Last updated: 30 April 2001

Call for Interest - Responses

Mike here: A thought has occurred to me regarding the Nightfall venue. Since it occurs in September, it would be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of Weasner's Mighty ETX Site. Besides all the telescope fun we could have, it would be nice to have a get together of many of the people who have contributed their expertise and experiences to this site, making it the Premier ETX Site in the world. My thanks for that and I hope we can pull this star party off! Stay tuned for more info.

Subject:	NebraskaStarParty...
Sent:	Sunday, April 29, 2001 23:17:13
From:	umann@earthlink.net (umann)
You may know of this but if not here is the link to a "center of the
country" extremely dark skys StarParty.


Check it out and see for your self. We go back every summer to the lake
where it is held to have an annual family reunion and general good time.
I grew up there and forget what the stars really look like, and  the
milky way from horizion to horizon in fantastic detail. 

Oh well enough of the pitch, just check it out. 

Bob Hoffman

Subject:	Dark Skies and Cold Beer
Sent:	Thursday, April 19, 2001 05:38:11
From:	Petz2@aol.com
I would be willing to attend an ETX event, pay a fee to offset costs
etc....and to help  coordinate/organize such an event.

I am a member of "The Local Group," an astronomy club in the Santa
Clarita Valley. We have a monthly star party at Vazquez Rocks near Aqua
Dulce.  This may provide an opportunity for a meeting near the LA area
with reasonable dark skies.

In your service,

Steve Petzold

Subject:	"Nightfall" venue at Borrego Springs
Sent:	Sunday, April 1, 2001 13:01:31
From:	stantstk@pacbell.net (Stan Glaser)
September 14-15 would be open on my calendar (or I'd make it so) to
attend the event if held at Palm Canyon Resort. I have two
"reservations" (before making reservations!) --

(1) Mid-September in the Anza-Borrego area has always been incredibly
HOT!!! People should be aware that temps -could- conceivably reach into
the 100's or even 110's (no fer sure, but they could).

(2) As I recall when being in Blair Valley at night, the horizon in the
direction of Borrego Springs is usually where most of the "night light"
is eminating from -- sooo, I realize that Borrego Springs is better than
any large urban area for dark sky observing, but is it -that- much
better and worth it to suffer (1) above to have a star party in a
-smaller- urban area?

But, despite (1) and (2), I'd still be willing to attend. My wife, on
the other hand, hates the heat, so I'll probably end up solo -- although
I did ask a friend who has an 8" LX-10 if he wanted to come, and he was
interested, too.

Stan Glaser

Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Wednesday, March 28, 2001 14:23:19
From:	rmoore5@ix.netcom.com (Rob Moore)
It sounds like fun wherever you decide to have it.  I agree with the
person who said invite the LX-90 folks too.  Hell,  you could even
invite the Chinese refractor folks - then I could bring both of my

My only input is to hopefully have it be 2 days and nights rather then
one.  That way, the folks who have to travel will get more for their

Have it wherever it works out.  I'll come if I possibly can.  Oh, it
might be good if you can find a location where there are other things to
do like shopping, movies, restaurants, etc. for those non-participating


Subject:	RTMC
Sent:	Wednesday, March 28, 2001 12:54:09
From:	tony_spina@hotmail.com (Anthony Spina)
Hi Mike,
Are you going to go to the Riverside Telescope MC. in May? Maybe we can
have a small get together with other ETX users their?
Mike here: Nope, won't make it again this year. Got a scheduling conflict.


Oh well. I wonder if any of your sites ETXers will attend?

Subject:	Nightfall venue
Sent:	Monday, March 26, 2001 21:44:31
From:	edutton@infi.net (Ells Dutton)
Sounds like the Nightfall venue will be full with just their usual
crowd.  Don't want to be too exclusive or anything, but just an ETX +
group would be what a lot of us are looking for.

By the way, near a small airport would be good for me, since I have

Mike here: According to my contact at Nightfall, we could have a room to ourselves for presentations and be separate. The nice thing about Nightfall for our first one is that they have the logistics managed.



I certainly defer to your judgment since you will likely be the one
doing most, if not all, the work.  I was a little concerned about the
comment that the hotel usually fills by June.  If able to attend, I will
probably not be able to commit until much closer to the date - I know,
my problem.

Mike here: Supposedly there are nearby hotels that are OK.

