An Introduction To 28th Annual Southern Star
The Southern Star Astronomy Convention originated in 1986 and is hosted annually by the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club, Charlotte, North Carolina. The event is held between late April and mid-May (depending on lunar phase and facility availability) at Wildacres near Little Switzerland, North Carolina. This is located just off the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway - which winds its way through the lower end of the Appalachian Mountains. Wildacres is a private retreat with modern facilities including motel-like private rooms with bath, a glass-enclosed dining room combining great family-style meals with beautiful views overlooking the mountain ridges, and a small auditorium. All of these facilities are tucked away under the trees at the top of a mountain ridge, but with enough open areas for viewing the night skies.
In 2014, Southern Star starts in the late afternoon on a Thursday and concludes mid-morning on the following Sunday (3 nights). There will be approximately 12 rooms made available for two-night stays; details will be in the registration material to be sent out in mid-February. During the convention there are lectures by professionals on such topics as astronomical research, observatories, amateur observing techniques, space exploration, etc. There are also activities usually including "swap tables" (to unload your surplus equipment and find new "treasures"), astro-imaging display, night-time star-parties (weather permitting), day-time solar viewing (one or two folks usually have a hydrogen-alpha filter equipped telescope!), an ice-cream social Saturday night, and - of course - door prizes! There is even time to sit back in a rocking chair on the hewn stone patio and admire the mountains or take a nature hike through the woods.
The facility accommodates approximately 125 attendees staying at Wildacres. The Southern Star full package registration fee includes all lectures, room accommodations, and all meals (dinner Thursday, three meals Friday, three meals Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday). All attendees must register prior to the event - there is no registration "at the door." Additional information is on the registration form. There is also an opportunity for those who wish to stay elsewhere and just attend the lectures and buy individual meals at Wildacres.
Southern Star is a wonderful astronomical convention event and a great time for everyone. Come join us in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains!