Registration Information (new details for 2017 - please read) and
FAQ about registration and cancellations (separate page opens in new window)
Each year, since 1993, the Astronomical Society of New South Wales has hosted the now famous South Pacific Star Party (SPSP), at its 107 acre (43 hectare) country property Wiruna near Ilford, NSW, between Lithgow and Mudgee, about 3 hours north-west of Sydney, through the Blue Mountains and into the NSW Central Tablelands.
The South Pacific Star Party provides amateurs with the chance to meet other amateur and professional astronomers, and observe under dark skies with superb seeing conditions, through all types and sizes of telescopes.
"Among the eucalyptus woodlands in New South Wales, Australia, there is 100 acres of land [Wiruna] designated for stargazing. Owned by a local astronomy society [the ASNSW], the land has both observation facilities and basic accommodations, though most prefer to camp. Each year, the society hosts a "South Pacific Star Party" during which 200 to 400 people convene for a weekend of star watching beneath one of the world's darkest skies." --Forbes.com, 18 June 2008.
In 2017, a major change to the organisation of the Star Party is that participants MUST register in advance. If you are not sure if you may have to work, please register anyway. If you are not sure if the weather is going to be good, please register anyway. If it turns out that you have to work, and you cancel before the registration cut-off date, you can get a full refund by contacting the Treasurer. If you are fussy about the weather, no refunds, as the event offers fantastic value no matter what the weather conditions are like.
Registration entitles you to take part in the voting for the Astroimaging Competition and to enter you name in the Lucky Prize Draw. Registrations normally open in February, when the online registration page is ready, and close a few weeks before the start of the event to allow time to get the T-shirts printed. The registration fee covers everything from one overnight stay to the full weekend. There are NO DISCOUNTS for short visits. SPSP T-shirts may be ordered in advance with registration but, if registering in the last few weeks before the star party, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to fill your order. If your pre-ordered T-shirt(s) cannot be supplied, you will receive a refund at the star party.
Yes, you need to register by the due date. It is easiest to register online but, if this is not possible, you can phone or email the Treasurer who can handle your registration manually.
Family registration: A "family" consists of up to three related adults and any number of related children. Extra adults and friends of the family should register separately.
Kids' Ages: We ask you to enter the ages of your children for two reasons - one is for the kids' workshop activity and the other is to make sure that they go into the Kids' Lucky Prize Draw. Yes, the kids have their own draw, with pretty good odds of winning (usually) a 6" Dobsonian telescope!
Member Discount: You do not need to be a member to attend the star party but you will pay a little more. A discount of $25 applies for a member registration. If you are a member and you are logged in when you register, the $25 discount will apply to your individual or family registration. Your family members do not need to be ASNSW members.
Confirmation of your Registration: If you pay online when you register and your payment is processed correctly, you will receive a confirmation email (receipt) from the ASNSW system as well as an email from PayPal. If you do not receive these emails within a few minutes of registering, it means that you did not complete the registration process and no payment was made. See important notes about completing the process for "Family Registrations" on the Registration Page. If you choose to "Pay Later", you will receive a confirmation emailed invoice from the ASNSW system - this email will provide details that you will need to make a payment.
The Star Party is the venue for the ASNSW Astroimaging Competition, which continues to make it one of the premier competitions amongst Amateur Astroimagers.
Recognition for excellence and innovation is given to Telescope Makers and Software Developers in the form of merit awards. More information about this showcase will be provided in the registration kit.
This competition is new in 2017. The theme is "What does Astronomy Mean to You?" Open to kids up to age 17, the entry can be a written work (up to one A4 page), painting, drawing or related medium (up to A3 size), or sculpture (up to 10kg weight). The entrant must attend the star party but entries may be prepared beforehand. The prize is a meteorite donated by Gondwana Telescopes!! A flier can be downloaded HERE.
Each year, members are asked to submit designs for the year's T-shirts. The winner receives free SPSP registration. Start designing now for the next star party. Designs should:
Send entries to The Committee before 31st March.
Here are some examples from previous years:
In honour of his memory of Scott Mellish, the ASNSW proudly announced the inaugural Scott Mellish Amateur Sketching or Drawing Competition in 2012. This competition was held at the South Pacific Star Party in 2012 and 2013, but hasn't run since. It aimed to promote the art of Sketching and Drawing within the world-wide amateur astronomical community. If you are enthusiastic to see it run this year, please email The Committee.
