L H S C     A c t i v i t i e s

Star Cruise Radio - FM 91.1 MHz

Science Movie

Come see one of our favorite science movies, landing at the Speakers Tent   (bring your own popcorn!)

Astronomy Team Challenge!

Come test your 'astro' wits against your fellow attendees and possibly win a prize!   The "Astronomy Team Challenge!" game is based upon the old "College Bowl" TV game show and also the current Pittsburgh TV game show "High Q", where local high school teams compete.   Questions are presented one at a time, and the team that is the quickest at 'buzzing in' with the correct answer receives points.   The more difficult questions are worth more points.   There will be at least three rounds with three teams in each.   A team will consist of three people, either from the same astronomy club, or comprised of campground friends and neighbors.   The winners of each of the three semi-final rounds will face off in the final 'prize' round.   The first and second place teams (with the most points) win prizes.   If there's a tie, a coin toss will decide the winner.   Please pre-register your team (club or team name and 3 players' names) if at all possible so we know how many questions to prepare.   Terry Trees.   Registration is also possible on-site.

Who Wants to be an Astronomer?

Come test your 'astro' wits against your fellow attendees (and win a prize!).   The "Who Wants to be an Astronomer?" game is based upon the TV series "Who Want to be a Millionaire?"  Questions are multiple-choice with 4 possible answers.  The more difficult questions are worth more "money".  3 Life-Lines may be used:  "Poll the Audience", "50% - 50%"  where 2 of the incorrect answers are removed and "Ask a Friend" who must be present in the audience.  The first and second place finishers (with the most "money") win prizes.  If there's a tie, a coin toss will decide the winner.  If you wish to enter the contest, you must obtain a registration form at Star Cruise.  There will be 30 astronomically-related questions on the form, similar in design to those you will get if you're actually playing the game.  You must answer the questions immediately when you receive your form, and you must do it in front of a judge, without the assistance of others.  The 10 people scoring the highest on this pre-test will compete for the prizes.  A coin-toss will be used as a tie-breaker. There will be no fast-finger style competition.   Hosted by Terry Trees .  


Astrophotography Workshop

Roger Blake  of TAURUS Technologies will conduct a hands-on demonstration/workshop of astrophotography methods and equipment.  This is a FREE workshop.  Star party attendees may participate either actively, or as observers.  TAURUS Technologies will provide the astrophoto equipment, or attendees may bring their own.  The objective is to provide the equipment and hands-on training to allow a novice participant to take astrophotos during the star party.  The workshop is not a single scheduled event.  It is a continuous informal, interactive activity during the entire star party.  Roger will be available on the observing field to help/advise participants on basic issues such as polar alignment, night sky navigation, focusing, target and guide star aquisition, exposures, etc.  For a more detailed description of the workshop Click Here.  TAURUS Technologies will provide astrophoto equipment (flip mirrors, off-axis guiders, 35mm cameras) at no charge, for use during the show, but quantities are limited so register early to reserve the equipment you will need.
 Contact Roger Blake for questions or to register.   


Beginners Class

A brief program introducing the night sky to those new to astronomy will be held near the Speakers Tent.  Bright stars, planets and constellations will be identified.   Deep sky objects will be explained and some will be observed through binoculars.  Questions are encouraged.  Hosted by John Holtz .


Bicycle Cruise

This year, there will be no 'official' organized road bike ride.  But, you may still want to bring your bike to take advantage of the great places to ride in the area.
Roads: There are plenty of lightly traveled, two lane, paved, country roads. The terrain is hilly but some of the area has gently rolling hills.  The area around Deep Creek Lake, near by in Maryland has wide berms for biking
Rail Trails: There are trails within short driving distance at Ohiopyle State Park in PA, Cheat Lake and Morgantown, WV.
Off Road: A Mountain bike would be good for the campground.  There are also some trails in the woods and Big Bear Lake Campground hosts mountain bike races and has trails.  One of the prime places to ride is the extensive trail system in West Virginias Coopers Rocks State Forest.  They have trail maps at the Concession stand or the park office.  AAAP member
  Dave Smith who has lead the past LHSC bike rides knows the area well, and can help anyone with directions and tips for riding.  Dave will be there Friday-Sunday to give directions.


Coopers Rock Tour

Another alternative event for those who want some exercise and a chance to see some of the local 'sights' of the area.  AAAP member  Dave Smith will lead a car road trip to   Coopers Rock.   Coopers Rocks State Forest is a must see.  It has, by far, the best scenic overlook in the area.   One walks across a wooden bridge, built by the CCC in the 30s, to The rock.   Coopers Rock is about 80 feet high and is on the rim of the 1,200 foot deep Cheat River Canyon.   The top of the rock is surrounded by a distinctive chestnut and stone fence.   Photo   From this vantage point one can see a panoramic view of the canyon and the river below.   The Forest is also popular with mountain bikers, rock climbers, and hikers.   There is also a campground, picnic area, two fishing lakes and area called Rock City where one could spend hours going through a maze of very large rocks.   Also of interest is the Henry Clay iron furnace.  The forest is about twenty miles away from Pine Hill Campground.   We will visit the overlook and part of Rock City.   The trip to Coopers Rock will leave the LHSC registration tent Friday afternoon and should take about 2 hours to complete.  If enough people are interested, Dave will also lead a trip to Coopers Rock on Sunday, after the campground checkout time for the end of Star Cruise.


