History of The Annual South Pacific Star Party



The First Annual South Pacific Star Party
21 - 24 May, 1993

Attendance: Over 200 people
Telescopes: More than 100 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 20"
 
Guest Speakers: Richard Berry: CCD Cameras
Thane Bopp: Boppian Telescopes
Dave Kriege: Obsession Telescopes
 
Other Activities: A successful radio link up with the Texas Star Party was maintained during the Star Party, allowing local amateurs to communicate "live" with other amateurs in Texas, as well as sending and receiving images.






The Second Annual South Pacific Star Party
6 - 9 May, 1994

Attendance: Over 170 people
Telescopes: More than 90 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 20"
 
Guest Speakers: Steve Lee (AAO): Life at the AAO
Greg Bryant (ASNSW): Expectations for the [then] upcoming comet crash
Graham Loftus (NZ): Large, thin mirrors as well as 129ft focal length solar telescope
 
Other Activities: A successful radio link up with Texas Star Party was established and maintained
An on-site FM "Radio Wiruna" broadcast had interviews of some of the SPSP Attendees
The first sacrificial burning of a telescope as an offering to the rain gods - yielded 5 clear nights






The Third Annual South Pacific Star Party
26 - 29 May, 1995

Attendance: Over 200 people
Telescopes: More than 115 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 20"
 
Guest Speakers: Jeff Fell (HAA):
David Malin (AAO): AstroPhotography
Mark Suchting (ASNSW & CSIRO):
 
ATM Winners: Peter Skye - "Antares" - 13.1" Dobsonian Telescope
Scott Mellish - "The Coffin" - 16" f/4.7 Dobsonian Telescope
 
Other Activities: The first attempt at a launch of an amateur space telescope
Rocket Exhibition, by Mike Smith
Once again, a sacrificial offering to the rain God was made







The Fourth Annual South Pacific Star Party
17 - 20 May, 1996

Attendance: Over 190 people
Telescopes: More than 80 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 20"
 
Guest Speakers: Tracy Getts (AT): Galaxies
Greg Bryant (ASNSW): Comet Hyakutake, Comet Hale-Bopp, etc...
Ron Ravneberg (USA): Life, The Universe, and Everything - USA Style
 
Other Activities: Amateur Telescope Makers (ATM) Awards
Collimation and Mirror Cleaning Demonstrations
Sky Tours with 17.5" and 20" Telescopes.








The Fifth Annual South Pacific Star Party
9 - 12 May, 1997

Attendance: Over 265 people
Telescopes: More than 100 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 20"
 
Guest Speakers: Peter Williams: Variable Stars
Greg Bryant (ASNSW): Tonight's Comets
Bill Bradfield: Noted Comet Hunter, speaking on Comet Searching
Andrew Murrell (ASNSW): Interesting objects to observe at the Star Party
Rev. Robert Evans (ASNSW): Noted Supernova Hunter, speaking on Supernova Searching
 
ASNSW Awards: The McNiven Medal: Bob Evans - For His Excellent and Successful Work in Supernova Hunting
The Southern Cross Award: Greg Bryant - For His Work in the Society since the late 1980's
The Crago Award: Lachlan MacDonald - For His Work on the Society's Web Site
 
ATM Awards: Bob Parsons (ASV) - For His 12" f/5 Dobsonian Telescope
Brett White (WSAAG) - For His Binocular Mount
Ken Charlwood (HAS) - For His Optimised GEM Newtonian
Norm Pappis (SEQAS) - For His 25" f/4 Dob on Poncet Platform
David Hall (ASNSW) - For His Innovations and Construction of his 12.5" Dobsonian Telescope
Chris Ross (ASNSW) - For Extensive Modifications to a commercial telescope (8" Meade SCT)
 
Other Activities: Radio Contact and Image Transfers with the Texas Star Party
Fiery Telescope Sacrifice
Sky Tours with 17.5" and 20" Dobsonian Telescopes
Comet Hale-Bopp Visible
Vendor Displays and Swap Meet
Trivia Quiz
The Great Spit Roast





