AstroBlast is open to registered participants only. We ask that you register in advance, if at all possible. Newcomers are encouraged to attend! One of the benefits of our observatory's remote location is the truly dark sky we get each night. As you may already know, we are located far from the lights of any city plagued by light pollution. Our new 30" f/3 Starstructure telescope with a mirror by Mike Lockwood will be available for viewing by AstroBlast participants. Our site also offers great dark sky observing for those using their own equipment. If you are an ORAS member, and would like to take part in the training program to operate the 30" telescope, please contact Tim Spuck at (814) 354-6515.
Here are the fees for those registering in advance. The cost for those registering on site will be slightly higher.
Individual registration, entire event -- $20; Family registration, entire event -- $32; Student registration, entire event -- $12 (This applies to high school and college students who are not part of a family group.)
Pizza party – $7 per adult, $5 for children age 13 or under
We also offer a discounted rate for groups of students. Please call Tim Spuck (814-758-9527) to make special arrangements.
AstroBlast 2019 agenda
The speakers and events for this year's AstroBlast are yet to be determined. Check back later for further information! Or click here for the "AstroBlast 2018" page to get an idea of the types of programs we offer.
What to bring to AstroBlast
If you will be camping, you should plan to bring a tent or a camper with you. There will be simple meals available for purchase Thursday and Friday evenings -- hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, etc. We will also have a pizza party on Saturday evening, and possibly lunch on Saturday as well. Or you can bring and prepare your own food, if you are so inclined. You should also bring hiking equipment (optional), sunscreen, blankets or a sleeping bag, and a flashlight with a red filter. And, of course, yourself and all of your friends who are interested in astronomy!
In addition, participants are invited to bring their own telescopes or binoculars. For non-campers, another option is to stay at a hotel nearby. If you'd like to check out possibilities for accommodations and other attractions, you can find them on the website of the Oil Region Alliance.
Where to stay and where to eat:
Everybody needs a soft pillow, warm blankets, and a full tummy! We invite you to camp with us at the observatory. There is a 10-acre field where most AstroBlast participants will be setting up their telescopes. This is not luxury camping -- there will be NO water available for drinking on site. There is a spring for public use about a half-mile to the south along Camp Coffman Road. This is much used by local residents, but we have no test results or other information on the quality of the water. Thus, we cannot state for certain that it is safe to drink. We now have a functioning bathroom and shower room in the multi-purpose building. There will also be a porta-potty in the observing field.
There may or may not be electricity available in the observing field. We do have electricity in the observatory and the observatory support building, which will allow you to recharge some electronic devices. There is also a WiFi connection at the site. As for meals, we will have a gas grill and a microwave available for campers to share, and we're planning a Saturday night pizza party. There will be simple meals available for purchase on Thursday and Friday evening. Or you may wish to patronize one of the restaurants in the nearby town of Knox, or one of the eateries near the Cranberry Mall. There are a number of restaurants in Seneca, directly to the north of the mall. For groceries, please note that Hirsch's Meats, which is at the intersection of Route 322, Route 338, and Camp Coffman Road, functions as a local convenience store as well as a meat market. Its hours are 9-6 M-F and 9-5 on Saturday (closed Sunday). Also, Schreffler's Snack Shack, at 1552 Route 322, offers a variety of options for meals and ice cream. It's open Tuesday through Sunday from 11-9.
In case you prefer to stay in a hotel during AstroBlast, there's one not far from the Cranberry Mall. This is the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites, in Seneca. Slightly further away is the Days Inn Oil City Conference Center.
General rules of AstroBlast:
If you use a flashlight, please use a red lens or lamp, or tape several layers of red cellophane over the lens. Participants who drive: parking during dark hours will be located near the observatory support building, at a lower level than the telescope field. Please park with headlights facing away from the field.There will be no vehicle entry or exit allowed from the camping area after dark.Dogs and cats are permitted at AstroBlast. Dogs must remain on a leash, and dogs and cats are the sole responsibility of their owner. Please clean up after your dog! Other animals are not permitted on site for AstroBlast. Please be courteous to other participants, and don't touch anyone else's equipment without their permission.