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EMS 5 Star Party - 2019 - information and rules

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So, it seems like we've been waiting forever, but EMS 5 will soon be upon us.


So, to give you all plenty of warning, and some useful info, the Admin team have put a few pointers together for you. We will give everyone a hard copy when you arrive at the campsite as well. Please keep general discussions to the discussion thread, and leave this thread clear for questions about the rules and info.


Could all camper please make sure that they have read and understood the rules and information.




Welcome to EMS 5, October 2019

We want this to be a fun weekend for everyone, whether new or experienced, young or old, observer, imager, space tourist, seasoned star-party attendee or first-timer! It is an opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts; talk about and hopefully `do' astronomy; have fun; learn; see things you can't see from home; experience darker skies; try different kit; solve problems together and take some memorable photos.

The site.
Halse Farm is a fantastic site and the owners are friendly and accommodating. 
There are toilets/showers close by and they are happy to work with us to remove as much extraneous light as possible.

No speeding.
For the safety of children and other campers please do not exceed the 5mph speed limit. 

The location.
The site's latitude and longitude is: Lat 51.05.50 North, Long 3.34.47 West, and 
490m above sea level.


You MUST report to reception or a member of EMS Admin on arrival. Members of the Admin team can be found on Pitches 1,4,9,12 and 16.

Pitch allocations.
You will already have been allocated a pitch but, when you arrive, Halse Farm staff might need to move you to a different pitch to accommodate poor weather, onsite maintenance, or conditions. THIS IS BEYOND OUR CONTROL! 

Where can I park?
Cars can be parked on your pitch. If you are arriving or leaving after dark, and the 
sky is clear, we ask that you park close to the site entrance so your headlights do not disturb the star gazing and imaging. (NB: more about light later!)

What facilities are available?


The Royal Oak in Winsford serves bar and restaurant food as well as alcohol. It's dog friendly too about a mile up the road from the site.
The Royal Oak in Winsford has a small shop which is open 08.30-12.30 Monday to Saturday, closedSundays.

For more in depth shopping, a trip out will be needed. The nearest is in Dulverton to the south, which is around six miles away and takes twenty or so minutes. There looks to be plenty of parking in the village from the satellite views.


Here you'll find the Co-op, TA22 9EX, not the biggest supermarket, but should provide all the basics, including Bacon and Beer.

There's also a butchers, a nice looking Deli and Four restaurants within the village. A chippy is there too as well as a post office.


The Pharmacy is also here, Dulverton Pharmacy, 21 High Street Dulverton, TA22 9HB.  01398 323359.


Dulverton has a vets too should it be needed.Dulverton Veterinary Practice, Bridge Street Dulverton, TA22 9HJ. 01398 323285.


Fuel is available at Murco, Wheddon Cross. TA22 7DR.

Medical emergencies.
A serious medical emergency will be 999 or a visit to A&E at the main Hospital. 
Other medical situations will be 111 and the 'Taurus team' will direct the patient to a suitable Doctor's surgery.

Contact an Admin and we will help.


What should I bring?
Experience suggests it will be colder than you imagine so bring several layers of clothing! Experience also suggests a small 'festival' tent will not be warm enough! A double-skinned tent will better retain heat and keep out rain! Under your sleeping bag, you will need some insulation between you and your groundsheet, e.g., a foam camping mat (ideally with a metallic insulation side) inflatable mattress, Lillo or bed. 
You will probably be going to bed cold so extra layers, a heater and/or a hot water bottle will help thaw you out!

I’ve never camped before- will there be help available?
Yes. If you need help (i.e. advice on kit preparation, pitching your tent, details of the site or perhaps you have forgotten to bring something) please ask. Ask your neighbours (astronomers don't bite) or find one of the EMS Admin team. If you are using electricity you will need a special cable to safely connect to the site outlets. If you need only to recharge power-packs then someone will usually be happy for you to share their supply.

Please help us keep the communal areas clean and tidy -use the bins provided, dispose of rubbish, don't leave lids off things, etc.

Where can I set up my scope?

Usually scopes are set up on individual pitches by their owner's tent (sometimes a group will set theirs up together). Please ensure there is enough room around your scope for you to operate, and potentially for others to come and see what you're doing and look through your scope (if you're comfortable allowing that).
If you're an imager please consider visual astronomers, i.e. position your IT so visual observers aren't dazzled by light from your laptop screen (which MUST be shielded and red screened) and please do what you can to prevent people tripping over your cables in the dark (this can be an expensive accident!).

