Northwoods StarFest   2013

Hobbs Observatory

Beaver Creek Reserve

Fall Creek, Wisconsin

August  9 - 11,  2013


Sponsored by the Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society   (C.V.A.S.)


Image  by Ben Huset


A note from the CVAS President:

Northwoods Starfest Attendees:

Opening of registration for the 2013 Northwoods Starfest is upon on us!

We received a lot of good feedback after the 2012 Starfest - thank you for your suggestions and positive remarks.  Fortunately many of those that sent us feedback also said that we do not charge enough.   This was a relief to hear since after we crunched the numbers on last year's results we found we had a significant increase in the fees charged to us by Beaver Creek Reserve, in addition to typical increases in food costs.   As you look over the registration fee you'll notice that CVAS has modestly increased fees for the 2013 Starfest - we have kept the increases in line with what was necessary to cover these additional expenses anticipated for this year's event.   If you have questions regarding these increases please feel free to contact me.  

Thank you and I hope to see you at the 2013 Northwoods Starfest

Mike Brown
CVAS President.

Star Fest Information

Join us at the 26th annual Northwoods Starfest, August 9th  through 11th,  2013  at Hobbs Observatory near Fall Creek, Wisconsin. 

Hobbs Observatory is part of the Beaver Creek Reserve (BCR). Recreational possibilities include the Eau Claire County Youth Camp, the Wise Nature Center, hiking trails, and bicycling. 

For maps to the observatory 

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 meeting area where some talks and presentations take place. There is a large auditorium located south of the county highway at the Nature Center.  There is a large field in front of the observatory to set up for observing. The skies are quite dark. 

C.V.A.S. has reserved the camp for Starfest use. The camp has five cabins and the Cedar Lodge. The cabins sleep 20; the lodge, up to 40. Cabins have bunk style beds and mattresses. You will need to bring sleeping bags and pillows. Showers are available for all guests, but bring your own towels. Tenting and camper spaces are also available. 

If you are interested in a swap fest, bring whatever astronomical goodies you want to get rid of.   Also, if you have slides, a talk, or a video that you would like to present, please let us know on the registration form. 

Look around the CVAS web page for more information about the C.V.A.S. and Hobbs Observatory. 



Friday, August 9th

3:00 pm -- Registration 

5:30 pm -- Brats and Hot Dogs in front of the observatory
                Cost not included in the registration fee!

  7:30 PM     Featured Speaker

Justin A. Vasel

Graduate Teaching Assistant
Department of Physics
University of Minnesota Duluth

UW-Eau Claire with a B.S. in Physics.    M.S. in Physics at the University of Minnesota Duluth
Starting  work on  Ph.D. in 
Physics at Indiana University. 


Predicting the Next Galactic Supernova--How You Can Help



Exploding stars are some of the most energetic events in the universe. They play a pivotal role in galaxies by enriching the surrounding area with heavy elements and triggering star formation in nearby clouds of gas, but the mechanisms that drive these explosions are mere speculation. We never see these supernova explosions in the act; they're too hard to predict, so we only notice after the explosion takes place. But there is still hope thanks to a very tiny particle called a neutrino. Neutrinos are produced in vast quantities in supernovae and they're able to leave the star before the explosion becomes visible. If we detect that burst of neutrinos here on Earth, we know a supernova will soon be visible, and we can point our telescopes to the right place in the sky and watch the explosion as it happens. A world-wide network of neutrino observatories, known as the SuperNova Early Warning System (SNEWS) is already in place, listening for the neutrinos, but we will need the help of amateur astronomers across the world to help us find the exact location of the supernova when it happens. 


9:00  pm -- Observing Session begins

Midnight  --  Snacks in the Main Lodge  

Saturday, August 10th

10 am to 12  -- Brunch,  and  Registration

 Leaving about 10:30   - Possible tour of the new Planet Walk along the Chippewa River in downtown Eau Claire 

Planet Walk information can be found  HERE

Interested participants can meet  at 10:30 AM and we would travel to Eau Claire

1 pm -- Paper Sessions 
            1:00  Greg Furtman   "Building Big Binoculars"

            1:30  Bob King   "Expectations for Comet ISON This Fall and Winter"               

            2:00   Jeff Setzer   "Cleaning the Great Yerkes Refractor"

            2:30   Chuck Ruehle   "Telescopes To Tanzinia"

4 pm -- Swap Fest in the observatory

5:30 pm --Dinner 

6:15 pm  - Door Prizes - Dining Hall - Must be present to win

7:15 pm  - Group Photo in front of the observatory

 7:30 PM       Featured Speaker 

Jennifer L.B. Anderson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Geoscience

Winona State University

B.S. degrees in Geophysics, Astrophysics, and Physics from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Sc.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Geological Sciences from Brown University, Providence, RI.

A  planetary geologist with a specialty in impact cratering processes.

“The Sudbury Impact Layer:  Three Hours of Chaos 1.85 Billion Years Ago”

 A meteorite struck Sudbury, Ontario, almost two billion years ago and created one of the largest known craters on Earth.  Material was vaporized, melted, and ejected from the growing crater.  It traveled up through the atmosphere and back down to Earth to blanket much of North America.  For three hours, chaos reigned 500 miles away in northern Minnesota.  And then the Earth quietly went about its business again.  In 2005, these ejecta deposits were discovered in rocks from Michigan to Minnesota to Thunder Bay, Ontario.  They represent one of the best preserved sequences of ejecta from a large impact crater on Earth.  I will discuss the impact cratering process, the origin of these ejecta deposits, and what they can tell us about the implications of large crater formation on Earth.  

9:00 pm -- Observing Session begins

Midnight -- Snack 

Sunday, August  11th

8 am -- Breakfast 

Noon -- Checkout  completed

Paper Session
An informal paper session is planned for Saturday afternoon. If you have something to share: slides, a video tape, a unique telescope, or anything else that people might enjoy, we encourage you to sign up. 

The registration fee is $75 per adult ( 13 and over) until July 26th (postmark date) . The fee is $85 after July 26th.   The late registration fee applies only to adults.  Children 5 to 12 are $60, and children  under 5 are $24.    The fee includes registration, meals and snacks, lodging or camping fees, and speakers' fees.  The fee does not include brats and hot dogs on Friday evening.

No refunds allowed after July 26th 2013.

The registration form is available  HERE , print it out, fill it out, and mail it to the address shown on the form. 

If you plan to bring a camper, park in the field adjacent to the observatory. There are a few electrical outlets available outside the observatory for your use. WE NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO BRING AN RV SINCE WE HAVE LIMITED SPACE FOR THEM !!

Beaver Creek Reserve has a pet policy  in affect:

"In the interest of health and safety of all our visitors and wildlife, pets are not allowed on the Reserve"

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

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

For more information, email CVAS at


Registration Form

Click HERE , print it out, fill it out, and mail it to the address shown on the form. 


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