Buffet Adult = £6.00

Buffet Child = £3.00

Lucksall charge per pitch, not per person, so there are no additional charges for extra adults, children dogs, pup tents or awnings.

Payment

Payment is accepted via First Light Optics, so usual payment methods are accepted. If you wish to pay by cheque, please email daz@stargazerslounge.com to arrange. DO NOT send a PM!!

Refunds

Refunds will be allowed up until 14 days in advance of the first main day (net of any payment fees). Simply let us know and we will arrange the refund and re-allocation of the pitch.

If you cannot attend after this cut-off date, let us know so we can try and fill the pitch for you - alternatively, you are welcome to advertise the pitch yourself.

Change of names

There is no charge for changing names on a booking – please contact Daz directly with the details.

Sharing

You may share a pitch, and the electric hookup with another person - a maximum of two tents per pitch, subject to Lucksall's regulations for fire and health and safety

Waiting List

Once all of the pitches have been sold, we will operate a waiting list on a first come, first served basis. If we are able to secure additional pitches, then these will be offered to the waiting list first.

Please post your preferred pitch type and number of nights in this thread. Please do not send PMs or emails.

THE STAR PARTY

We want this to be a great weekend! We want it to be fun for everyone, whether new or experienced, young or old, observer, imager or space tourist, seasoned star-party attendee or first-timer! It’s the chance to: meet fellow enthusiasts; talk and hopefully ‘do’ astronomy; get to know people; have fun; learn; see things you can’t see from home or with your own equipment; experience darker skies; try different kit; solve problems together; and take pictures.

The site

The campsite Lucksall is a very good site and the owners are very friendly and accommodating of our needs. There are toilets/showers close by and they are willing to work with us to remove as much extraneous light as possible. The only thing that has been a problem in the past is concern about speeding on site, and respecting of the one-way system. So please remember: There’s a 5mph speed limit on the site and the one-way system goes anticlockwise

Location

For those with GPS, you won't need this info but for the rest of us with GOTO here's the site's latitude and longitude: Lat 52:01:26 North, Long 02:37:50 West.

Arrival

When you arrive at the campsite please report to reception - You MUST report to reception on arrival

Welcome Pack

Once the bookings are all completed, you will be sent a Welcome Pack - please ensure you register booking with a valid EMAIL address! - which will contain all the relevant information for the Star Party: Site Map, Meal Tickets, Name Badges, Tent Label, Pitch Allocation, etc.

So how will the Star Party work?

SGL has reserved the rally fields at the site and will take bookings from members on behalf of the campsite for the nights indicated above, although we expect the majority of attendees will come just for the (long) weekend. If you wish to stay outside of these dates, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can arrange.

How are pitches allocated?

We’ll be allocating some pitches for administration and central functions, such as the tea Tent and talks. The Rally Field has some hard standings and the rest are on grass. While it is possible to camp on the hard standings, most people will probably find camping on grass more comfortable!

We have been asked to ensure that those with caravans and campers to use the hard standings. We’re asking for information on whether you’re in a tent or a caravan for this purpose.

As part of the booking process, you can request a pitch and we will endeavour to accommodate your request, otherwise it's a first-come-first-served arrangement.

Lucksall themselves may also re-arrange pitches to accommodate poor weather.

Where can I park?

Cars can be parked on your pitch (pitches are large). However, if you are arriving or leaving after dark, and it is a clear night, we would ask you to park close to the site entrance so that your headlights do not disturb the star gazing and imaging. (NB: Much more about light later!)

What facilities are available?

The site is level and has good facilities. There are three sets of toilets and showers. There is a small shop on the campsite and a Post Office, other shops and pubs in the nearby village of Fownhope. If you need a supermarket, there are plenty in Hereford - Morrisons, Sainsburys, Co-op, Tescos and Asda. The Asda store on the south side of Hereford City on the main Belmont Roundabout also has emergency medical and dental facilities available (although of course we hope no-one will need them!)

What should I bring?

Bitter experience is that it will almost certainly be colder than you imagine, so bring all the layers you think you’ll need - TWICE! The clear view from previous years is that a small 'festival' tent is just not up to the job for Spring camping!

A double-skinned tent will retain heat much better (and keep out any rain better too). Under your sleeping bag, you will also certainly need some form of insulation between you and your groundsheet eg a foam roll (ideally with a metallic insulation side), and an inflatable mattress, lilo or bed. Remember you’ll probably be going to bed cold and so extra layers and a heater and/or hot water bottle will help you to thaw out!

There are several threads on the main forum regarding camping equipment - but perhaps the most important are those regarding electrical cables and heaters in the tent.

NEVER USE A GAS HEATER OR BARBECUE IN YOUR TENT

I’ve never camped before - will there be help available?

Yes. If you need help (whether it’s advice on kit preparation in advance, or with pitching your tent at the site itself), just ask! And if you’ve forgotten to bring something, ask too. Ask your neighbours, or find one of the Mod/Admin team. If you are using electricity then you’ll need a special cable to safely connect to the site outlets. If you only need electricity for charging powerpacks then someone will be happy for you to use their supply.

Is catering available?

On the Friday, we are planning food at the Cafe on Friday, and Saturday will see the return of the popular Hog Roast (Vegetarian / Children options available)

Lucksall have a small cafe that offers breakfast, light lunches and dinners. They also serve tea/coffee/snacks during the day. There is no need to book, as the cafe will be open by the time we arrive. One or two attendees of previous events will attest to the quality of the breakfast....!

SGL will be providing a Tea Tent, which will include FREE tea and coffee making facilities - and there will probably be a supply of homemade cakes available too (please bring some to share if you can). This will give a communal focus, and allows a warm in the middle of the night! You’ll need to bring your own mugs!

