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Distantly Social Star Gaze & a Question

Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:49 am
by Bsimon
Attached here is the modified name tag (designed by Co-Director Len Philpot) which attendees will be required to wear at our 38th Annual Deep South Star Gaze which begins on Tuesday November 10th. As all will quickly note, the name tag for this year has been altered to reflect the fact that we are acutely aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on star parties and public outreach over the past 8 months. Virtually all events have been cancelled, primarily due to the various venues not being able to open due to state mandates and rightfully because of the relative risk of large groups spreading COVID-19.

A very few events such as the recent El Dorado Star Party have been held but with restrictions in place including limited attendance. Additionally while some star parties have officially cancelled, the venues were open and many regular attendees decided to go anyway during the same time frames for "unofficial" but still enjoyable time under the stars.

At the Deep South we are doing what we can not only to minimize the potential risk of COVID infection but to prevent it. Except for burgers and hot dogs served at 4 pm, attendees are on their own for meals. There are places off site where they can go to eat or pick up and I suspect that many will be bringing in their own food. We are laying out our main observing field so that canopies and scopes will be spaced further apart. Many will be staying in tents, campers or rv's. The attendees who have opted for bunk house living will be in bunk houses where we have severely restricted occupancy. Hence we have restricted attendance and while we are not at our limit yet (50), we are close. We have room for about another half dozen or so in our bunk houses and others are welcome to register and tent camp or bring in rv's or campers. (Note - all 30 amp outlets for rv's and campers are now reserved, but attendees are welcome to run quiet type generators during daylight hours.) We do have limited other a/c for telescope use but running on appropriate batteries is recommended. If you do want to tie in to a/c, at least 100 ft of outdoor cord is necessary but we cannot guarantee that an outlet will be available if you arrive after Wednesday.

I am curious to hear any reports from attendees at either the El Dorado Star Party or any other events both officially held or unofficially held regarding any post star party reports about everyone staying COVID free and if not can any "mistakes" be identified that contributed to any health issues.

Barry Simon, Director
Deep South Star Gaze