Subject:	Nightfall
Sent:	Friday, March 23, 2001 20:16:53
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
hmmm... i just might be able to make the 14/15th Sept hoo-rah..
we'll start nudging it around the table...

have fun

Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Wednesday, March 21, 2001 11:53:05
From:	SONNYBIKER@cs.com
Being retired and having just purchased an ETX, I have so much to learn!
My thoughts pretty much echo those of Ron Hooper who replied on March
14, 2001. One must realize that undertaking a project of this nature
that you cannot be all things to all people.

I do believe the key element here is location in terms of total
attendance. I would be willing to bet that attendance could reach
several hundred with that being considered.

Cost is not a major factor for me and I would be willing to contribute
in making this a success. I myself would like to see this event cover
multiple days and I would tie this into a vacation covering the
surrounding areas.

Clarence Heist (Sonny)
Germantown, TN

Subject:	ETX Star Party
Sent:	Monday, March 19, 2001 21:36:27
From:	mdine1@san.rr.com (Martin & Cheryl DINE)
I am not an ETX owner, (I have an LX90) but I love your site. It has
been a tremendous resource for me with regard to Autostar, etc...

I am reading about your star party idea and the possible venue, and I
like it very much. I am from the San Diego area and can attest to the
Palm Canyon Resort. It would be a perfect venue for the gathering. I
only hope that you will extend an invitation to the LX90 types who all
lurk around the Mighty ETX site!

Best Regards,
Mike here: I'm sure that all Autostar users would be welcome!

Subject:	NightFall
Sent:	Monday, March 19, 2001 05:44:35
From:	afink@kaiserep.com (Fink,Al)
Mike, as an aside there is also camping or at least there always has
been on the grounds and nearby, along with the other hotels in the area.
the Riverside Astro. Soc. has participated in this event for several
years as a outgrowth from RTMC.

NightFall sounds  like a great venue as an initial event.

Al Fink

Subject:	ETX in Africa
Sent:	Thursday, March 15, 2001 02:13:10
From:	dadriance@engenderhealth.org (David Adriance)
Star Party is a great idea.  I've had my ETX-125 for only 3 months, but
love it and would be very interested in meeting with other ETX owners. 
Unfortunately, I live in Kenya (East Africa) - one of the most beautiful
countries in the world but probably not an option for most folks! 
However, if there are any other ETX owners in the vicinity who happen to
read this, please get in touch with me at adriance@swiftkenya.com.

Meanwhile, please keep up the great work, Mike - your site is a real
boon to those of us who would otherwise have difficulty accessing
technical assistance.

Dave Adriance
Nairobi, Kenya

Subject:	Party
Sent:	Wednesday, March 14, 2001 19:02:53
From:	r.g.hooper@worldnet.att.net (Ron Hooper)
Got my ETX 90 for Christmas 2000 and have done a little manual "seeing"
with it.  Really like it so far.  Plan to do the alignment and start
using the Autostar soon.  My ETX may need the "tune up" but scared to
"fiddle" with it, just know I would do something wrong!

I would be very interested in attending the "party" and willing to pay
reasonable costs.  I live outside of D.C. in norhern Va. so as far as
location is concerned the east coast is better than the west coast area.
 I also agree that the first one is the key.   Think you would have to
have at least 3 months prep time so that pushes it out to at least
summer, possibly the fall.

Couple of suggestions comments.
1) It should be multiple nights, don't think its wise to count on one
night for good weather.
2) It should be at some common hotel or inn to qualify for a "group"
3) Meade most definitely should participate.
4) There should be talks for us newbee's both on the technical stuff
concerning the ETX and what you can see with it.
5) It would be real helpful to have the "Tune up", Training, Alignment
etc. as a hands on workshop.  (I for one cringe at taking it apart,
having someone who has done it there to watch/guide would be most
helpful).  This way we could leave the session knowing that out ETX was
as good as it should be, and prove it at night.

If there is anything that I can do to help make this party happen just
let me know.

BTW, great web site.

