CalStar '10

CalStar Areas, their Uses and Rules

CalStar is intended to accommodate many levels of star party experience, school groups, and people who want to view in a dark site, but would rather sleep in a hotel room instead of camp. We have always had the entire Overflow Area to ourselves, but this year we are going to make better use of it. Those that plan to be on the site during the entire night and those that don't will be physically separated.

CalStar is fortunate because the physical layout of the site allows us to separate different groups of guests. First a quick summary of the various areas and the areas intended use

Note: This year there will be no departures through the main entrance

Click on image for a full size view

Common Rules in All Areas

Road Closures

People come a long way to CalStar for uninterrupted viewing of objects they cannot see closer to home. One inconsiderate person leaving a dark enforced area in the middle of the night can cost many people 30 minutes or more of dark adaptation. Thus we close the road to the Casual and Dark Enforced areas from 8 PM until morning twilight. Any car within the area is prohibited from leaving. Any car outside may not enter.

Light Rules

The Rules on the use of light vary greatly from area to area. The light rules in the Dark Enforced Area allows observers to protect their night vision/images at the cost of convienience. Other areas add more flexibility, but sacrifice the assurance that your night vision is protected. Time is precious in a star party like this. One mistake can prevent someone from finding that elusive glob for 30 minutes or more.

By the way for those planning visual observing here are some other nuggets to chew on:

Affect of Bright Light During the Day "Exposure to intense sunlight for two to five hours causes a definite decrease in visual sensitivity, which can persist for as long as five hours. ... At the same time, the rate of dark adaptation and the degree of night vision capability will be decreased. Since these effects are cumulative and may persist for several days, military neutral density (N-15) sunglasses or equivalent filter lenses should be used in bright sunlight when night operations are anticipated."

Smoking and Alcohol


General Info on Night Vision

Detailed Rules

Road Access Light Rules Recommended Use

Dark Enforced Area


 Road Closed 8 PM

No White Light from any source (flashlights, car lights) in tents or outside.Only Dim Red lights.There must be no direct or reflected white light visible from computers, or the computer must have sufficient red plastic over the screen without light-leak to assure it is unobtrusive.

Experienced Observers who are familiar with their equipment and have attended star parties before

Tends to be rather dense with people and equipment.

Casual Area


 Road Closed 8 PM

Avoid White Light sources that might be visible from dark area. No white flashlight use outside. Make sure your car courtesy lights are off.

Use dim Red Flashes to walk around

Make sure your laptop is not too bright for your neighbors and does not shine in dark area

Observers that want a more casual experience.People that have not attended a multi day star party. RVs (they tend to have problems with the light rules)

School groups (individuals are welcome to visit other areas following light rules)

Groups with small children

Observers wanting more space/privacy than available in more congested areas

Late Arrival/ Early Departure Area

Be considerate and try to avoid headlight use.Caution: roads less watered. More prone to cause dust.

Be considerate of other observers. Try to use dim red instead of white lights

No camping lanterns

Observers wanting to leave early,

Observers arriving after 8 PM. If you wanted to be in a restricted area then move during daylight

rjh 8/25/08