Star Parties and Friends


For many of us astronomy is a nearly solitary pursuit. We spend many nights alone or with one or two observing companions for our "serious" observing time. These are the quiet nights when few words are spoken as we track down objects on our observing lists.

Star parties give us the option to engage in the more social side of astronomy and my favorite star party is the WSP. The Winter Star Party is put on every winter by the Southern Cross Astronomical Society in Miami. More than 500 amateurs get together for a week of great observing and socializing. Here are some of my friends from the WSP.


"Big" Jeff Elledge from Jacksonville, Florida is one of the most creative builders of telescope hardware around. The only problem is he builds everything out of iron and steel and he's the only one who can pick it up after it's finished! Here we see Jeff taking his ease at the 1997 Winter Star Party. From Harley-Davidsons to Celestrons... Jeff covers a wide range of interests.





Again at the 1997 Winter Star Party, this rogues gallery included Big Jeff, Jeff Alderman and Steve Biondo. Jeff Alderman and his wife Marlene came from Cardiff, Wales for their second WSP. Steve hails from Harbor Beach, Michigan and has been attending the WSP since it was held on a swampy hummock on the Everglades.




This is The Gelblat. Harry is my perpetual observing companion and we have been traveling to the Keys for the WSP together since 1991. Harry owns one of the optically finest 13.1" Coulters you will ever have the pleasure to look though. He is collimating the scope in preparation for another night's viewing.




Russell Sipe on the left is the webmaster of the highly successful webpage. Mike Harvey is a nationally syndicated disc jockey and is seen futzing around with his magnificent Obsession 18. This shot was taken at the 1996 WSP





Rick Singmaster is the builder of Star Master telescopes. They are just like the C-8 only bigger, and they don't have a corrector plate and there is no fork mount.... One day I hope my C-8 grows into an 18" Dobsonian!




 Riku Henriksson and his lady friend Looris joined us for the 1998 Winter Star Party. They flew in from Finland for some touring of the US before driving down to the Keys from Atlanta. Riku is a serious deep sky observer while Looris sleeps more than anyone else I know!










If you have a few extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket, might I suggest the Vixen 20x125 binoculars as a great place to put it! Mike Harvey bought a pair and they are fabulous!


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