Ron Hooper

Subject:	Etx StarParty: OHIO
Sent:	Monday, March 12, 2001 17:20:59
From:	stover@on-ramp.net (The Stover's)
I have a location in Ohio for a star party. I can have around 90 to 100
ETXer's max. The location would be Perkins Observatory, Delaware Ohio.
Delaware is 15 miles north of the Columbus I270 outer belt on route 23.
No date at this time because this is in the idea stage. Put I would do
this if I can get at least 40 to show up. Perkins has public nights on
Friday and Saturday. We would handle this just like a public night.
Saturday would be best for all who have to travel. 40 people would cover
the cost for the lost night to Perkins. Cost would be around $6.00 to
$10.00 per person. This is a very good location and just a great old
observatory. Plus we have a 32" scope, meeting hall, tours of the
observatory, restrooms in doors and free coffee. This is just not for
Ohio! You could plan this around a trip to the U.S. Air Force Museum at
Dayton, Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland and other great sites here in

I hear a lot of to far, how about a place more central. This could be
one of the locations and not the only one I hope. Like to hear from
others, so e-mail me at evstover@yahoo.com. To see the location go to
http://www.perkins-observatory.org/ . The club I belong to is the
Columbus Astrononmical Society at http://www.the-cas.org/.


Subject:	Future ETX party
Sent:	Wednesday, March 7, 2001 18:53:21
From:	KingLear3@aol.com
My wife and  I are new owners of a ETX 125 and just beginning to learn
the sky.  So far we are very pleased with our 1st scope's performance. 
We are interested in meeting other users and learning more.  Please keep
up informed of the party.  Thanks for doing all of the work.

Leary & Nina Wong
Walnut Creek, Ca.

Subject:	Star Party Idea
Sent:	Wednesday, March 7, 2001 16:26:43
From:	jfitz1@worldnet.att.net (James Fitzgerald)
What about piggy backing onto an existing star party?  All the details
are already worked out.  Housing is available, site is already chosen,
the locals are used to large numbers of us in their city, more variety
is available if anyone wants it, vendors already participate, other
speakers are already booked, and a variable number of nights is afforded
those that travel further.

The only example I can speak about is the Texas Star Party.  It is held
in late April or early May --after the cold and before the heat, located
in the Davis Mountains about 200 miles east of El Paso, plenty of dark
skies at the Prude Ranch, a state park with additional accomodations
nearby, a major observatory (McDonald) located 10 miles away, the small
rural town of Fort Davis nearby with people very happy to see us,
speakers already booked, tons of vendors show up for this,and a
reasonably central location for those on the east coast or upper
midwest.  Last year they booked Al Nagler, David Levy, and Stephen
O'Meara (couldn't come, but was scheduled), among others.  Amtrak
services Alpine, about 20 miles away, El Paso and Midland-Odessa airpost
are about 200 miles, and it is about 75 miles from I-20.

I live 650 miles from this and is the only major star party I have
attended, hence my personal preference.  The price is reasonable and the
accomodations range from inexpensive to "bring your checkbook".

I am sure there are other equally as good sites, but this is the only
one I can speak about.  Oh by the way, I am in no way connected with the
Texas Star Party organization.  (I know this must sound like a sales

Anyway, this type of scenario would save a lot of up front work and if
the turn out was large enough, perhaps an all ETX party may be
justified.  This just seems to be a low risk, low effort, low expense
way to give this a shot.

Clear skies,

Jim Fitzgerald
Astronomical Society of East Texas

Subject:	ETXStarparty
Sent:	Tuesday, March 6, 2001 19:40:53
From:	stover@on-ramp.net (The Stover's)
How about a one day world wide party. I would think we could get 50
states on line with a meeting site for each. What about our friends to
the north. I live in the heart of Ohio and can think of a number of
sites to meet. But back to the big party plan. I think this is great.
For each ETX operator to meet others. We have about 10 to 15 ETX's in
our club of 260. If you OHIO boys and girls would like to meet e-mail me
at evstover@yahoo.com I think we could set up a meeting on a weekend.
One person is not a party, but its a start. (grin) Mike go with what
works for you.

Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Monday, March 5, 2001 15:19:42
From:	sprocketworks@hotmail.com (Doug Weiner)
Sounds great.  Is there enough members to do these meetings in several
locations?  I live in Los Angeles, and would definitely attend one in
the Southern Cal Area.  I would love to learn how to use my scope from
people with more experience in both the ETX and astronomy in general.

Doug Weiner

Subject:	sure..... I'd go
Sent:	Saturday, March 3, 2001 18:22:39
From:	thebrills@zebra.net (The Brills)
To answer your questions about a possible Star Party...... Yes I would
like to attend, and would pay a nominal fee to help offset costs.

