This was our 13th annual Fall’N’Stars Star Party (including the inaugural DSNOS). We’ve been at the Boy Scout Camp Sagonaska for 12 years now.

The Event started on Friday September 14th, 2012 at noon, when we opened up the camp and got our own camping gear setup.
We were expecting an early thunderstorm that afternoon and it did finally show up. Lots of rain and wind but it died off and went away in the mid-evening. We actually got some observing done Friday night.
Late evening the Meade DS2090 azimuth drive system started making bad and loud noises, so we shut that down for the rest of the night.

The night was cold and damp with heavy dew and most packed it in early, what with it being a long day.

Saturday morning saw cold and humidity and a lot of socializing by the 30 people that eventually drifted in.
We took apart our Meade DS2090 drive and discovered worn nylon gears in the drive train. Great. No telescope tonight.
In addition the deep cycle lead acid battery we were using for dew heating, died during Friday’s run. It was 8 years old so not too much of a surprise, just a disappointment. So we ran a long 12vdc power extension cable from the van for the night.

A swap meet was held and a few items went here and there. We picked up a lunar meteorite and a martian meteorite for our personal collections and a lunar meteorite for the centre collection.

The afternoon talks started a little late, no problem! and finished early enough for another break, then the group photo.
Mark Coady, myself and Rose Marie Burke gave 20 minute talks on Light pollution, SCO 2011-2012 and barn door trackers, respectively.

The caterers arrived on time at 5pm with another great meal in the longhouse. I really like the fact that they bring their own plates and utensils. In the olden days we spent a lot of time washing up afterward.

After dinner we went into the photo contest prizes, congrats to Rose Marie Burke! Then to raffle prizes. Congrats to Susan Gagnon, winning her 2nd telescope in as many years! Lastly the door prizes… contributed by many attendees and commercial vendors.
We had so many we had to go around twice.

A quick nap and we were ready to start observing for the evening. Kim was checking off her Exploring the Universe Certificate requirements while I was experimenting with the new ultralong exposure capability provided by a new version of CHDK software for the canon powershot A540 camera.

It got cold that night as well.. down to 3 deg C. The next morning was foggy and once the sun came up was actually reasonable to pack up in. At least we did not have to pack up in the rain.

We headed out around 11am as we had commitments back at home for 1. It was a nice 60 minute drive back home. And another two hours unpacking. phew!

Next year. No telescopes and accessories. Just binoculars we think.
Each telescope took up a lot of room including an accessory box, a large battery/power system, an observing table, ground carpet and more.
The skies are not quite as good as we get at home, and we have the advantage of a fully setup observatory to work from.

Modifications need to be made on our 20cm dobsonian scope “Starbuck”, namely adding in better dew heaters in the Telrad finder, adding heaters to the secondary mirror and maybe to the primary mirror as well, or maybe just a fan.
The 2mx2m carpet worked out quite well. Dropped items were quickly and easily found. And no one tripped over power cords.

The Kingston Centre has the lead for Fall’N’Stars 2013 and the first order of business will be to set up an organizing committee and set a date.
New moon is Thursday September 5th. Friday-Sunday Sept 6-8 looks like a good candidate.