The Sixth Annual South Pacific Star Party
27 - 30 March, 1998

Attendance: Over 280 people
Telescopes: More than 85 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 20"
 
Guest Speakers: Greg Bryant (ASNSW): Tonight's Comets
John Morieson: The Night Sky of the Boorong
Andrew Murrell (ASNSW): Tonight's Observing Suggestions
Dr. Vince Ford: The History of the Great Melbourne Telescope
Rob McNaught (AAO): The coming of the Leonid Meteor Showers of 1998 / 1999
 
ATM Awards: Ken Charlwood - Innovative Use of Recycled Materials
Greg Nielson - Home-Made Crayford Design focusser
Geoff Zenner - Excellent Construction of his Dobsonian
Jeff Dudley - Exceptional Workmanship of his First Telescope
Kevin Dixon - Exceptional Workmanship of his First Telescope
Ben Coutts & David Hall - Good Construction of their Telescope
George Livanos - For Building a Dobsonian in the "True" Dobsonian Fashion
 
Other Activities: Fiery Telescope Sacrifice
Sky Tours with 17.5" and 20" Dobsonian Telescopes
Vendor Displays and Swap Meet
Trivia Quiz
The Great Spit Roast
Local Winery Tours
Wollemi National Park Tours





The Seventh Annual South Pacific Star Party
19 - 22 March, 1999

Attendance: Over 300 people
Telescopes: More than 100 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 22"
 
Guest Speakers: Mati Morel: Magellanic Cloud Observing Charts
Ron Ravneberg (USA):
Greg Bryant (ASNSW): Tonight's Comets, and the Solar System
Andrew Murrell (ASNSW): Challenging Deep-Sky Objects to Observe at SPSP
Prof. Jeremy Mould: How fast is the Universe Expanding?
 
ATM Winners: Zoran Strugar - For Scientific Detail
Dave Gault - For Workmanship and Creative Design
Michael Davidson - For Best Use of Recycled Components
Jos Roberts - For Workmanship and Detail
Mick McCullagh - For Total Conception and Refinement of Construction
Alan Giles - For Conception and Refinement of Construction
Yasuke Katayama - For Unusual Adaption of a Binocular Finder
 
Other Activities: Fiery Telescope Sacrifice
Sky Tours with 17.5" and 20" Dobsonian Telescopes
Vendor Displays and Swap Meet
Trivia Quiz
The Great Spit Roast
Local Winery Tours
Wollemi National Park Tours





The Eighth Annual South Pacific Star Party
30 March - 2 April, 2000

Attendance: Over 400 people
Telescopes: More than 120 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 20"
 
Guest Speakers: Jane Houston Jones (ASNSW):
Greg Bryant (ASNSW): Tonight's Comets
George Greaney (USA): Astro Photography
Dr. Vince Ford (AAO):
Morris Jones (ASNSW):
 
Door Prizes: Debbie Whitford - Optrex 6" f/8 Telescope, donated by Tasco Sales in Sydney ($1,000)
Catrina England - Scanner 7x50 wide field 8° binoculars, donated by the Binocular and Telescope Service Centre in Melbourne ($350)
Marylou Wright - Skypro 6.0 Astronomical Software ($160)
Karen England - Sky Atlas Field Edition, donated by the Binocular and Telescope Shop in Sydney ($110)
Steven Kind - $100 Shopping Voucher, donated by York Optical in Sydney ($100)
Amanda Nelson - Herald-Bobroff AstroAtlas, donated by Peter Bobroff ($80)
Racquel Graha - Annual subscription to both Sky & Space Magazine and Southern Astrononmy Magazine, donated by Sky & Space Shop in Bondi Junction ($45)
Allesandro Spina - Framed David Malin Colour Photo, donated by Sky & Space Shop in Bondi Jnctn ($40)
Guy Courreges - Scientific American Space Visions Diary, donated by BinTel in Sydney ($20)
 
