ArkLaTex Star Party Rules and Etiquette

Red River Astronomy Club selected the location of the star party because of the dark sky. According to the Clear Sky Clock, this location is ranked as a Bortle Class 3 sky    ( )…. “ Low light domes (10 to 15 degrees) on horizon. M33 easy with averted vision. M15 is naked eye. Milky way shows bulge into Ophiuchus. Limiting magnitude 6.6 to 7.0.” As with all dark star parties, we will ban all lights with exception of subdued red lights after sundown. This rule will be strictly enforced to insure “star party dark” skies to each observer. We ask that you read over and become familiar with the rules and star party etiquette as listed below. Please note, these are common since rules to make your stay at the first ArkLaTex Star Party a stellar experience.

Lighting restrictions

Vehicle headlights, parking lights, tail and brake lights, including interior dome lights must be extinguished.

RV, trailer and camper lights must be extinguished, unless proper shielding is installed on all windows and doors to prevent light escaping. All interior lights must be red in color.

Lanterns, campfires, grills or outdoor lighting are NOT permitted.
Flashlights must be equipped with red filters and pointed toward the ground at your feet.

The lighting ban will be in effect when the sky is more than 10% clear. If it is raining, the ban will be lifted. If it is cloudy with the potential for clearing or there are some holes in the clouds, please keep white lights to a minimum to protect other people’s dark adaptation.

Once the gate’s closed…

Once the gate is closed, you may not leave or enter the property (except during a medical or extreme emergency). You may be permanently banned from the ArkLaTex Star Party if you drive a vehicle while the lighting ban is in effect!!!

For late arrival or if you plan to leave: The main gate will be closed at 9:00 PM to restrict traffic and minimize disturbances to observers. DO NOT plan to arrive at night. We will have signs indicating where to park your car outside the property so that you may walk to your vehicle and leave without disturbing the event.

Electricity restrictions

Due to expected heavy demand on the telescope field, we are limiting the use of electricity by providing top priority to telescope equipment. The following rules are in effect at all times, day or night unless a club officer expressly gives permission.

Only telescope drive equipment, cameras, anti-dew gear, drive correctors, 25watt or less bulbs, and laptop computers may be connected to the power outlets.

Personal Computers and appliances such as hot plates, coffee pots, fans, heaters, and refrigerators are NOT to be connected to the power outlets. Small battery chargers may be connected during daylight hours only.

Use LOW HEAT setting on hair-dryers only. DO NOT run yours when you hear another being used. These restrictions may or may not apply to RV connections. Ask first.

RV Hookups

RV hookups are for electricity only (no water or sewer available) and may be limited on power usage (i.e. air conditioning). Please notify us of your plug and usage requirements.

PC & Fiche-Viewer Rules

If you are going to use a personal computer or microfiche viewer during “blackout”, the following rules apply:

Any computers or viewers (more than 75 watts) are not to be connected to the power cords.

Display screens must be used at very low intensity.

Display screens must be covered with red material or sufficiently shielded so light from them will not disturb neighboring viewers.

If you plan to operate your PC or viewer from inside your tent or trailer, install proper shielding to prevent light from escaping.

Observing Field Guidelines

There will be not tents (sleeping or storage) allowed in the middle of the observing field. Tents will only be allowed on the perimeter of the field. A map of the field will be included in your package. Cars are permitted to drive on the observing field to unload / load your equipment but must be removed as soon as this is accomplished. Parked cars are strictly prohibited on the observing field.

Note: We want to maximize the amount of telescope space available, prevent tents from blocking the horizon for telescopes, and to limit the possibility of injuries caused by tripping on tent/awning support ropes and spikes.

Music and Lasers

As with light restrictions, music must be kept at low volume so as to not disturb nearby people. We highly recommend headphones as an alternative.

Due to photographic and CCD imaging, lasers are prohibited during blackout. During cloudy weather, lasers are permitted. DO NOT point lasers at the ground or at people. With the advent of green lasers, these are dangerous and can cause eye damage.

Alcohol & Pets

Boisterous or loud/obnoxious behavior will not be permitted. Drunken behavior is grounds for immediate expulsion from the event and could lead to arrest. Public display of alcohol is prohibited.

are not permitted. Check with vets at Nashville or Texarkana.

ArkLaTex has implemented a no-smoking policy for all buildings. If you smoke, please do so outside. Please clean up your cigarette butts from the camp ground and observing area.

Most importantly have fun and enjoy yourself!