Hobbs Observatory
Beaver Creek Reserve
Fall Creek, Wisconsin
August  25-27,  2017

Sponsored by the Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society (CVAS)



Registration Form is available here


Starfest Information

Join us for Northwoods Starfest, August 25-27, 2017 at Hobbs Observatory, located in the Beaver Creek Reserve (BCR) near Fall Creek, Wisconsin.


We are holding NWSF a week later than usual this year due to the Great American Eclipse earlier in the week.  Consequently there will be some moon, but it will gone early both nights.


For a map showing the location, click HERE.

GPS  Coordinates:  +44 48' 51.5",  -91 16' 20.8" 


Hobbs Observatory has two domes, one with a 24-inch f/5 reflector and the other with a 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain.  There is a large field in front of the observatory to set up for observing. The skies are quite dark. 


CVAS has reserved the BCR youth camp facilities for Starfest.  Accomodations include five cabins and Cedar Lodge.   Each of the cabins is a single room with seven bunk beds.  Cedar Lodge has a large common area and two attached rooms with eight bunk beds each.  One room Cedar Lodge is designated for men, one for women.  Cabins do not have bathrooms, Cedar Lodge does. 


Cedar Lodge - Exterior

Cedar Lodge - Common Area

Cedar Lodge - East Room

Cedar Lodge - West Room

Cabin - Exterior

Cabin - Interior

Cabin - Interior


There is a large bathroom/shower house available for all guests (bring you own towels).  


Tents and small campers may be set up along the edges of the observing field or in other open areas on the BCR grounds.  There is a very limited amount of room for larger campers - please let us know if you are bringing an RV.  There are no RV electrcial hook ups.  


Limited AC power is available for the observing field.


In addition to the featured speakers on Friday and Saturday evening, Starfest attendees are invited to share a short program during the paper sessions on Saturday afternoon.  If you have something astronomical to share: a presentation,  a unique telescope, or anything else that people might enjoy, we encourage you to reserve a paper session time on Saturday afternoon.   Please limit your presentation to 25 minutes maximum.


A swap fest is held late Saturday afternoon.  Bring whatever astro gear you'd like sell or swap.


Saturday also offers an on your own activity to visit the Planet Walk in downtown Eau Claire at Phoenix Park.  An excellent Farmer's Market at the park runs until 1pm.   For more information and directions click HERE.


In an effort to maximize Starfest attendees' observing experience, the obsevatory will not be open to the general public on Saturday night as it has in past years during Starfest. 


Beaver Creek Reserve has a strict pet policy:  "In the interest of health and safety of all our visitors and wildlife, pets are not allowed on the Reserve."  Please leave your pets at home.


BCR offers a nature center, nature store, butterfly house, hiking trails and an obstacle course which Starfest attendees have access to at no additional charge.  For a campus map, click HERE.

Please let us know if you have any other special needs before Starfest and we'll do our best to accommodate them. 


Registration fee includes BCR camp fees (camping, bunkhouse or cabin accommodations - see photos above), Friday midnight snacks, Saturday brunch, Saturday dinner, Saturday midnight snacks, and Sunday breakfast.  * - Please note: since we are catering the Saturday brunch, if your registration arrives after Tuesday August 22nd, or if you register at the door on Friday August 25th - you may be on your own for Saturday brunch since we need to give a count to the caterer by noon on Wednesdat August 23rd!


For hotel/motel information for the area call the Eau Claire Visitors Bureau at (715)-831-2345. 


For more information or questions, email CVAS at:



Friday, August 25th

3:00 pm -- Registration (Observatory Office).


5:30 pm -- Brats and Hot Dogs (Observatory Patio).  Cost not included in the registration fee!

Brats: $2.50
Hot Dogs: $1.50
Soda: $.50
Chips: $.50


7:30 pm --  Featured Speaker  (Nature Center Auditorium)


SPIRITS Detection of Extragalactic Transients Using the Spitzer Space

Telescope and the Mount Lemmon Observing Facility.

I will be covering the SPIRITS collaboration science objectives, the Spitzer Space Telescope and

how it is utilized to detect extragalactic transients, the Mount Lemmon Observing Facility

UMN 60" Telescope and how it is used to acquire background data using the attached

2MASS (2 Micron All Sky Survey) instrument, the data acquisition and analysis procedures

involved, and a quick overview of ways to get involved in local astronomy in MN and WI.

Robert Carlon

University of Minnesota


9:00 pm -- Observing Session begins.


Midnight -- Snacks, 11:00 pm if cloudy (Main Lodge).


Saturday, August 26th

10:00 am to 11:30am -- Brunch (Main Lodge) and registration (Observatory Office).


We are still working on the menu, it will be good!


1:00 pm -- Paper Sessions (Nature Center Auditorium).


Paper session schedule will posted in the Main Lodge and Observatory Office.


4:00 pm -- Swap Fest (Observatory Classroom).


5:30 pm -- Dinner (Main Lodge).



A dish composed of a starchy food (Fritos, tortilla chips, rice, or saltine crackers), topped by a protein (beans, grated cheddar cheese, taco-seasoned meat, and/or a vegetarian meat alternative), in combination with fresh vegetables (shredded lettuce, tomatoes, olives, peppers), and garnished with various condiments (guacamole, sour cream, Ranch or Italian dressing, ketchup and/or salsa). Haystacks are conceptually like a deconstructed tostada. The haystacks ingredients are served individually and assembled on the plate by the person who will be eating it.


6:15 pm -- Door Prizes, must be present to win (Main Lodge).


7:00 pm -- Group Photo (Observatory Patio, Nature Center Auditorium if raining).


7:30 pm -- Featured Speaker  (Nature Center Auditorium).


The Rock Elm Meteorite Impact Structure, Wisconsin: discovery, geology

and relation to other Wisconsin impact structures.

Wisconsin is home to several ancient meteor impact craters. This talk will focus on the Rock Elm

crater, which formed about 450 million years ago likely by a chondritic impactor 100 meters across.

Uncovering its funky history was a century-long exercise in applied science which involves

prospectors, swindlers, and academics. The relationship of Rock Elm to other nearby impact

features such as Brussels Hill, Glover Bluff and the Pepin disturbance will also be discussed.


Dr. William S. Cordua
Emeritus Professor of Geology
University of Wisconsin River Falls


 Dr. Bill Cordua is a retired professor from  the University of Wisconsin - River Falls where he taught

geology for 40 years. He has written over 100 articles for the general public on geology.  Dr. Cordua is in

the education division of the Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame and has received the Katherine Greacen

Nelson Award honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the earth sciences in Wisconsin.

9:00 pm -- Observing Session begins.


Midnight -- Snacks, 11pm if cloudy (Main Lodge).


Sunday, August  27th

8:00 am to 10:00am -- Breakfast (Main Lodge).


Blueberry pancakes






Noon -- Checkout



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