Every August new Moon, the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) hosts the Almost Heaven Star Party at the Experience Learning Center on Spruce Knob near Circleville, WV. The event is extremely well organized with many extracurricular activities for the entire family. Of course, the location for astronomy is ideal with some of the darkest skies east of the Mississippi.
I have been to the event multiple times, but I believe this was my first time back in over 8 years. The familiarity helps in pre-visualizing potential nightscape compositions. I had a couple of compositions in mind, when all of a sudden right in front of my own campsite was the best composition of the night.
Earlier in the evening, around dusk, a young family arrived a little late and began to set up their tent. It was obvious from the discussions that this was their first outing with this tent, and may have even been the family’s first ever camping expedition. How fun! The children were very excited and helpful in setting up the tent. The tent color is actually green, but with the red lights inside illuminating the walls it appears yellow-orange. This is the tent on the right.
The tent on the left was red with red lights complementing the color while illuminated. The owner of this tent was very tired after setting up his tent. He remarked he was simply going to turn in for the night. I implored him to set up his scope and observe for a while. Friday night looked like one of the better nights of the star party and he really shouldn’t miss out on Spruce Knob skies. He heeded my advice and setup his scope and had a few hours of observing under these outstanding skies.
That is the behind the scenes of this image….people from all walks of life in various conditions all gathering at a very special location to observe the wonders of God’s creation. More of him and less of me. I hope you enjoy the image.
Technical details at my astrobin account.