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How do I register and pay to attend?
All registration will be handled through the registration page enchantedskies.org/essp/registration.html. There will be a five night full registration, a two night weekend registration, and a Saturday night registration. You can pay online by using PayPal OR through PayPal using a credit card. Checks and cash will need to be mailed and received by October 7th. You can register in person at the star party, but it helps everyone if you do so early so we can get a head count for the food people.
What if I only want to attend on Saturday?
You can pre-register for Saturday at $10/adult online or by cash or credit card at the gate which will be open from 1700-1900. You may camp overnight as well with the Saturday admission fee.
Where do the events take place?
The dark sky observing site, called "Star Village", is about a 10-15 minute drive NW of Magdalena, NM in the Cibola National Forest. GPS coordinates are N34.124224, W107.315520. It is recommended that you print out a map and driving directions before arriving since cell service is limited to Verizon, and can be spotty. Maps can be found here enchantedskies.org/essp/maps.html.
Tours of the nearby Magdalena Ridge Observatory and the Very Large Array start at Star Village. Presentations by speakers will be given in Magdalena and at Star Village.
Where do I stay?
For suggested accomodations in Magdalena the lodging list page is enchantedskies.org/essp/lodging.html. For those who want to RV or camp, dry camping at Star Village is another option.
Is transportation to ESSP events provided?
No. ESSP events take place in and around Socorro County from 10,000ft on top of Mt. Baldy for the MRO tour, the VLA on the Plains of San Augustine, to where ever you want to go. All ESSP participants must be prepared to drive their own vehicle. Car pooling for the tours is sometimes informally organized before leaving Star Village.
Is Power Available at Star Village?
A large amount of power is not available. We will have a small generator for some lights and coffee pots. A bit of juice can be obtained from there for cell phones and things.
Is Potable Water Available at Star Village?
Potable water is not available. There will be some for making coffee, but that will be for coffee. Please bring your own!
Is food Available at Star Village?
There will be box lunches to order Wednesday and Thursday, a supper on Friday evening, a pancake breakfast on Saturday, another supper on Saturday evening, and breakfast burritos to-go Sunday morning. For the rest of the meals you will need to fight off the local elk population and forage, or you can go into one of the restaurants in Magdalena.
For suggested resaurants and places that sell food in Magdalena the food list page is enchantedskies.org/essp/food.html.
What do I wear?
Layers, layers, layers, hats and gloves. Shoes and socks are also a good idea. The elevation at Star Village is near 7,000 feet above sea level. The average temperatures will be a HIGH of about 60° Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) and a LOW of 30° Fahrenheit (0 Celsius) -- normally. Be aware that The Magdalena Ridge Observatory is at 10,600 feet and the temperatures may be below freezing at this time of year if you go on that tour! There could be rain or even snow. October is a fun month. Come prepared!
May I leave my equipment set up at my Star Village campsite and will it be safe?
You are responsible for your equipment. However, there will be hosts at Star Village at all times. No one has had any problem, but theives are sneaky.
What about restrooms at Star Village?
Porta Potties will be available.
Are showers available at Star Village?
No, but ESSP has arranged a room at the Magdalena Hall Hotel in town where ALL 5 DAY registrants can shower. You will need to bring your own towel and toiletries. Specific information will be given upon check-in at the Welcome Tent.
Are there any camera restrictions?
None, except be careful with flashes after dark, so you don't ruin someone's night vision or mess up a long photographic exposure.
What else should I know before coming?
Bring a printed or electronic copy of your registration receipt for admittance. We may not be able to pull up the paperwork at Star Village, because there is generally no Internet access. A wireless signal from Verizon shows up on good days.
Please read the Star Party Rules at enchantedskies.org/essp/rules.html.
For other things to do in the area see the attractions page at enchantedskies.org/essp/attractions.html.
What about ESSP refunds?
There will be no refunds after the close of registration. The Star Party is made possible by Magdalena Astronomical Society which is a non-profit organization of community volunteers dedicated to sharing their knowledge and passion for the night sky with other like-minded people. The registration fees pay for the expenses incurred in hosting the Star Party. Without the registration fees the Star Party would not be possible. We do understand hardship situations such as sickness and unexpected life changing events, and will consider refunding registration fees on a case by case basis before the close of registration. We appreciate your understanding.
What if I still have questions?
Just email us and we will respond as fast as we can. Be aware that once the party starts we may not have Internet access. See the contacts page at enchantedskies.org/essp/contact.html.
Why does your website not display correctly?
Our webflunky is a lazy slug? That notwithstanding, effort has been made to keep the code for the website (which was new in 2018) as simple as possible to prevent needing a lot of specialized code for each brand and version of web browser. The site has been tested on recent versions of Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer. It should work back to IE11, but it will look a little funny on IE8. IE8 is just missing too much. It should also look decent on phones and tablets. Please make sure your browser is up to date. Let us know if something is really wrong and we'll flog the webmaster and get him to fix it.
Can you tell me more about the observatory tours?
There will be an MRO and a VLA tour on Tuesday, and then again on Wednesday weather permitting. For the timeline of the tours please refer to the schedule here enchantedskies.org/essp/schedule.html.
The Magdalena Ridge Observatory tour notes are here enchantedskies.org/essp/mrotournotes.html.
Very Large Array tour notes are here enchantedskies.org/essp/vlatournotes.html.
How do I sign up for the tours?
If you have paid for the FULL registration you are eligible to attend one or both tours. Space is limited on the tours to the first 20 people for each day for the MRO tours, and 30 people each day for the VLA tours. You will indicate how many ADULTS will be attending when you register for the star party. The MRO tour will now be $20 per adult, and there will be no staying overnight for observing, but observing with your own equipment will be possible from about sunset to before 2300. At that time everyone will start back down the mountain.
Do I need 4WD to get up the mountain or to Star Village?
No. Although the road from Water Canyon up to the ridge of South Baldy where the MRO observatory is located is unpaved, it is well maintained and standard passenger cars have made the trip without problems in the past. You must drive slowly and some vehicles have overheated because of they are not getting enough airflow. From the bottom of the mountain to the observatory is 12 miles, and it takes about one hour. The road up to South Baldy is steep and winding. In some places there are cliffs on both sides -- not both going "up". Please remember mountain driving etiquette. A few mountain driving tips can be found at enchantedskies.org/essp/mrodrivingtips.html