And yes, I would love to give a lecture/discussion of CCD Imaging and or
other topics..... perhaps Near Infra-Red Imaging.  (by the way, i use an
ETX-90 for NIR Imaging)


Subject:	starparty
Sent:	Friday, March 2, 2001 22:57:40
From:	Pkytrk1955@aol.com
Hi,I think its a wonderfull idea and id suport it any way i
could.However im a poorboy and i cant go very far, Which is why I think
the regonal idea is a good one. ive owned a 90ra for 2 yrs now and im
not nearly as good with it as id like. So id welcome the opportunity to
learn in person. I live in dallas tx. and theres plenty of darksky in
west tx. Also ive got experiance with organizing events if that will be
any help. Youve got a wonderfull idea and i think itll get big with
time. thanks      Rusty

Subject:	Location, Location, Location...
Sent:	Friday, March 2, 2001 09:16:23
From:	Ken.Toliver@dayzim.com (Toliver, Ken)
As with all other respondents, I am totally unbiased regarding my
personal location.

However, we must keep in mind that the selected location must provide a
very high number of clear sky days annually.  Plan for success; a few
nights of clouds would bury the occasion.

Now, living in Arizona I can certainly vouch for our very high number of
clear sky days annually.  But I am sure there are several other
locations around the country.  We have mountainous regions here, very
dry air, clear seeing, temperature stability, and a few outstanding
observatories.  I like the thought of an observatory site (maybe Kitt
Peak, Tucson, AZ?) because we could possibly arrange group viewing
sessions through some serious equipment as well as having a great site
to use our own stuff.

Just some thoughts.


Sent:	Thursday, March 1, 2001 03:01:52
From:	bareketj@internet-zahav.net (m&j bareket)
I think that the star ETX party is a GREAT IDEA! wish I could be there.

Subject:	ETX Star Party
Sent:	Monday, February 26, 2001 22:50:18
From:	titus@teleport.com (Willard S. Titus)
I think you've got an excellent idea.  To turn it into reality, though,
will take a lot of work by a lot of people.  I'll help.

Bill Titus

Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Sunday, February 25, 2001 21:33:33
From:	ronmccafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty Jr)
I would be interested in attending.  I would be willing to pay to offset
costs associated with hosting the event.  One would think Meade would be
willing to put up some bucks for this and then bring a bunch of scopes
to test and accessories for sale.  I would bring my ETX 90RA and 8"
Schmidt Cassegrain Celestron.  My biggest goal for attending would be to
learn how to use my scope better.  Dark skies would be a must.

Ron McCafferty

Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Friday, February 23, 2001 23:23:34
From:	gnach@k-online.com (Gary Nach)
First, thanks for the GREAT site, it's kept me very busy. I greatly
appreciated the user feedback, tips and hints.

I assume you know of this site, yours is linked. But, the points are the
dates and location. Blair Valley is off the road 2-3mi and still in the
mountains, in fact down, well behind the crest and the light of San
Diego that plagues Palomar. I've never joined this group out here but
it's on my short To Do list. Alternative sites are back at Warner
Springs, possibly on the Mataguay Scout Ranch, or down in Borrego. Or
still further south at Lake Moreno near Campo. On the north side is the
primative (pit toilets, not showers) site. I think that the fees there
allow usuage of the facilites at the main camp. Great camping 60+ mi
from SD.

2 cents worth, Gary Nach, La Mesa,  ETX70 and wishing for more.


Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Friday, February 23, 2001 08:32:23
From:	radugas@mindspring.com (DjP)
I think that this is a GREAT idea.

I live in Southern Florida, but given the right date I would love to

I am an absolute novice by most ppls standards having only owned my ETX
(first REAL telescope) since December of 2000, however I have found
myself addicted to the hobby, spending 3-5 hours a night 4-5 nights a
week gazing at the heavens. My library of publications is growing weekly
and my two sons are starting to catch the 'fever' as well.

I would be glad to bring my equipment to the party, and would be most
happy to learn from the more seasoned amateurs.

Thanks in advance for the great idea.


D Palliser

Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Wednesday, February 21, 2001 14:44:18
From:	RBSAUER@aol.com
Being from Denver I am slightly biased to that region.  That being said,
I would be more likely to attend if one was located in the Rocky Mtn
West region. However, if not located nearby and it happened to coincide
with business/personal travel in that area, I would also attend.

