Mason-Dixon Star Party - 2002
Willingboro Astronomical Society  Last updated 6.10.2002

This annual star party was held by the York County Astronomical Society from June 7-9 at Spring Valley park in the beautiful rolling hills of York county, PA. It was great camping weather - no rain, moderate temperatures and lots of sunshine and I had a great time.

I arrived Friday about 1:00pm, checked in and set up my tent and scope under partly cloudy skies and cool temperatures. I spent the afternoon visiting friends and making new ones and keeping track of the WAS members who arrived. Our club had good representation: Bruce and his daughter (Lea), Bernie and his wife, Al and Mary, Scott, Blake and, of course, myself. Several good presentations were given on Friday evening. Friday night was clear until 1:00am when a fairly solid bank of clouds rolled in.

Saturday was partly-to-mostly-cloudy which provided relief from the sun. During the afternoon, there were astrophoto and telescope contests. Bruce won two astrophotography prizes in the astrophoto contest - a second prize for his Veil Nebula shot and a first prize for his North American Nebula photo. There were several good presentations on Saturday afternoon followed by a great dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls for only $6! For the evening, Phil Harrington gave the keynote presentation and the activities finished up with door prizes and a raffle.

Saturday night was clear except for a few passing cirrus clouds and the dew was remarkably light. There was an A&E channel video crew on-site recording our activities and interviewing attendees but they were polite and non-intrusive. They are putting together a show on the 25th anniversary of the Voyager spacecraft and attended Mason-Dixon to get the perspective of amateur astronomers. I observed until about 2:30am and went to bed.


Beautiful views of the countryside in all directions. A great campsite - it was like camping on someone's lawn.
The concession stand had great food at very good prices. The usual vendors with lots of stuff to browse and buy plus some swap tables.
A number of good presentations were given both Friday and Saturday. Our crew: Shawn, Wendi, Scott, Mary, Al, Lane, Lea, Blake, Bruce. Bernie and his wife were missing.
This dome was for sale by the park system. A relatively rare but excellent breed of Newtonian.
There were at least two big dobs and a host of smaller ones and... several large refractors and many smaller ones (including my 5-inch)...
plus the usual batch of catadioptrics.   I couldn't figure out what these guys were doing but they were definitely having fun.