Countdown Underway – Last-Minute Updates for TMSP 2017

We’re less than a week away from TMSP 2017 at Eden Valley and there are a few items worthy of mentioning before all the TMSPA Directors head to the site.

On-Site Registration: Yep, we’ve got room for you! If you waited too long to pre-register or wanted to wait for the weather forecasts to be favorable, you can come join us. Big rigs and RV’s arriving later in the week are going to be getting the best of whatever spots are available so bring extra blocking to level your rig. Car/tent campers will have a decent selection of sites.

Arrival Times: Please plan your travel to arrive between 9am and 8pm. We can be kinda grumpy outside those hours if you try pulling in… just sayin’.

Travel Routes: Construction is underway on both I-90 and Hwy 2 and could cause delays. The delays on Hwy 2 may be worse as they are repaving sections of the road in the Startup-Goldbar area. The I-90 construction will have lane closures in the usual area around Lake Keechelus. You can find info about the construction on the WSDOT website.

Weather: Well, this is Washington after all!! Forecasts a week out are equal parts educated guesses and reading tea leaves… That said, the current long-range forecasts are calling for good conditions with highs in the 80’s and lows hovering around 50. Eden Valley is usually about 7-10 degrees cooler than Oroville, which is where most weather services reference for the area.

Connectivity: For those of you who just can’t be unplugged from the rest of the world, we are planning on offering WiFi service again this year. Check at the Registration Booth for info and to purchase your daily device access code. (Restrictions will apply to bandwidth usage and abuse of service will result in your being locked out. So no streaming Netflix or Hulu!!)

See you at Eden Valley!

Cabin Availability, Special Telescope Building Program Project

All the Eden Valley Guest Ranch Cabins have been booked for TMSP 2017. We will take requests to be wait-listed in the event of cancellations.

We also have an announcement for a Special Project for the Telescope Building Program this year: build your own solar projection adapter for your telescope to safely observe the sun, in anticipation of the total solar eclipse in August.

Details are on the TMSPA website. Check it out!

– The TMSPA Staff

Well, that was embarrassing!

The link button to the Online Registration page is working. Like it should have.

I swear, it was the same button, the same link, the same code, that I’ve used for several years to link over to the Online Registration site. And for reasons only known to the gremlins that scramble up the Internet electrons, it decided not to work after posting up the pages to open registration last night. And as the fates would have it, I was fully booked today (Saturday) and nowhere near a computer to find and fix the problem.

It’s all behind us now.

For those that were inconvenienced and/or befuddled by my “Nah, it’s always worked. Don’t need to check it.” faux pas, I extend my sincere apology.

-Your TMSPA Webmaster

Registration for TMSP 2017 has begun!

Registration for the 2017 Table Mountain Star Party at Eden Valley Ranch is now open!

Reminder: the dates are July 18th to July 23rd

Everything you need to know for registration, including the availability of Guest Cabins, meal menus and Speaker Programs and Presentations is on the TMSPA website. In the next few days, we’ll also be announcing the the details for the addition of a Solar Projection Kit** to the Telescope Making Program this year. Stay tuned for updates!

(**The kit will be sold separately from registrations, so no need to hold off registering waiting for information to be released.)

The TMSPA Directors look forward to seeing you all at Eden Valley in July!

-The TMSPA Staff

Gearing Up and Getting Ready!

The TMSP Directors are at work behind the scenes getting ready for this year. Some new info was just posted to regarding the menus for pre-ordered meals, additional programs and presentations being developed, and about the rental availability of the Eden Valley Guest Cabins. Make sure you check it out!

And, don’t forget:

Registration for TMSP 2017 opens on April 1st!

Looking forward to seeing you all at Eden Valley this year!

-The TMSPA Staff

TMSP 2017 Date Reminder

Mark Your Calendars and Save the Date!

Tuesday, July 18th through Saturday, July 23rd, 2017

In anticipation of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse that will be visible here in the continental US, the TMSPA Directors are pleased to announce the dates of July 18-23 for the 2017 Table Mountain Star Party. We’ll be one month before the eclipse so that you get the opportunity to take part in both events this year.

Registration for TMSP 2017 will open April 1st, 2017.

Please check the TMSPA Website for information as it is updated.

We look forward to seeing you in 2017!