Door Prizes

The name of each individual registered for Star Cruise will be entered into the Door Prize drawing which will be held Saturday evening.  You must be present to win.  Door prizes are graciously provided by our attending vendors and internationally known astronomical vendors and manufacturers.


Homebuilt Telescope Tour

Do you have a home-built telescope of which you are especially proud?  Have you built or made any additions to your astronomy capability?  Enter it in the "Homebuilt Telescope Tour" and show off your handiwork!  Please signup at the registration tent before Saturday morning to be sure we visit your site.   Even if you haven't, please join us at the registration tent so we can all walk around together and view the interesting projects and telescopes.
Bring your questions and cameras.   
Bob Novack   (Tour guide).


Observing Contests

40 - Dec Contest

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania is the home of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory, owned and operated by the AAAP is located northeast of Pittsburgh at 40o 37’ N. Latitude, 79o 48’ W. Longitude.  Probably more than 80% of our membership lives somewhere within the 40o N. Latitude strip.  However, many members live within the 39o or 41o N. Latitude bands as well.  Since the 40o N Latitude range is our organization’s home, we decided that it might be fun to offer an observing certificate for viewing 40 astronomical objects located near 40o declination.  We’ve even added a few objects from around -40o declination, as well.  In fact, we’ve included a range from +39o to +41o and a similar southern range to give us a few more "40 Dec" items to see.  You will need to view 40 of the 60 objects we’ve listed to receive the 40 Dec Award.  Some of these objects are easy to find, some are challenging.  Many are naked-eye objects but all should be available with even a small telescope on a dark, clear night.  Observing forms will be distributed from the Registration / Information Tent.  Submit completed logsheets at the Registration Tent Saturday at Noon.   Click here (40 Dec Contest) for a printable copy of the contest form. 

Messier Marathon

Charles Messier was a dedicated comet hunter during the 1700s.  He listed 109 objects that are "permanent" fixtures of the sky so that he didn't mistakenly identify them as comets.  Be the person who observes the most M-Objects during Star Cruise and win a prize.  A random drawing will be held in the event of a tie.  Observing forms will be distributed from the Registration / Information Tent.  Click here (Messier contest) for a printable copy of the logsheet.  Submit completed logsheets at the Registration Tent Saturday at Noon.
  Note: this year there will be two marathon categories: Star-Hopping, and GOTO / DSC.


Sketching Contest

Hosted by Larry McHenry , the Sketching Contest will give you the opportunity to show your stuff and possibly win a prize.  The purpose of this contest is to encourage LHSC participants to develop and enhance their observational skills.  Sketching requires that you take a few minutes to study the object you're viewing, to learn it's overall appearance; size, shape, and brightness.  Sketching also helps you become more proficient with the equipment you are using as you try various eyepieces, filters, and accessories in search of the best view of an object.  This will help you become a better observer and increase your enjoyment of the hobby.   Observing forms will be distributed from the Registration / Information Tent.   Click here for a printable copy of the Sketching Contest Entry Form.
Contest Rules:
1.   The contest is limited to realistic attempts to record actual
      "observed" astronomical objects or related sky phenomena.
2.   The contest period will be from sunset Wednesday, until Noon Saturday morning.
3.   Entries must be submitted to the Sketching Contest Chair no later
      than Noon Saturday at the Registration tent.  (multiple entries are allowed).
4.   Entries will be judged by the Sketching Contest Chair and AAAP officers.
5.   There will be one award, consisting of a sketching certificate, and a prize.
(There must be a minimum of 3 entries for the contest to be held)


Kite Flying

Unfurl your favorite flyer.   We will use a site set aside in the large Observing Field for kite flying.  Immediately following the Rocket Launch.  No, we're not going to shoot rockets at them!.   :(


Model Rocket Launch

Bring your model rockets.  There will be a site set aside in the large Observing Field for safe launching and (hopefully) easy recovery.  Saturday morning, see schedule for time.


Scope Clinic

Bring your scope and get assistance from experts in collimation, setting circles, etc.  The Scope Clinic will be held near the Speakers Tent.   Hosted by   Wade Barbin, Flacc Stifel .


Solar Observing in White and Hydrogen-A Light

View the Sun's photosphere and sunspots in white light and its chromosphere and prominences in Hydrogen Alpha light.  Learn what equipment to use and how to safely observe the Sun.  Hosted by Larry McHenry .


Swap Meet

A Swap Meet will be held near the Vendors Tent on Saturday.  Some tables will be available, but please plan on bringing your own table to display your merchandise.



A Vendors Tent will be provided, but vendors may choose to set-up their own pavilions near the Vendors Tent if they wish. 


C h i l d r e n    A c t i v i t i e s

(Children should be accompanied by a parent.)



Children's activity coordinator:  JoAnne Trees   Additional activity details to follow.

Kid Rockets

AstroKids will be assembling (sanding, gluing, decorating) an Estes Gnome Rocket for flight in the Rocket Launch scheduled for Saturday morning.  This rocket kit is very easy to assemble and is designed for young children, but can be enjoyed by any age level.  Rocket Safety will be discussed as will elementary rocket physics.

How far is it?

A fun and educational activity for children of all ages.  This project will demonstrate the relative size and distance between the planets.   Participants will interact as a group, constructing a scale model of the solar system.