I’m packing up my gear to go to the 2019 Oregon Star Party. OSP has always been held near the New Moon period in August, but this year we have 2 New Moons in August. Since there has been some pressure to move the star party to earlier in the Summer, I guess it was pretty easy to choose for this year. The reason for the pressure to move is that in recent years the event has been marred by smoke from wildfires, and there is a lower risk of fires earlier in the Summer. But earlier also means a shorter night, unless you go all the way back to May. Furthermore, a lot of the most interesting objects (for either astrophotography or visual astronomy) are in the Milky Way, which is not well positioned in the night sky until August. In some ways it would be better to move to September, but that makes it difficult for many people because their kids are in school then. So I don’t know what will happen in coming years, but for 2019, OSP is July 30th to August 4th.
Although I am registered as a vendor at OSP, I have almost no remaining inventory of prints to sell, so will not be setting up my “mobile gallery”. Instead, I have been working on establishing an exhibit of astronomy-related art. For this year we are just doing a “trial run” with a slide show of astrophotography for a handful of local people. But in the coming years I hope to have a dedicated space for an exhibit that would be open through the whole star party, and would include not just photography, but all kinds of art – as long as it is related to astronomy.
On Friday Aug. 2nd I will be giving a presentation at OSP on the future of amateur astronomy. As you might guess, I believe that future involves electronic image sensors. But I also believe that it is critical to maintain the experience of visual astronomy while taking advantage of the latest technology to overcome the growing problem of light pollution and enhance the experience of studying the night sky.
The next day I will be coordinating a sharing of astrophotos captured at the star party. This will probably not include any of my own images, as I never find time to process them until I get back home, but I know that a lot of people will have finished images to share. If not, I can always run the astro-art slide show again!