Other Activities:
  • Fiery Telescope sacrifice
  • Sky Tours with 17.5" and 20" Dobsonian Telescopes
  • Astronomy Bazaar: Vendor Displays and Swap Meet
  • Trivia Quiz
  • The Great Spit Roast
  • Local Winery Tours
  • Wollemi National Park Tours
  • "Star Stories" for the Junior Astronomers
  •  





    The Ninth Annual South Pacific Star Party
    23 - 26 March, 2001

    Attendance: Over 380 people
    Telescopes: More than 100 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 20"
     
    Guest Speakers:
  • Dr. Fred Watson (AAO): Cosmic Controversies
  • Gordon Garradd (ASNSW): Well known Australian amateur astronomer and Berenice Page Medal winner
  • Dr. Miriam Baltuck (NASA): NASA's plans for Mars Exploration
  • Richard Jaworski (ASNSW): Double Stars
  • Ted Dobosz (ASNSW & WSAAG): CCD Astronomy
  •  
    Other Activities:
  • Sky Tours with 17.5" and 20" Dobsonian Telescopes
  • Astronomy Bazaar: Vendor Displays and Swap Meet
  • Trivia Quiz
  • The Great Spit Roast
  • Local Winery Tours
  • Wollemi National Park Tours
  • "Star Stories" for the Junior Astronomers
  •  
    Door Prizes:
  • MEADE 8" LX90 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope ($5000)
  •  





    The Tenth Annual South Pacific Star Party
    15 - 17 March, 2002

    Attendance: Over 400 people
    Telescopes: More than 130 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 36"
     
    Guest Speakers:
  • Peter Bobroff (CAS): Herald-Bobroff Astro-Atlas
  • Les Dalrymple (SASI): Astronomical highlights visible at the Star Party
  • Rick Twardy (Parkes Radio Telescope): A Quirky View of the Parkes Radio Telescope
  • David Reneke (Port Macquarie Observatory): Introductory Astronomy - for juniors
  •  
    Other Activities:
  • Sky Tours with 17.5" and 20" Dobsonian Telescopes
  • Astronomy Bazaar: Vendor Displays and Swap Meet
  • Trivia Quiz
  • The Great Spit Roast
  • Local Winery Tours
  • Wollemi National Park Tours
  • "Star Stories" for the Junior Astronomers





  • The Eleventh Annual South Pacific Star Party
    28 - 30 March, 2003

    Attendance: Over 400 people
    Telescopes: More than 130 Telescopes ranging in size from 60mm up to 25"
     
    Guest Speakers:
  • Gary Kopff (Wildcard Innovations & ASNSW): "The Argo Navis Digital Telescope Computer"
  • Richard Heggie (ASNSW): "Digital Cameras Are Cool (But Not Cooled!)"
  • Andrew Murrell (ASNSW): "Deep Sky Observing at SPSP"
  • Monte Wilson (ASNSW): "Wide-Field Astro Photography Using Conventional Film"
  • David Reneke (Pt Macquarie Obs): "Come With Us On An Exciting Visual Tour Of The Universe"
  •  
    Other Activities:
  • Sky Tours with 17.5" and 20" Dobsonian Telescopes
  • Astronomy Bazaar: Vendor Displays and Swap Meet
  • Trivia Quiz
  • The Great Spit Roast
  • Local Winery Tours
  • Wollemi National Park Tours
  • Astrophotography Gallery & Competition
  • "Star Stories" for the Junior Astronomers





  • The Twelfth Annual South Pacific Star Party
    19 - 21 March, 2004

    Attendance: 305 people (316 Registered)
    Telescopes: 60mm Refractors - 36" Dobsonian
    Temperature Range: 11°C - 26°C
     