All we ask is that you do your bit to keep the communal areas clean and tidy - use the bins provided, dispose of rubbish, don't leave lids off things.... etc.

There will also be a couple of large event shelters that we'll be using for some talks and and workshops, and these can also be used as gathering areas. If using late at night, please can you also be considerate about noise levels.

The Cafe has an alcohol licence and stocks a selection of wines, beers and sprits.

Where can I set up my scope?

Usually scopes are set up on individual pitches by the owner’s tent (although sometimes a group will set up together). You should ensure that there is enough room around your scope for you to operate, and potentially for others to come and see what you’re doing/have a look through your scope (if you’re comfortable allowing that).

If you’re an imager you should also consider where to place your IT to ensure you don’t disturb any close by visual observers with your screen (which should be shielded/red screened). You should take care over any trailing cables - the darkness, trailing cables, and fragile equipment can be a potentially dangerous and costly combination!

Equipment care

Scopes etc. are the responsibility of owners and you should ensure that you have a level of insurance cover that you are happy with. SGL is not responsible for any damage however caused. Owners leave scopes unattended at their own risk, although the vast majority of people tend to set up at the start of a star party and pack up at the end, leaving their kit assembled throughout (and covered in case of rain etc when not in use).

There are generally other stargazers around on our part of the site the whole time, and so security concerns are reduced. Its part of the fun of a star party to wander around during the day admiring (drooling over!) other people’s kit and asking questions. You just need to take appropriate care as you will be responsible for any damage you may cause. And if you bring children and/or pets please can you make sure they too are properly controlled to ensure no damage or ill-feeling.

Do I have to bring a scope?

Certainly not - you can stargaze any way you like!

The great thing about communal events like this is the opportunity for sharing! You’ll find many people will be more than happy to let you have a look through their scope. It’s a great way to find out what you might like, both in terms of scopes and eyepieces (warning: this can prove expensive in the long run!!). It’s also a great way to learn.

Just one word of caution: don’t simply assume it’s OK to have a look or touch any equipment - please do ask the owner first. Avoid leaving fingerprints on any optics, and do remember to say 'thank you'!

What about light?

The handling of light at a star party is something that is a bit different, and so we’ll go into some detail. This may appear pedantic, but it really can make a huge amount of difference to the viewing/imaging experience for everyone. It takes the human eye at least 20-30 mins to become properly ‘dark adapted’ for stargazing. White light ruins that hard-won dark adaptation in an instant and also ruins images. By far the easiest way to make yourself truly unpopular at a star party is to walk around with a white torch!

We will be working with the campsite to minimise the amount of light in our area (for instance, using blackout material in the shower block windows). The lights that really need to be there will be shielded red wherever practical. You should ensure that you do the same wherever possible after dusk. If it’s clear at all, you should only use dim red light torches, as these do not significantly affect dark adaptation. And if you are using a laptop with your equipment, please shield the screen from others around you (a sheet of red film is ideal for this).

Lights in tents should be similarly adapted, as they can shine through tent canvas walls. A big potential problem for a star party on any campsite is car lights. So please take some time before you arrive to work out how you will handle this if bringing your car on site. Most cars have interior lights that come on when you open the door or the boot. If you can’t disable this, please shield the lights with red tape or similar. Similarly, if your car lights flash when you lock or unlock your car please ensure that either you don’t do this when others are viewing or else park your car away from the viewing area. If you are arriving or leaving after dark please do not switch your lights on, otherwise park by the entrance to the park and walk to the rally field. Remember also that white reversing lights can’t be disabled, so always park facing forward.

Laser pointers

We will be operating a ‘no laser pointers’ rule, as they can be dangerous and can ruin night vision and photographs for others. The only exception will be if we decide to do an ‘SGL guided tour of the heavens’ at the start of an evening.

What about noise, music etc?

This is always a tricky one. Tents lack soundproofing! And so please be considerate particularly after 11pm and before 11am. If it’s cloudy, people might retire early - and if it’s clear many people will be sleeping in after a very late night! You might find ear plugs useful (there were a few cases of severe snoring at previous star parties!)

And on music, one person’s music is another one’s irritating noise, so please keep it down. We would also like to minimize the disturbance for the few houses which are close - we’re asking them to be considerate about their use of light during the weekend and so we think it's only fair that we reciprocate by keeping noise levels reasonable too.

Is alcohol allowed?

Yes. We just ask that you be considerate of others.

What happens during the daytime?

Aside from many people sleeping through the morning after a long night, there will be many options available. Some people explore the surrounding area, others are happy to stay on site and chat. We’re again looking to organise a few astro activities though.

There will also be a board available where you can put up an issue you are having, and someone will contact you with a view to help solve that problem. We're not so good on the details of planning applications, but we're pretty good on astro-related topics :)

Talks will take the form of hands-on workshops, or small groups looking at a particular topic. There will also be the opportunity to meet the Admin / Mod team of SGL, get to know us and ask us anything about SGL!

MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Is there anything else we should know?

This is an official SGL event and so we have to take account of insurance and Health and Safety issues. SGL and the campsite will have appropriate insurance but you will be responsible for your own equipment - such as loss and / or damage but also including injury to other members in the event of an accident.

Although this sounds draconian, the rules can be pared down to ‘please be considerate, careful and apply common sense’! The moderator team will need to keep an eye on things and should they see a risk may ask you to modify your actions.

Please take this in the spirit it is intended - which is simply to ensure a safe, fun experience for everyone!

We looking forward to meeting everyone!!

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