I feel that a $20-50 fee would be appropriate and would be willing to

Thanks for all your hard work.

Ron Sauer

Subject:	Great idea
Sent:	Tuesday, February 20, 2001 17:18:46
From:	ccsk@ldd.net (Kevin Lasher)
I have often thought that it would be great to have some kind of
gathering of ETX users.  I would most definitely be willing to pay a
nominal fee to attend and cover costs.  Location is the thorniest issue.
It would need to be a spot with good weather and viewing locations. 
Your points about electricity availability and other issues are the most
difficult to overcome, particularly if 100 or so people attend with
telescopes in tow.  I would suggest somewhere near the center of the
country, perhaps on a mountain top in the western Ozarks in mid to late
fall.  Of course, I am TOTALLY unbiased about the location, considering
I am in Missouri (ha).

I'd also be willing to help any way possible (at least possible from

Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Monday, February 19, 2001 15:00:16
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
I think it's a great idea.  Although I live in La Habra (not far from
Stan Glaser) and am partial to Southern Calif., I agree with someone
elses comments that it should be a venue near you with all that you've
done with the site.  My suggestion since I'm a member of OCA, we have a
site in Anza that has pretty good skies but permission from the new
president Liam Kennedy would undoubtedly be neccessary.  Mt. Pinos would
be closer to you but than you'd need the LA Astronomers permission and
it's cold year round.  Whatever you choose, if it's here I'll go.  Might
even bring the 7" Mak too.


Subject:	party! 
Sent:	Monday, February 19, 2001 13:56:01
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Well, i started by thinking "too far",
but then i read the accumulated Emails...

And, if nothing else, may end up visiting Bruneau Dunes someday.
(sounds like a fun site, even if it didn't have the 25" scope)

The idea of simultaneous (connected by internet? cross-coupled 
webcam feeds?) parties has appeal... for the long-distance folks.

Another "public" observatory exists in Goldendale Washington,
just north of the Columbia River, not too far from The Dalles OR.
They evidently prefer group arrangements, and we're a group.
I've camped at the Goldendale airport for the 1982 solar eclipse.

(there is also a nearby 2/3rds sized (i.e. BIG) model of Stonehenge 
 as it was when it was built... rotated properly to correct for its
 location here in the US).
There's a 50-site campground near to that, on the shore of the Columbia.

The Seattle Astro Society tries to have (weather permitting) a 
monthly Saturday evening public star party in two locations in the city.
They choose the weekend closest to the first quarter moon,
and one site is at a lakeside location.  
Us PNWer's who are close by could try a massed assault (oh, dear..
a -crowd- of madly whirring ETXs, DSs and LXs...
 will we be able to -talk- above the din?)
We could also choose a -different- weekend, thereby sparing "normal"
folk their hearing.


Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Monday, February 19, 2001 10:49:49
From:	rodrickse@mediaone.net
I agree with the idea of holding regional star parties. Though, I also
see your point of getting the first one under your belt. I'd love to be
able to go, however, be 16 years old, I don't think my parents would be
willing to ship me out west for a star party. Have you contacted Meade?
Perhaps they would be willing to financially sponser it, as it would be
a great advertisement for them. Even though I wouldn't be able to go to
a star part outside of New England, I'm still interested. Let me know
how things go, good luck.

Clear skies,
Joe Rodricks

Subject:	ETX Star Party
Sent:	Monday, February 19, 2001 09:22:12
From:	root@thunder.eas.slu.edu (System Managers Account)
What about the idea of using one of the already organized star parties
and making it a BOF session. Much of the logistics are already worked
out. You could also get a lot of other people to stop in and chat.

        _          |----------------------------------------------------|
       (  )        |  Robert W. Pasken                                  |
      (    )       |----------------------------------------------------|
     _(     )      |  Atmospheric Sciences                              |
     (      )      |  Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences           |
     (       )     |----------------------------------------------------|
     (       )     |  306 Maclewane Hall                                |
   _(         )    |  3507 Laclede Ave.                                 |
  (            )   |  Saint Louis Missouri                              |
  (             )  |                 62201                              |
 (_______________) |----------------------------------------------------|
   /////////////   |  Phone: (314) 977-3125    FAX: (314) 977-3117      |
   ////////////    |  ---> pasken@thunder.eas.slu.edu <---              |
 /////////////     |-----------------------------------------------

Sent:	Friday, February 16, 2001 10:50:17
From:	Clayton.hornbuckle@3cc.co.wayne.mi.us (Clayton hornbuckle)
Good Day!  I would truly be excited to attend a star party with my
ETX-90. I'm currently collecting and testing video components to display
to observers without looking thru the eyepiece.  (I stole that idea from
a party you attended out west.)

