Welcome to The Great Manitou Star Party!

Welcome to The Great Manitou Star Party!Dear friends,

I want to begin with a big Thank-You to everyone who attended last summer�s star party. It was wonderful to share the Manitoulin night sky with so many neat people. We sincerely hope you�ll all come back in 2002.

The dates for the 5th annual Great Manitou Star Party are Monday, August 12 – Sunday, August 18; six nights of fun, friendship and fantastic observing! The event takes place at Gordon’s Park and Carter Bay on Manitoulin Island. Gordon’s Park is the primary camping and observing venue – very accessible from Hwy. 6, and fabulously dark! Carter Bay is available to us for beach fun and nighttime excursions. The two sites are about 20 minutes apart.

We have some great stargazing opportunities in 2002 , beginning with the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower on Monday, August 12 � opening night! The meteors will be flying all week long thanks to the intersection of several major and minor showers at that time of year. A young moon will also grace the night sky. Fortunately she’ll be over the horizon and out of sight by the time the serious observing begins.

The moon has inspired several of our Special Events this year. We�re planning a �Faces and Phases� lunar photography contest, a “Lunar Lore” campfire talk presented by Paul-Emile Legault of Laurentian University in Sudbury and a moonlight beach party at Carter Bay.

We�re also going to have a �Build and Fly� paper airplane competition, live music and a keynote astrophography speaker Saturday afternoon. I�m very pleased to announce that Pat Bedard of the Sudbury Astronomy Club will give this year�s presentation. Pat is the most dedicated astrophography I�ve every met. He has an incredible archive of photos and some great stories to tell.

Our good friend, Abe Slomovitz, will also be back with his Earth and Sky astronomy shop. It�s your chance to pick up quality merchandise including binoculars, telescopes, telescope accessories, books and lots of other fun stuff.

The Great Manitou Star Party is not a conference or a technical event; it’s a festival. We try to keep the agenda light and relaxed so that our guests have time to soak up the blissful ambiance of the island.

Cost to attend is $20.00/night/vehicle. We charge on a per vehicle basis to make it more affordable for families. A pass for all six nights is $120.00. This includes your registration, camping fees and access to all events accept dinner, which is put on by Rita and Terry Gordon and costs $12.00 per plate.

We have discount rates for clubs as follows:

Five vehicles for a minimum of four nights earn a 5% discount.

  • Full price = $400.00
  • Discount price = $380.00

Ten vehicles for a minimum of four nights earn a 10% discount.

  • Full price = $800.00
  • Discount price = $720.00

To qualify for the discount funds must be submitted by no later than July 15th, 2002. Fill out a separate registration form for each group (vehicle) and send them to me with a cheque for the appropriate amount, payable to the Great Manitou Star Party. The mailing address is:

Great Manitou Star Party
1687 Carol Street
Val Caron, ON P3N 1H1

A printable registration form is available on the website.

Here’s some more basic “need-to-know” info:

  • Our site is very, very dark. The Ottawa Observers Group measured the limiting magnitude at +7 or better two years ago. We are light-pollution-free and ask everyone to respect “white-light” etiquette.
  • Gordon’s Park has a full array of services including store, bar, restaurant, gorgeous hiking trails, a children’s playground, mini-putt, etc. It also has a couple of bed-and-breakfast rooms.
  • The observing site is set back in the woods. We camp in a series of big, open meadows surrounded by beautiful, mature mixed forest. It is a “soft-wilderness” setting.
  • You can set up your camp in the open fields with other astronomers or find yourself a nice, private sanctuary among the trees.
  • Bathroom facilities consist of outhouses (very clean and shaded) and port-potties. You can freshen up at our ingenious “bush shower”. If you’re old enough to remember the TV series MASH you probably have some idea what this unit looks like. Warm water and the open sky, too! It was a big hit last year.
  • We have a limited supply of picnic tables and cook stands, which will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. It’s a good idea to bring a portable table if you can fit one in.
  • Early August is usually dry, comfortably warm and bug free on Manitoulin Island, but anything can happen. Over the years we’ve dealt with water, wind and mosquitoes. Come prepared for outdoor living. Bring what you need to be comfortable.

For more information, call Mark Oldfield at 1 (705) 897-4518 or email [email protected].

Carpe noctum!
Mark Oldfield

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