    Guest Speakers:
  • Dr Wayne Orchiston – ATNF, AAO: "Sentinels Of Our Southern Skies"
  • Les Dalrymple - SASI, Editor Sky & Space Magazine: "…Arking The Sky"
  • Dr. John O’Byrne - University Of Sydney , ASA: "Adaptive Optics (Finally) Coming Of Age"
  •  
    Other Activities:
  • Sky Tours with 10", 17.5" and 20" Dobsonian Telescopes
  • Astronomy Bazaar: Vendor Displays and Swap Meet
  • The Great Spit Roast
  • Astrophotography Gallery & Competition
  • "Star Stories" for the Junior Astronomers
  •  
    Door Prizes:
  • 8" LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (Meade Instrument Corporation)
  • 8" 202SE Dobsonian Telescope (Binocular and Telescope Shop)
  • Celestron 20x80 Binoculars (York Optical)
  • Celestron 10x50 Binoculars (York Optical)
  • 6" Bushnell Dobsonian Telescope (Astronomy Online)
  • Celestron 25mm SMA Eyepiece (Astronomy Online)
  • Book (Astronomy Online)
  • 2" Light Pollution Filter (Binocular and Telescope Service Centre)
  • Tasco 35mm Eyepiece (Tasco)
  • Tasco 28mm Eyepiece (Tasco)
  • Tasco 15mm Eyepiece (Tasco)
  • Argo Navis Digital Telescope Computer (Wildcard Innovations)
  • Book (Allen & Unwin)
  • SkyMap Pro Software (The Thompson Partnership)
  • SkyMap Lite Software (The Thompson Partnership)
  • Soft case (JMI)
  • Star Party pack (Sydney Observatory)
  • Astronomy T-shirt (Sky Global)
  • Gift certificate (Bob's Knobs)
  • Family Pass (Canberra Space Dome)





  • The Thirteenth Annual South Pacific Star Party
    11 - 13 March, 2005

    Attendance: 317 people (325 Registered)
    Telescopes: 115 in total ranging in size from 2.3"(60mm) refractors up to 32"(812mm) Dobsonians
    Temperature Range: 7°C - 28°C
     
    Guest Speakers:
  • Alan Dyer - Contributing Editor, Sky & Telescope Magazine: "Northern Sky Sights: Stars Of The Northern Hemisphere"
  • Chris Venter - Astronomical Society of Victoria: "Astrophotography and Digital Astroimaging in The ASV"
  •  
    Other Activities:
  • Sky Tours with 10", 17.5" and 20" Dobsonian Telescopes
  • Astronomy Bazaar: Vendor Displays and Swap Meet
  • The Great Spit Roast
  • Astrophotography Gallery & Competition
  •  
    Door Prizes:
  • 8" LXD75 Schmidt-Newtonian telescope (Meade Instruments Corporation)
  • 2 x Deep Sky Imager (Meade Instruments Corporation)
  • Orion 80mm ED refractor OTA (The Binocular and Telescope Shop)
  • Argo Navis Digital Telescope Computer (Wildcard Innovations)
  • Argo Navis 50% discount voucher (Wildcard Innovations)
  • Celestron 76mm Tabletop reflector (York Optical)
  • 3 x Celestron 10x50 binoculars (York Optical)
  • Celestron Eyepiece Kit (York Optical)
  • 2 x AS&T subscription, shirt, Starwheel (Australian Sky & Telescope)
  • 9 x Leatherman Multi-tool (Australian Sky & Telescope)
  • 2-day Holiday Package (Chillagoe Observatory and Eco Lodge)
  • NGC Pictorial Guide (Karl Kirk)
  • 2" Light Pollution Filter (Binocular and Telescope Service Centre)
  • SAC IVB webcam kit (Binocular and Telescope Service Centre)
  • Rigel Quickfinder (Binocular and Telescope Service Centre)
  • STAR Atlas:Pro Advanced Software (SKY:Lab Astronomy Software)
  • Bushnell 114mm Voyager reflector (Tasco)
  • 2 x Tasco 10x50 binoculars (Tasco)
  • 3 x Astronomy T-shirt (Sky Global)
  • 2 x Optex photographic tripod (Astronomy Online)
  • 3 x Windcheater (Astronomy Online)
  • Red light torch (Astronomy Online)
  • US$25 discount voucher (JMI)
  • 2 x Family Pass & Book(Sydney Observatory)
  • Book, Hat (Sydney Observatory)
  • Hand-painted T-shirt (Rebecca Defina)
  • $200 Bintel gift voucher (Quasar Publishing)