Here is more information about the upcoming Deep South Spring Scrimmage.
The Deep South Spring Scrimmage (the spring counterpart to the Deep South Star Gaze) begins officially on Wednesday April 19th and runs to Sunday, April 23rd. Note that some that want to maximize their time under the stars to come a day, or two, or three early to do just that. The latitude of our location is just about right at 31 degrees north latitude which puts the Omega Centaurii globular cluster 12 degrees above our southern horizon when it crosses the meridian. From most places where people set up their equipment it is easily seen.
At our location, the White Horse Retreat Camp, located about 12 miles south of Columbia, MS and 21 miles north of Bogalusa, LA and about 3 miles west of Hwy. 35, we have the ability to house about 50 in our air conditioned/heated bunk houses. The newer main bunk house has it's own bathroom with 3 of everything - showers, wash basin, and toilets. Older bunk houses have a close by bathhouse with all necessary equipment. Additionally we have 30 amp breakers and can currently accommodate 7 rv's/campers. Additionally some chose to tent camp and have the option of setting up their tent on the observing field, in the open, or in the barn which will provide additional protection from the elements.
The main building is just a very short 200 foot walk to the observing field. This is where many hang out during the day either on the porch or in the air conditioned and heated interior where we do have internet service and other amenities. There is a tv and while tv reception is poor, there is a dvd player too. We sometimes have meals here depending upon demand and sometimes a snack bar in the evening. All exterior lights are off at night and interior lights are dimmed.
From our location we have pretty decently low horizons all around and on good nights we do reach down to magnitude 6.5 which is right on the Bortle 3/Bortle 4 boundary. For our Spring Scrimmage, unlike the fall older and larger Deep South Star Gaze we have NO REGISTRATION FEE . You do have to register and agree to the provisos of the Liability Release, just no fee. More details below, and also on our dssg.boards.net message board.
The dates for the 2023 Deep South Spring Scrimmage are - Wednesday April 19th to Sunday April 23rd. On the 19th the Moon is at "new" at approximately 11 pm for us. By Saturday evening on April 22nd, the Moon will be almost 3 days past new, approximately 68 hours past "new". It will set on Saturday night after 10 pm but is only 9% illuminated. It will be hidden by the western tree line at about 9 pm. It will not be a real problem and will be no problem at all on earlier nights.
Jumping ahead to the Deep South Star Gaze in November -
Our next Deep South Star Gaze, "the 41st Annual Deep South Star Gaze" is scheduled for Tuesday November 7th to Sunday November 12th
Over the years our basic registration fee is an "early" registration fee. At about 10 days out the registration fee in past years has increased, not a huge amount, typically about 30% above the "early" fee. This was done to encourage early registration making less last minute work for me right before the star gaze, and also to discourage last minute registration for those that want to see what the weather is doing. In recent years (the last 2) this was not done. Some would wait and register right before the beginning of the Deep South, possibly waiting on the weather reports. Next fall we are reverting to the old system of early registration up to about 10 days out at the lower rate and late registration within about 10 days of the start date at a higher rate. Additionally refunds have always been allowed only up to that 10 day mark prior to the beginning of the star gaze except in very unusual circumstances. This year we had a very few people who did not make the Deep South for one reason or another. I know who they are and as I did not have anything on the registration form about cancellation and refunds, we will allow someone who cancelled last fall to apply their 2022 registration fee to 2023. This does not include any housing payment to White Horse as the head count is turned over to Carol at the beginning of the Deep South. She knows what to expect for lodging.
Likewise, anyone who leaves early after having paid for additional nights of lodging is not given a refund for nights not stayed. Last November I did leave 2 nights early (as did others). In my case I was having back issues and that coupled with the weather forecast made an early departure logical for me. Basically my payment for unused nights was forfeited by me, a donation if you will.
Note - this is all in keeping with procedures at other star parties around the country. We basically have the same policies in respect to registration and lodging fees.
Now what some might do is the following - pay in advance for 2 or 3 nights. Watch the weather, and come for the 2 or 3 nights that look best to you. If more nights are looking good and you have no other commitments, you can add more nights when you are there. The bunk you are assigned is your bunk for the duration. Pay for a specific bunk for Tuesday and Wednesday and even if you leave on Thursday morning that bunk is no longer in use after you leave. If you decide the weather is good and you are willing you can pay for extra nights when you are there.
Note on the attachments - fees are lodging costs, there is no Registration Fee
Questions? Let me know.
The 2023 Deep South Spring Scrimmage Registration and Liability waiver is now available for downloading on the DSSG Message Board site.
The dates for this year's Spring Scrimmage is Wednesday April 19th to Sunday April 23rd.
Barry Simon, Deep South Star Gaze Director