But my letter to you is simply to add another twist into the plot... How
about hosting a few parties in differnt regions?   For instance,  if you
held one in say, Ohio, you would have users from 3 states at least
attending this!  MIch/INdiana etc.   I'm suggest something a bit more
regional for the sake of keeping traveling cost down and the great
opportunity to meet not only other users but you as well!  (major suck
up at this point!!!  Anything for the sale!)   What do you think?  You
could probably get support from the locals as far as hobbie stores, etc.

Thanks for reading this!
Clear Skies!

Clay Hornbuckle
Email - Denali2000@mediaone.net

Subject:	Sounds good
Sent:	Thursday, February 15, 2001 13:18:20
From:	tony_spina@hotmail.com (Anthony Spina)
I have an ETX125 and I live in Manhattan Beach. I would be interested in
having a star party. I would not mind paying for the event.

I would also bring my scope. As we all could learn some tips from each
other. Maybe we can have some workshops on fine tuning our scopes.


Subject:	quick response off the top of my head...
Sent:	Wednesday, February 14, 2001 00:49:21
From:	stantstk@pacbell.net (Stan Glaser)
A star party "sounds" like a great idea, but I agree that the logisitics
might be a nightmare.

I would really enjoy meeting the people that frequent your site, but it
does become a cost issue for a lot of people the farther away it is --
and I, too, would like it to be here in Southern Cal, since I live in
Yorba Linda.

Dark skies could always be had in the desert (like Blair/Little Blair
Valley in Anza Borrego), but everyone there has to be self-sufficient
(food, electricity, potty, etc.), and making speeches, presentations,
etc. would probably NOT be a simple task if they contained anything more
than someone getting up in front of a group, standing on a soapbox, and
talking through a Radio Shack megaphone!

I probably would NOT attend if it was held anywhere other than the local
Southern Cal area; then again, I might be persuaded if it was within
reason (dark skies in the Sierra would be great, but hold it where?) If
it were held out of state, my first answer would be NO, I would not
attend. If it were held down here, would Dick Seymour
drive/fly/train/mule/hike/thumb his way down here from Seattle? If there
were an "entry" fee, I probably wouldn't want to spend more than $50 --
and then, what do I get for the $50? (dinner? breakfast? lodging in
someone's barn? a shovel and a roll of toilet paper?).

That's it for now -- just some random thinking...

Stan Glaser

Subject:	ETX Star Party Dark Site
Sent:	Tuesday, February 13, 2001 15:05:10
From:	Carl.Stanley@mountainhome.af.mil (Stanley Carl TSgt 366 LSS/LGLT)
I think the ETX star party is a good idea, however, I don't believe
Southern California is a very good place.  A good dark sky location
would be better, places like the desert regions of California, Arizona,
Nevada, or New Mexico.  My personal preference is at Bruneau Dunes State
Park here in Idaho (of course I am slanted towards this because I live
in Idaho).  Bruneau Dunes is a nice , dark sky site with camping areas,
showers, and (most important) an observatory with a 25" telescope that
is opened to the public. It also has an auditorium and classrooms
available.  Anyway that's my imput.

Carl Stanley
Mountain Home, Idaho

Subject:	Star Party in Las Vegas!?!
Sent:	Tuesday, February 13, 2001 13:38:33
From:	joshua.parker@nellis.af.mil (Parker Joshua L SrA 99 SPTG/DET 1)
Hey this is Josh,  How about having the star party in Vegas??  Believe
it or not there are alot of great places to hold one out here.  Such as,
Lake Mead, Mt. Charleston, Moapa Valley (Valley of Fire), and Red
Rock...  And observers could stay on or off the strip and make a real
vacation out of it! I work part time at the local Discovery Channel
Store as the Telescope Guru...  So I could advertise a little in the
store as well...  If it sounds interesting the website for the local
Astronomy Club out here is:


Lemme know what you think...

take care
Josh Parker

Subject:	Response
Sent:	Tuesday, February 13, 2001 07:39:11
From:	pillows@voyager.net (pillows)
I believe an ETX Star Party would be a great event. You have
accomplished much to foster the use and understanding of the Meade ETX
line, with all it's pluses and minuses. The venue should be in your area
of California. Transportation to your part of the world is readily

The Meade web site has the "Clubs and Community" area where it seems
they should more than happy to announce a meeting of owners of one of
the major products in their line. This could possibly draw those owners
who don't normally visit your site.

