News

2020 Star Quest - CANCELLED due to COVID-19

Due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis, the Executive of the Merritt Star Quest have decided to cancel the 2020 event. It was deemed to difficult to ensure the safety of our attendees and that of our staff. A date will be set for next years event at our next executive meeting. Thank you all and stay safe!

2019 Star Quest

by Suzanna Nagy, Vice President for the Merritt Astronomical Society and RASC Vancouver co-Membership Director

The annual Merritt Star Quest, hosted by the Merritt Astronomical Society, was held this year from dusk August 24 to dawn September 1, 2019. Attendance for the week was in excess of 100 observers. I re-connected with many regular attendees and became acquainted with quite a few first-timers, all of whom were enthusiastic to be there.

Unlike September last year that rained six of the eight days/evenings (including one evening when we had a dusting of snow), this year the weather gods cooperated. We only had one day of rain and two evenings of cloudy weather. Of the seven nights that I attended, I was able to observe for five nights. The night sky was not as crisp as in years past when the Milky Way was so bright it cast a shadow, but even so, the nights that were clear offered great seeing.

For my own observing (which is strictly visual), prior to arriving I had gone online to search for some observing lists to challenge myself. My first two nights were spent finding as many Messiers as I could. My next night I did the Star Trek Observing Challenge (names of stars/objects mentioned in the episodes), and then I spent two evenings working through the RASC Explore the Universe list. In between, I spent time in my chair just gazing in awe at the Milky Way.

The days were filled with socializing including daily activities (something new MSQ tried last year and has continued after receiving positive feedback). The day-time activities included a meet and greet with pie, three lectures, a horseshoe tournament, and a short hike around the nearby 4 km Kentucky Lake loop trail. One afternoon there was also a spontaneous hockey game.

Details for MSQ 2020 will soon be uploaded on their website www.merrittastronomical.com which includes directions and especially the page for star party rules/etiquette (we had issues this year with lots of late night arrivals and looky-loos). As a result, the website will also be amended to educate attendees on the star party's very important "no white light" rule.

MSQ 2020 will be held on the week of the new moon August 15 to the 23rd. Many of you might say - wait that is Mt. Kobau week. MSQ Council discussed this in length and obtained a lot of feedback from this year's attendees. With the next new moon falling mid-September, it was determined that time of year would be just too cold at that elevation with concerns there might be snow. So, while not ideal, MSQ and Kobau 2020 will share the same week.

Hope to see you there.

2018 Star Quest

The annual Merritt Star Quest, as hosted by the Merritt Astronomical Society, was held during the week of September 8 to 15. Unfortunately, our typical nice September didn’t materialize for that week and we suffered through many days of cloud and rain. Out of the six nights I attended, I only observed twice. Having said that though, I still had a really good time. There was a communal tent with propane-fuelled fire-pit (thanks to Elliott Melan and his lovely wife, Elaine) that many of us gathered around to warm up as well as socialize. I have to say that this was the first year that I was able to get to know so many regular attendees of msq and I think it was because of that fire-pit. Normally, on clear nights, I would be fairly solitary in the evening, communing with the stars and my telescope. But with the bad weather, we all gathered together instead. A new addition to MSQ were daily activities hosted by the Directors. There was a guided nature walk, an evening of apple pie, an evening of live guitar music with singalong, as well as three lectures. The two daytime lectures were presented by Ken Hewitt White and Lee Johnson. The one evening lecture was presented by Jim Kanester. The activities were well-received and on the final day many attendees requested that a daily activity be repeated next year.

2016 Star Quest. August 27th to the Sept 4th

Was rather iffy weather wise. But we were still rewarded with about 4 to 5 nights of decent to great viewing!

With regards to weather a great source of information that one of attendees pointed out was a this point seems to be quite accurate. Was weather website WWW.YR.NO check out and look for Aspen Grove BC.

Thanks to everyone who attended this year (58) you're one hearty group and it's always great to see old friends. This isn't just a star party it's a family reunion Be sure to check out the facebook page; Merritt Astronomical for more information, pictures and updates. Next year's event will take place between August 19 to August 26th. (Yes I know the Eclipse is happening on the 21st but not all of us can go) have fun with that and hopefully the weather is great! Once you've

had your experience come on back up to the MSQ and show us and tell us of your experience. Should be good fun!

See you next year!

2015 STAR QUEST

2015 Star Quest is fast approaching. September 11th to the 19th.

Which hopefully will be a great time of year for everyone! Remember though that at 3800 feet at that time of the year it can feel like Summer and at night it can definitely feel like mid winter. Dress appropriately at all times.

Some past issues that have arisen are pets that are let off their leashes. Please please with the utmost respect to you and your pet. Please keep rover on a leash. The last thing we need to hear about is someone having to clean their eye peices again. Because of ol' yeller! Making the views yeller!

Also another concern is loud noise, loud music, laughing loudly, yelling, screaming, arguing and kids being kids. That being said though most astronomers ply their trade in silence and like things quiet. Taking in the views, acknowledging the details of the observation deep with in the synapses of their minds and listening to the voices in their heads telling them all about the details and information about those objects. Loud voices and carrying on can and does destroy the peace. And I can tell you it's not appreciated and the weight of those objections fall squarely on the Executive, who are doing their best to create a great time for all.

So try to keep in mind the folks around you and respect their desire to have an enjoyable time. If you need to blow of steam can we suggest going to the lakes during the day just down the road and taking out on the water? Thank you everyone for your co-operation it's hugely appreciated and less taxing on the people trying to provide a great time under the night sky!!

2011 STAR QUEST

Next years 2011 Star Quest is slated to begin on August 27th and ending on September 3rd.

Which we hope works a little better for families with kids having to go back to school after the Labor Day weekend. It is also hoped the weather will be much more cooperative at that time also.

Although this years event was a bit of a "wash" (pun intended), it was still a great time inspite of the over cast skies.

There were great stories to tell, great meals to share, and great new friendships made.

The Grand Prize this year was won by Jack Nolet, congratulations Jack!

Also, New Merritt Star Quest T-shirts were also available this year! Great fun and quite smart looking as well! A blend of two photo's taken by Nicole Bienvenu and Janeen Williams.

Janeen's shot of the landscape and Nicole's shot of the Constellation of Capricorn with the logo Merritt Star Quest encapsulating the scene, great stuff.

The numbers of participants were down this year but we were able to meet the required funds we needed to host next years event comfortably. So if you couldn't make it out this year!

We'd sure love to see you at the 2011 event next year!

If you are so inclined it would also help greatly if you would be so kind as to send Phill Williams (Treasurer) a donation for the next years event.

Thank you so much for your support! See you next year!