The Southern Cross Astronomical Society
is the gracious host of the Winter Star Party
(WSP). Many folks you run into at the WSP come from this group or another of the several astro communities throughout Florida. However, participants aren't limited to the Sunshine State.
Walking through the camping grounds, you find flags celebrating astronomy groups from California to Connecticut. Among the parked cars, license plates range from Quebec to Texas. The folks who stopped by our table included people from as close to home as Illinois, and as far away as Germany.
When you ask people what brought them to WSP, you'll hear answers like, "Great southern views," "Dark skies," "Observing in wonderful weather," "Seeing old friends," or "My husband/wife/son/daughter/dad/mom wanted to come, so I tagged along."
Seeing the sky
As far as observing last night, the skies were clear, but a strong wind hampered many observing sessions. Only those with heavy, strong mountings could defy this wind. Outside of the WSP scope field, I found a lounge chair buffered by two retaining walls. With those walls providing shelter, I observed through my 10x50 binoculars. Phil Harrington's Touring the Universe through Binoculars Star Atlas served as my guide. My highlight for the evening: Exploring the region surrounding Omega Centauri.
You can read more about this book and download a free copy of it here.