Richmond Astronomical Society

My New Favorite Star Party – Part 2

Apr 13th, 2014 | By | Category: Blog

Well I went back – to the Staunton River Star Party at Staunton River State Park, that is.  I was not disappointed.  The weather was not cooperative at all.  In fact, we only had one good night of observing, but the staff of the state park did a great job as before.  They were super helpful, very welcoming and they had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to make the start party and fun and enjoyable event for everyone.


The facilities were in excellent shape.  The staff had the field well marked into pathways and parking spots for astronomers.  There was AC power access in the field and I was able to pick up the guest Wi-Fi at my camping location which was really pretty far from the transmitter.  The staff had also set up red solar lights to show the way to the Deep Space Diner which had on its menu special space-themed dishes and was kept open by the staff until 4:00 AM each morning.  The diner had red interior lighting to preserve our night vision and bottomless cups of coffee to keep us fueled.

I know it sounds a bit like I’m gushing over this star party, but it just amazes me that the park has gone to so much effort to make us feel welcome to make the star party a great event.  They have recognized what a great resource they have in rural southside Virginia, with the help of the Chapel Hill Astronomy Observers Society (CHAOS), and they are taking advantage of it.  My compliments to them.

In fact, the regional director for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the agency responsible for managing the park, spoke to a group of us and explained that this star party had indeed generated considerable interest on the part of the local community in promoting the party and in preserving the dark sky resource that makes this location so favorable for a star party.

Bottom line – great star party, great location, super helpful and welcoming staff, dark skies and great people.  My recommendation is to go to the next one in the Fall.  Many, many thanks to CHAOS and to the Staunton River Star Party staff and management.

I’ll be back!


Jim Browder
Richmond Astronomical Society



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