-The TMSPA Staff

2017 Practical Astronomy Presentations

We’re excited that we have a Sneak Peek of some of the topics that will be presented as part of our Practical Astronomy Presentations series in 2017. This program has grown out of involvement of some of our long-time attendees in putting together presentations covering a variety of topics on some of the practicalities of being an amateur astronomer. Previous presentations included collimating your telescope, developing your sketching skills at the eyepiece, and practical star-hopping methods.

Topics on the schedule for TMSP 2017 include:

  • The 2017 Solar Eclipse by Cliff Mygatt
  • Drawing Nebulae by Mark Simonson
  • Cleaning Optics by Cliff Mygatt
  • Urban Observing by Bob Scott
  • Observing programs of the Astronomical League by Mark Simonson

We’ll post more information on the presentation as we close in on the 2017 event, so make sure to check the TMSPA website for updates.

-The TMSPA Staff

TMSP and Table Mountain in the News

Now that TMSP 2013 is behind us, we’ve found a few bits of TMSP news circulating in the press:

Okanogan Gazette-Tribune

Brent Baker, writing for the Gazette-Tribune, stopped by Eden Valley on Saturday during the event and interviewed Chairman Thom Jenkins as well as Eden Valley owners Pat and Robin Stice. Great article – worth reading! Also features the lightning picture taken by our own Zach Drew. You can read Brent’s article here.

The Seattle Times

Lynda Mapes of the Times has a blog post regarding the impact of the Table Mountain Fire and how it impacted use of the area by TMSPA. Of special note in the article are the comments from Ranger Judy Hallisey about the concerns of the Forest Service with use of the area. Also, the third photo down in the article shows the tree line at the south end of the telescope field adjacent to the pit toilet and how many areas burned.

Both articles are also linked on the TMSPA Homepage.

-The TMSPA Staff

A message from the Directors regarding the 2013 Table Mountain Star Party & the Table Mountain Complex Fire

To our friends and family of Table Mountain Star Party,

while the burn areas of Table Mountain remain closed to the public, TMSPA was granted access to the site with our Forest Service Ranger to survey the impact of the burn from the Table Mountain Complex Fire. What we found was that the fire was rather capricious. The area of the main telescope field was almost completely untouched, including the trees at the north side of the field, while other areas had moderate or major burn damage as you can see in the pictures below.


(Images: top – looking north from the intersection at the Registration Tent; bottom – trees on the west side of the road across from the corral.
Click on image for full-size view, opens in your web browser)

After in-depth discussions with our Forest Service representative, the consensus we have reached is that we will not know whether the site will even be available for use under a Special Use Permit until well into next year. Furthermore, after examining the site, the TMSPA Directors have determined that it would not be in the best interests of our attendees, the mission of the Association, and especially the recovery of Table Mountain, to hold our event there in 2013. The Directors are clear and in unanimous agreement that the Table Mountain Star Party is not defined by the location. It is the attendees – our friends and “mountain families” – and our goal to provide a top-notch star party experience to them that is our purpose.

Therefore, the Directors have determined to relocate TMSP 2013 to an alternate location. We had seen this outcome as a possibility and have acted accordingly. The search for an alternate location is already underway, and we are investigating and evaluating many different locations. We have also become aware of rumors suggesting that a site has already been selected, and we flatly refute any suggestion that such a decision has been made. We ask that you do not inflame the situation by propogating such rumors or adding to the speculation that already exists. The Directors have set a deadline in January for when the possible alternate sites will be discussed and selected by vote of the TMSPA Board of Directors.

We are facing an unknown period of uncertainty regarding the use of Table Mountain and how moving to an alternate site in 2013 will impact all of us. We believe that we have to treat the current situation on a year-to-year basis. We will continue working with the goal of returning to our site on Table Mountain as soon as we practicably can do so.

We are preparing a short online survey that will be sent out to our attendees from the past three events, as well as a survey open to the public, as a means of learning from our attendee base what aspects of attending a Star Party are of importance to them. We will use the data from the surveys to aid us in the alternate site evaluation process.

At such time that any information or announcements need to be made, they will be issued through our website, the TMSPA Weblog and our Facebook page.

We would like to thank you for your patience and continued support.

The TMSPA Board of Directors