Star Party History Main Page by Bruce Johnson, Group Photographer
OSP BEGINNINGS: The Oregon Star Parties in 1988,
1989, 1990, and 1991 were all held high on Steens Mountain in
extreme Southeastern Oregon, This is one of the most remote and
darkest sky locations in the entire United States! "Visibility"
at Steens ranks among the highest still left in the United States
(see page bottom
Steens Mountain rises in Harney County, near the Nevada border... From 1992 to the present (2014),
we have held OSP in the Ochoco Mountains near Prineville, Oregon,
not nearly so high and remote, but still very dark skies.
To the left is the first
official OSP Group Photo. It is from the 1989 event. We were tiny
and intimate back then.....Our 1989 Group Photo shows 11 Stalwart
Astro parents and kids relaxing at our observing site, a 7,400
ft high dry lake bed near Fish Lake on the west slopes of Steens
Mountain.......... OSP Director Chuck and his wife Judy are on
the far right. Author's Son Russ is on the far left. The OSP Committee
members at that time were only four: myself, Chuck, Judy, and
Candace. Find pictures of OSP 88 on the next page....For a complete story on "Big Red," the classy Coulter 10-inch Dob seen on the picture's
here. Click here
to see some classic
OSP labels on Big
OSP 2009 Sunset
and Carolyn Find OSP Ochocos site
Links, eg. Oregon Astronomy,
Artists and Galleries, Save the Gribble Barn, and GoSaab
OSP, Indian Trail Spring, Ochoco Mtns '92-'98.
Includes 1994, and 1995 with John Dobson and Richard Berry
new totem tree, the Lightning Tree (1995), plus
section on the danger of Fire Closing down the OSP
2003 Group Photo, OSP Ochocos... (tour
the waters of Indian Trail Springs)
Group Photo and link to page about OSP tickets and raffles!
OSP late afternoon temperature and humidity are ideal! Your optics
stay dry at our 5,000 ft. site in the Ochoco Mountains of Central
Oregon! Sunburn Risk at OSP is high even though we typically hold
our event a full two months after Summer Solistice.
OSP UVB levels
and Sunburn dangers at OSP---
Beware! UV intensity at OSP is usually much higher than you are
accustomed to! In 2011, OSP was held more than two months after
the Summer Solistice; nevertheless, I recorded a very high 374
on September 2nd; but back at my home in Olympia, Washington two
days later I could only coax a reading of 272 out of my meter,
and two days after that, on an apparently clear days, I could
only get 238! At OSP 2011, even late morning UVB levels were over
300; eg. a strong 317 at 11:20am (Daylight time) on Saturday!.
.... And back at OSP 2008, even higher readings were obtained,
a blistering 390, despite the date of August 30th!
This 390 reading is 140 points higher than I could coax out of
my meter during the next few days after OSP at my home in Olympia,
Washington (a result which I replicated in 2009)! For a full discussion
of UVB levels and research in Oregon, click here. In relation to the high elevation of OSP, pay
special attention to the section detailing late-season UVB readings
at the comparable elevation of Timberline
to OSP Main Page
my Steens Mountain/Alvord Desert pages
Visit the Official OSP site's History
to OregonPhotos Main Page
last revised 2/12/2017
Lovers of the out-of-doors
delight in distant panoramas, but many have noticed with disappointment
that days with crisp, clean air and fine distant panoramas are
rarer and rarer all across the U.S...... historical accounts of
early Oregon often mention the pleasing views of very distant
mountain peaks available even from within the lowlands of the
Willamette Valley, while early mountaineer's accounts mention
feats of distant vision that astound the climbers of today, and
which may never be rivalled again...... A good example are reports
from such high points in Central Oregon as Paulina Peak that the major peaks from Oregon, California and
Washington were all visible at one time, the minimum distance
involved being 180 miles from 8,000 ft. Paulina Peak to 14,000
Shasta in California,
and 160 miles to 12,000 ft. Mt.
Adams in Washington.
"Typical visual range
in the eastern U.S. is 15 to 30 miles, or about one-third of what
it would be without human caused air pollution. In the West, the
typical visual range is 60 to 90 miles, or about one-half of the
visual range under natural conditions. Haze diminishes the natural
Haze is caused by fine particles
that scatter and absorb light before it reaches the observer.
As the number of fine particles increases, more light is absorbed
and scattered, resulting in less clarity, color, and visual range."
Source: Official Dept. of Agriculture Site: http://www.fsvisimages.com/viscause.html
Skies vs. Light Pollution"
I came upon a really evocative article about the light pollution
problem facing our World as a whole. The writer, Verlyn Klinkenborg,
in this November 2008 National Geographic article, wrote:
most cities the sky looks as though it has been emptied of stars,
leaving behind a vacant haze that mirrors our fear of dark and
resembles the urban glow of dystopian science fiction. We've grown
so used to this pervavsive orange haze that the original glory
of an unlit night - dark enough for the planet Venus to throw
shadows on Earth - is wholly beyond our experience, beyond memory
almost. And yet above the city's pale ceiling, utterly undiminished
by the light we waste - a bright shoal of stars and planets and
galaxies, shining in seemingly infinite darkness."