Equipment care.
Most owners set up at the start of a star party then pack up at the end, leaving their kit assembled throughout (and covered in case of rain etc. when not in use). Please do not touch someone's telescope or other astronomy equipment unless invited to by the owner.
There are normally plenty of stargazers around and they usually keep a careful 
neighbourly eye on equipment so security concerns are minimal. Nevertheless, you are responsible for the safety of your telescope and other astronomy equipment, not EMSEMS is not responsible for damage or loss, however caused. Owners leave 
telescopes unattended at their own risk. Please consider taking out insurance against damage or loss.
Wandering around during the day admiring (drooling over!) other people's kit and asking questions is part of the fun of attending a Star Party but please take appropriate care and do not touch without the owner's invitation.


If you bring pets please ensure they are properly supervised, especially when near telescopes or other equipment, to avoid damage or ill-feeling.


What about light?
The handling of light at a star party is important so we will go into some detail. The following may appear pedantic but it can make a huge difference to the viewing/imaging experience for everyone. It takes the human eye at least 20-30 mins to become properly `dark adapted' for stargazing. White light ruins that hard-won dark adaptation in an instant, it also ruins images. By far the easiest way to make yourself unpopular at a star party is to walk around with a white torch!
We will work with the campsite to minimise the amount of light in our area.
Necessary lights will be shielded red wherever practical.
The key `light' guidelines for the EMS 5 star party are:
• Lights off after dark. Make sure that you are familiar with your kit so that you can setup in the dark.
• No white light torches to be used on or near the observing field, unless otherwise advised by the Admin, the general rule of thumb is that if 20% or more sky is clear then the white light ban is IN EFFECT.

• Dim red led torches are to be used on and around the observing field, and keep them aimed at the ground. Bright red head -lamps should be dimmed with paint, red electrical tape, cellophane or nail varnish.
• All people staying at the camp need to be mindful of the need to limit extraneous light. E.g. Keeping doors closed in camp buildings with interior lights. Remember that even in your tent a white light is easily visible and bright outside - so red lights should be used in tents. Please remember to check any external light on caravans / motorhomes before going to bed - it may be cloudy when you go to bed, and then clear later.
• Where possible lights around the site will be covered Red, but we could be sharing the site with non-astronomers in the camping field adjacent to ours so not every light can be covered.
• Laptop computers used on the field MUST be shielded by using a cardboard box or similar, and facing away from other observers. For visual observers, they should also have heavy red filters. For astrophotography, red filters are also required for your laptop screen. Again remember that a laptop used in a tent should still be shielded as it will be bright to those outside.
• No driving after dark except in emergencies please.
• Please be mindful of car interior and boot lights -best to avoid opening your car after dark.


Laser Pointers.
We will be operating a `no laser pointers' rule, as they can be dangerous and can 
ruin night vision and photographs for others. There will be NO exception to this rule.

What about noise, music etc?
This is always a tricky one. Tents lack soundproofing! And so please be considerate particularly after 11 pm and before 11 am. If it's cloudy, people might retire early -and if it's clear many people will be sleeping in after a very late night! You might find ear plugs useful (there were a few cases of severe snoring at previous star parties!) And on music, one person's music is another one's irritating noise, so please keep it down. We would also like to minimise the disturbance for the few houses which are close -we're asking them to be considerate about their use of light during the weekend and so we think it's only fair that we reciprocate by keeping noise levels 
reasonable too. Please remember that there could be children and families around so please remember to keep language in check.

Is alcohol allowed?
Yes, but please be considerate of others. And keep the Admin team fully stocked at all times.

What happens during the day?
Aside from many people sleeping through the morning after a long night, there are many options available. Some people explore the surrounding area, others are 
happy to stay on site and chat.

Is there anything else we should know?
This is an official EMS event and so we have to take account of insurance and Health and Safety issues, for this reason, under no circumstances is anyone under the age of 18 permitted to attend. We are not able to satisfy the requirements of safeguarding, nor able to obtain insurance to cover this lower age group. EMS and the campsite will have appropriate insurance, but you will be responsible for your own equipment -such as loss and / or damage but also including injury to other members in the event of an accident. Although this sounds draconian, the rules can be pared down to `please be considerate, careful and apply common sense! The Admin team will need to keep an eye on things and should they see a risk may ask you to modify your actions. Please take this in the spirit it is intended -which is simply to ensure a safe, fun experience for everyone!

The Admin team would like to thank you for taking the time to read this, and for your continued support. We would not be able to hold these events without you.

We looking forward to seeing everyone there!!

The Admin team.


Edited by tuckstar

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