One caveat, having been involved in organization before, many say they
will come but, alas, only pay lip service.

I live in the Midwest and would be willing to attend.

Good luck in your endeavor.

Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Tuesday, February 13, 2001 06:52:24
From:	Dave.Rosenthal@ie-ate.com (Rosenthal, Dave)
I would defiantly attend, depending on the location of course.  I am a
recent purchaser of an ETX-90EC in the Northern New Jersey area and am
looking for tips & techniques.

David Rosenthal
Software Engineering Manager
Senior Systems Engineer
15 Thornton Road,
Oakland, NJ  07436-3115

Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Monday, February 12, 2001 08:30:14
From:	ggrainger@prang.com (Garrett Grainger)
Great Idea! Getting those with similar equipment would benefit all as
well as contribute to the camraderie I see on this sight. I happen to
live in Florida, but with airline miles, my family and I would welcome
the thought of the trip; me, for my new found addicting hobby, they for
the travel.....

A fee for the facility/organization would definately be appropriate.

Count me in..

Garrett Grainger
Dixon Ticonderoga Company

Subject:	Star Party!!!
Sent:	Monday, February 12, 2001 07:15:27
From:	afink@kaiserep.com (Fink,Al)
Mike, I think it's a great idea. To get a group out to improve
technique, to give and take from others, to just observe with a group
like minded amateurs would make the basis for a really great star party.

Now, on the other hand to be able to pull all the ideas you had
together, now that will be a challenge. I attend at least one organized
(I use the term loosely) star party per month, with the Riverside
Astronomical Society (RAS). The RAS as a club was formed in 1957 and we
still have a few of the charter members in the group, with nearly 200
members on the roles, with many different levels of experience and with
many different and varied telescopes, and within the group the ETX's are
jokingly referred to as the Toy's. But most will acknowledge the
beautiful views even in comparison with the substantially larger scopes.

I have said all that just to be able to say that even with our large and
varied group it is difficult to pull off a star party that will please
the whole group. Dark Skies being priority there are a few excellent
sites within 2 - 2 1/2 hours driving time of even central Orange county
but most of the locations for truly nice skies, especially for the
imager's. Begin to degrade rapidly when amenities begin to be added. The
nicest sites have limited facilities to the point of asking if restrooms
are available.

Even the campgrounds start having outdoor lights and if you want a
meeting room they begin looking like ball parks with the lights they use
around the buildings.

RAS is developing a site in Landers which has beautiful skies, but
little else at the moment, is being developed along the lines of a camp
ground designed to meet the needs of amateur astronomers but at the
moment it is dry,  no water or facilities, we rent a portable toilet for
our parties. We like Joshua Tree Nat. Park, Cottonwood Spring
Campground, hot in the summer. another more local site is Oso Lobo group
camp on route 38 on the way up to Big Bear again limited facilities but
nice skies. Another group camp facility that is a bit further south is
at Mount Laguna, El Prado group campground.

I'm sure you'll receive many other ideas for locations that I haven't
mentioned, but to find a location that is dark, has group meeting
facilities, has power, sounds as though another club that has a fully
developed site would be the ticket. I'm sure we have one within the ETX
'ers out there.....

Mike one consideration that I didn't mention and that I haven't heard
much of within the group is cold....desert/mountains both are cold now.
Mountains will continue to be the deserts will become unbearably hot
during the day shortly, no suggestions just another variable to throw
into the pot for when choosing location and time.

Good Luck, I'll drive most anywhere that is chosen, I understand that
there are some surprisingly nice sites in the Bay area. just joking, but
even that could work...we've got people posting from all across the
country, this could be interesting.

Al Fink 

Subject:	thoughts
Sent:	Sunday, February 11, 2001 10:30:20
From:	edutton@infi.net (Ells Dutton)
Great idea,  I figured it was only a mater of time, and effort and...

>Some obvious questions that need to be answered:
>  Would you attend such an event?

I would sure try, dates and location will determine

>  Would you pay to attend such an event (to offset any costs)?

