THE NEBRASKA STAR PARTY
July 31 thru August 5th, 2016
SNAKE CAMPGROUND, MERRITT RESERVOIR,27 MILES SOUTH OF VALENTINE, NEBRASKA
Plan now to sail off on your own voyage of discovery this summer with us! The astronomical views from Merritt Reservoir’s Snake Campground are fabulous, and there are plenty of recreational opportunities to keep the entire family entertained all week long at the 22nd annual Nebraska Star Party.
For newcomers, NSP is the perfect place to become acquainted with the wonders of the heavens which can’t be seen from cities. Our unique Beginner’s Field School will show you how fun it is to explore the sky here, as well as in your own back yard when you return home, with or without a telescope.
Youngsters will enjoy the experience of camping beneath the stars as well as the special kid’s activity program midweek in which they can have fun with pop bottle rocketry, solar viewing, crater study, celestial mechanics, and construction projects such as UV bead bracelets, an astrolabe, a planisphere, a spectroscope, or even a telescope.
Seasoned observers will find NSP enjoyable as well. There are observing challenges, an astro photo contest, and a fantastic light pollution-free sweep of the summer night sky, with naked-eye limiting magnitude (that is, the faintest objects visible to the naked eye) approaching magnitude 7.5 to 8!
Apart from the starry central attraction, the remote sandhills of north-central Nebraska offer a vacation full of western and natural history as well. Short day trips will take you to historical sites important to the settlement of the west. The spring-fed water and sugar sand beaches of Merritt Reservoir offer swimming, boating, and fishing. Valentine national Wildlife Refuge provides a window into the ecology of the prairie, while the nearby Niobrara River affords a cooling tube float or canoe trip through the surrounding cattle and buffalo ranching country.
Whether you’ve been to NSP many times before, or you don’t even know what a star party is, you’ll be treated like a cherished old friend. Plan now to join us this summer for an unforgettable – and economical – vacation! You don’t even need a telescope to attend. Be sure to register before June 15, 2016 to save $10 per adult on registration costs.
NOTE: tentative plans are to hold NSP 2017 the week of July 20th, 2017 so it will NOT overlap with the 2017 solar eclipse. Please check this site later in the year or contact us if you have questions.
|Are you new to astronomy? Don’t have a telescope? If you’ve never attended a star party before, or if you’ve been to other star parties but need more information about what to expect at NSP, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Aerial video of NSP 2015:
Click to see video from NSP 2014
Weather and Sky Conditions
Featured Speaker for NSP 2016
Hap Griffin lives in Sumter, SC and is an avid astrophotographer, owning his own observatory and a small business modifying cameras for better astronomical and infra-red performance. He has had a number of his astronomical photographs published in books and magazines and has spoken at numerous conferences across the country on the subject of astrophotography.
His love for the space program and all things space travel related goes back to his days following the Mercury and Gemini programs as a child. Hap began covering events at Kennedy Space Center at the end of the shuttle era with STS-135 for the South Carolina Educational Television Network, where he spent a 34-year career in broadcast engineering. He retired in March 2012 after serving the network for 16 years as its Vice-President and Chief Engineer.
Hap has been covering launches at KSC and Cape Canaveral for the major astronomy magazine Sky and Telescope for several years as well as contributing to the imagery team at AmericaSpace.com. He has developed the only known automatic tracking camera mount in the civilian realm for use at NASA rocket launches. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and is an accredited Professional Engineer in South Carolina. His hobbies include ham radio, building electronic projects, offroad riding and camping, and playing guitar in a classic oldies band.