Each participant, over the age of seven, who has registered in advance will receive a ticket in the Lucky Prize Draw. Remember, there will be no on-site registrations, so that means everyone will get a ticket. Tickets must be handed in upon entry to the meeting hall for the draw and winners must be present in the hall to claim their prizes.
There is a separate draw for kids (ages 8 to 18). The major prize in the kids' draw is usually a 6" Dobsonian telescope.
Lucky Prize Draw tickets are colour-coded for adults and kids.
There is space available for camping and caravans. Barbecues and firewood are provided on site. Hot showers and flush toilets are available in the Ladies and Gents amenities blocks. Great hot food (breakfast, burgers, coffee, etc.) is available for purchase at the SPSP from the 1st Kandos Scouts who set up in the Pavilion. The prices are reasonable and this is a very convenient way to enjoy the SPSP. Other general supplies are available from Kandos, Rylstone, Lithgow and Mudgee. The Meeting Hall is used for talks and the Lucky Prize Draw, as well as for the Saturday night roast dinner and the vendor stalls. The bush kitchen, where you can use the gas stoves, barbecue and pizza oven for food preparation, was doubled in size in 2015. A covered recharging station was also set up in 2015, adjacent to the Meeting Hall.
The limited on-site accommodation in the "Bunkhouse" is reserved for guest speakers and their families. Overall participant numbers are generally limited so that participants do not have to face excessive queues for showers and toilets, do not run out of water and are able to participate in all activities in comfort.
For those looking at a more civilized style of accomodation, the nearest Motel is at Kandos, about 25km from the site, or cabins at Cherry Tree Hill about 10 minutes drive away, or at Wattle Flat about 20 minutes drive towards Bathurst via Sofala. A list of off-site accommodation options is also available.
The Star Party typically includes formal daytime workshops, as well as formal and informal lectures, while evening events include observing, socialising, and sky tours (naked eye and with telescopes) for those of you who are not so familiar with the stellar skyscape, or if you just want to find some of the more obscure objects in the sky. Other attendees are usually more than happy to let you look through their telescopes as well. You do not need to bring a telescope.
Due to the exceptionally dark skies at Wiruna, a Light Use Policy has been put in place when observing on the Main Observing Field at Wiruna to preserve the night-vision or dark-adaption of other observers.
Wiruna is also a bird-watcher's and nature-lover's paradise, with an abundance of colourful native Australian birds and occasional possums, wombats and kangaroos. There are about 60 acres of bush on the property for those who like bushwalking.
The Anglo-Australian Observatory at Siding Spring is three hours' drive north of Ilford for those who wish to make a day trip.
Each month, over the weekend nearest new moon, the ASNSW holds an Astrocamp (mini star party), which usually attracts between 20 - 40 members, and several non-members, and locals. Prospective visitors who are unable to attend the South Pacific Star Party are welcome to join us on any of these weekends. If you would like to join us one weekend, feel free to Email us to make arrangements.
While Wiruna gives you some of the best, easily accessible night skies in the southern hemisphere, it is also the perfect base for a little regional tourism during daylight hours.
We would like to thank our generous sponsors who have donated door prizes in recent years:
|SPSP1||May 21 - 24, 1993||SPSP14||March 31 - April 2, 2006|
|SPSP2||May 6 - 9, 1994||SPSP15||April 13 - 15, 2007|
|SPSP3||May 26 - 29, 1995||SPSP16||April 4 - 6, 2008|
|SPSP4||May 17 - 20, 1996||SPSP17||May 22 - 24, 2009|
|SPSP5||May 9 - 12, 1997||SPSP18||May 14 - 16, 2010|
|SPSP6||March 27 - 30, 1998||SPSP19||April 1 - 3, 2011|
|SPSP7||March 19 - 22, 1999||SPSP20||April 19 - 22, 2012 (attendance 206)|
|SPSP8||March 30 - April 2, 2000||SPSP21||May 9 - 12, 2013 (attendance 215)|
|SPSP9||March 23 - 26, 2001||SPSP22||May 22 - 25, 2014 (attendance 262)|
|SPSP10||March 15 - 17, 2002||SPSP23||May 14 - 17, 2015 (attendance 310)|
|SPSP11||March 28 - 30, 2003||SPSP24||May 5 - 8, 2016 (attendance 321)|
|SPSP12||March 19 - 21, 2004||SPSP25||May 25 - 28, 2017|
|SPSP13||March 11 - 13, 2005||SPSP ...|