Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

This is where you will find information and updates for all MAS Star Parties and Events open to the public.

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clayton
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Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by clayton »

Hello MAS Members! We are in need of 5 or more members with telescopes for an offsite outreach event June 17, 2023, at the Franconia Sculpture Park. The park is located to the Northeast less than 1 hour from downtown St. Paul but has Bortle 4 skies which is comparable to ELO. The event will be causal observing and outreach after the Park’s daytime events end. It is their Midsummer/Summer Solstice performance festival . The daytime events can draw 2000 plus visitors throughout the day, but they estimate 50 to 100 people may stay for the star party. All MAS member available to participate are welcome.

The site has a nice flat grassy field with easy access and good horizons. It’s an easy drive for members on the North and East side of the Twin Cities. If you come early you may like to visit the 50-acre park and participate in the ongoing day time activities.

12:00am is the publicized end time but we’ll probably be able to push that a little if we are having good skies.

This is a weather dependent event.

Location

If you are able to attend pleas contact me at claytonlindsey@comcast.net. I'll coordinate and share more details.
Clayton Lindsey
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clayton
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by clayton »

June 17 is fast approaching and I would like to start firming up volunteer plans for this event. If you are intending to participate please drop me an email.

The sky June 17:
Sunset is 9:02 pm with Astronomical Twilight ending at 11:35 pm.
Venus will be on the Western horizon at magnitude -4.4 showing a 27.9" disk 41.4% illuminated. Five degrees away will be tiny 4.4" Mars shining at a respectable magnitude of +1.7. With Leo setting in the West, Hercules and Bootes high in the sky and the Milkyway rising there's a wealth of potential targets. The Milky way makes it decently high in the sky by midnight and continues to rise higher as night passes.
Targets could include: M31, M13 , M33, the double cluster, M81, C 38 ( Needle Galaxy), M63, M64; all the summer classics. Plenty of eye candy to show and share.
Clayton Lindsey
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defalkner
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by defalkner »

Hi Clayton. I am planning on attending and bringing my C8.
Clear skies!
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SEmert
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by SEmert »

I plan to be there too. Probably bring my Dob and my C8.
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by TrenaJ »

I will be there as well. DOB unless you think the 6in will be better for field space.
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clayton
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by clayton »

Update for Volunteers:

Current Volunteer Commitments [ equipment if known] :
• Valts Treibergs
• Trena Johnson [ Dob ]
• Steve Emert [Dob and C8, Solar white light]
• Mark Connolly
• Dave Johnson [“Scopes”, Solar Lunt H-alpha]
• Dave Falkner [C8]
• Dan Meyer [ 6” with solar filter white light]
• Clayton Lindsey [ Dob , PST H-alpha Solar, Big Binoculars]

I visited the Franconia Sculpture Park on Friday June 9 to check the site and gather more information.

Park opens at 8:00 a.m., Franconia special events run 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., solar observing from 5:00 p.m. to Sunset, and nighttime observing 10:00 p.m. to midnight.

If its super cloudy that day we will cancel the viewing. We’ll have to watch the weather as we near the date.

Expect mostly adults with a few kids early. By 10:00pm it will likely be mostly adults.

MAS will setup on the Southwest side of the park, away from lights of common area and a small bonfire. There’s likely to be some small local light pollution but trees will hopefully block most of it. One or two of the sculptures may have lights. None near us I believe.

When you arrive you may be met by a parking attendant. Mention you are with the MAS and there is no parking fee. If you are the first to arrive, check in at the Visitor Center.

I will be there around 4:30 p.m. The site contact is Jo Sullivan if questions arise while onsite and I cannot be reached.

You can drive along the South service road from the East to West to unload. It would be best to arrive prior to dusk to navigate this road. We can unload at the viewing field but should park in the regular parking area. Give yourself time to unload, setup and park.


We will set up starting beside the Sculpture installation “Sometimes Clouds Come Back this Way” by Nancy Nowacek. It’s a 32 foot diameter concrete sculpture. https://www.nancynowacek.com/sometimes-the-clouds

We can expand eastward as needed. The field is grass and will be mowed short for the event.

We can have a shade or bug tent if we need one. We can bring food, snacks, water, and have a cooler and chairs.

Drinking water and public bathrooms are available at the visitor center. We may be able to get golf cart rides occasionally to the visitor center.

City Swine Circus food truck will be on site during the festival.

Note MN Hwy 95 / St. Croix Trail is scheduled to have a road closure a just south of the Sculpture Garden. There is a detour if you are coming up MN Hwy 95 from the South. It’s well marked and adds only about 5 minutes to your trip. A map is provided below.

If you have a MAS nametag please wear it.
FSP
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Detour
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Hwy_95_Hwy_8_to_243_Franconia.pdf
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clayton
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by clayton »

Panorama North to East to South.
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Starting Setup location
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Expansion or alternate location to East.
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Looking South
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ClaireW
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by ClaireW »

I plan to be there as well unless we have thunderstorms. I'll bring either the 12" or 18" dob.
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clayton
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by clayton »

Welcome Claire. Either scope is fine.

I hoping we have cloudless and smoke free skies.
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clayton
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by clayton »

Update June 17 11:30 a.m.

The weather forecasts are not completely favorable. Most Models I see have smoke present but improving over the day. Cloud free early but with increasing sky coverage at 10:00 p.m. onward. For Solar scopes it should be OK. For night observing I am going to be optimistic and hope decent skies for at least a short period.

I am going to call it on and still go. l I hope to so see most of the volunteers there but feel free to make your own call on the weather prospects. I encourage those with Solar telescopes to attend. Those with an option may choose lighter and quicker setup and tear down telescopes for nighttime viewing.

Although the Star Party may not be without some weather challenges the Franconia Sculpture Park's events sound interesting and you can enjoy a nice day trip.
Clayton Lindsey
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defalkner
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by defalkner »

I admire your optimism. The weather charts I have checked are not so optimistic. I'm going to improve your chances of getting good weather by bowing out. Maybe next time.

All you fathers have a great Fathers Day!
Clear skies!
Dave Falkner
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clayton
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by clayton »

Thanks everyone for volunteering. The weather was fairly good for solar. Dave J with his H-alpha scope gave views near the entrance and answered questions about the Sun. Dave was later joined by Mark C with this Sun Funnel. Trena, Steve E, Claire and I gave white light views through filtered telescopes on the back side of the park. We had some casual interest as attendees roamed the park viewing sculptures. Several people were very interested in the telescopes and our group. One person described his 10 inch telescope that he built and a 9th grade student chatted with Trena about expanding her astronomy interest.

Unfortunately, we did not luck out with the clouds. We wrapped it up around 9:30 when it became evident, we were not even going to get a few sucker holes. We raced the mosquitos to get our equipment packed away and headed home. The mosquitos I think won the race. I even had several hitchhikers in my vehicle on the way home.

Thanks again for all those volunteering.
Clayton Lindsey
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Re: Starparty @ Franconia Sculpture Park June 17

Post by clayton »

Dob at FSP.jpeg
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