Yes, up to reasonable; I'd think a fee of $20 to $50 could be borne by

>  Would you be willing to give a talk on some aspect of the ETX, DS,
Autostar, astronomy, astrophotography?

Don't think I have much expertise there, but am getting through the
Herschel 400 with a 125.

>  Would you bring your telescope(s)?

Don't currently have portable mount, this might be the motivation

>  What about housing/camping/transportation/meal costs and availability?

I'd try to work out cheapest flight, comfortable hotel and would bring
camping gear

>With the above as a concept, two specifics that need resolving are:
>  When would it be held?

At this point, this is not a particular concern to me, but do have some
other things scheduled that would preclude this.

>  Where would it be held?

I'd hope for somewhere NW of Denver, but better for the group would the
US population centroid of ETX users (dark-sky weighted of course), maybe
near Denver.  Going too far for only a one-day event might be
restrictive for some.  I might have a problem if it is a 1000+ miles and
just a one day/night gig.  I hear that northern Arizona/New Mexico can
be fantastic.

Will be listening.


Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Sunday, February 11, 2001 06:01:08
From:	scotexan@home.com (B & L Rodger)
What about Arizona...or Even New Mexico....its the middle of the country
and has Clear and Dark Skies.
I would attend.

SCOTEXAN Say's  : If only I could see a little Further  :O)
Please feel free to visit my site http://www.geocities.com/scotexan1234/index.htm

Subject:	star party
Sent:	Saturday, February 10, 2001 21:25:55
From:	Dean@cwdi.com (Dean)
The idea is great but, the logistics for those of us far east of you is
$$.  What about one west, midwest, and east?  I would think that Meade
would attend if a dealer of the area is involved.  I would not think
that it would need to be a real formal event, however that may be hard
to get people to commit otherwise.  I think a mutilple night viewing is
a must if people are going to travel any distance at all, at least to
make the trip worth while.  Oh, I also think that Mike Weasner himself
must be present at each site so that all his loyal subjects may meet him
in person :)  Date should be when it is warm and not on a holiday

Dean, in Ky.
I'll bring a ETX90, 125, LX90
Mike here: Once we get this established, I'm hopeful we could turn it into a multi-site, multi-night event. But we got to get the first one under our collective belts.

Subject:	ETX Star Party
Sent:	Saturday, February 10, 2001 20:58:43
From:	carlbernhardt@hotmail.com (Carl Bernhardt)
I would be interested in an ETX Star Party.  I would be partial to a
Southern California Location.  Some suggestions would be:

Palomar State Park.  I am not sure if they have any large expanses of
clear viewing, but there is a lot of camping, and for less primitive
accommodations, there is a San Diego School District campground there
with classrooms, cabins, and dinning.  I usually go there for a early
music festival if I don't go to RMTC. Also maybe someone could arrange
tours of the Mt. Palomar Observatory.

Mt. Laguna Mountains (Near Julian).  There are Forest Service camp sites
and some private camp grounds.  There is an old abandoned radar station
up there with flat pavement on top of a hill.  I do not know if we go
get access to the site or if there is any light there.  I go there every
summer for a folk music gathering at a private camp ground.  I know some
of the local residents, so I could find if it is feasible.

High Desert - Both University of Riverside and Cal State San Bernardino
have research labs out in the desert.  UCR near Bishop and Cal State
near Barstow.  I do not know if they are available outside of the

Joshua Tree and Landers - The Riverside Astro. Society used to have star
parties at Joshua Tree.  Now we have our own private site on some
private land near Landers.  The Landers site would be primitive camping
and you would have to bring your own water and toilets.  Hopefully, we
will eventually have some buildings out there.

The San Diego Astro. Society has their own facility near the US/Mexico
border.  I've never been to the facility, so I have no idea what it is

Lake Arrowhead/Big Bear Lake - There are several places - public
campgrounds and private campgrounds up there.  Since What-in-the-World
is in Lake Arrowhead Village and they sell ETX's (at inflated prices)
maybe we could get them to sponsor an ETX gathering at Lake Arrowhead. 
At Big Bear there is the solar observatory and a nice campground next
door on the north side of the lake.  I camp at the campground every 4th
of July.  Of course there is still a lot of light pollution from Big
Bear City across the lake.

Here are some ideas from the top of my head.


Carl Bernhardt

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