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Stargazing At the Park

Information for long-term and short term stargazing

Cherry Springs Star Party

Stunning photo of the summer Milky Way taken at Cherry Springs by Amitabh Mukhejee

ASTRONOMY OBSERVATION FIELD *********  NEW REGULATIONS!!!
PERMIT CONDITIONS
1. Astronomy Observation Field permits will only be issued for the purpose of overnight viewing of the night sky, with viewing and/or photography equipment, for the full night.
2. All non-red lighting is prohibited after sunset, including interior lighting, exterior lighting, computers and other devices. Excessive red lighting is prohibited. All lasers are prohibited except for collimation devices used for lens and mirror alignment. Lighting restrictions are lifted in times of emergencies and severe weather.
3. Galaxy Pass holders must obtain and fully complete the required permit, including their assigned Galaxy Pass number before setting up on the Astronomy Observation Field. Galaxy Pass holders are exempt from the nightly fee requirement. Persons accompanying Galaxy Pass holders, who are not Galaxy Pass holders themselves, must obtain a separate camping permit and pay the appropriate fees.
4. Driving on the field after sunset is prohibited except in case of emergency.
5. Campfires are prohibited on the Astronomy Observation Field.
6. Cooking that creates excessive smoke, open flame or spattering grease is prohibited.
7. Electric pedestals are for telescope, computers, and small appliance use only.
8. Visitor hours are from 9 a.m. to midnight.
9. Quiet hours are from midnight to 9 a.m.
10. No more than one family unit or 5 persons, if not a family unit, may occupy the site.
11. Occupants shall include at least one person 18 years of age or older. A responsible person of at least 18 years of age shall accompany each group. Sites are limited to one camping unit (camping trailer or recreation vehicle) or two tents.
12. Maximum camping period is limited to 14 consecutive nights in the summer and 21 consecutive nights in the non-summer season. All camping equipment must be removed from the field for at least 48 hours at the end of any 14-night or 21-night period.
13. This permit may not be assigned or transferred.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

LONG TERM AND OVERNIGHT STARGAZING: (Check your lunar calendars!!  If the moon is out..the stars are not!....we recommend you plan to visit during the dark-of -the-moon periods of the month)

NO PETS ARE PERMITTED ON THE ASTRONOMY OBSERVATION FIELD AT NIGHT OR WHEN ASTRONOMY EQUIPMENT IS PRESENT.  Dogs are also not permitted overnight at the campground.  Pet camping is available at Lyman Run State Park.  We also DISCOURAGE dogs at the public programs. Please leave your animals at home.

The Astronomy Observation Field is for overnight stay ONLY Only those with Astronomy Equipment (Observing equipment) are to use this side of the park (fee required) .  All others should be using the NIGHT SKY PUBLIC VIEWING AREA (no fee). 

YOU MUST PAY A FEE TO BE ON THE ASTRONOMY OBSERVATION FIELD! - All individuals using the Observation Field are required to pay the fee...this is not a per car or per group fee.  Galaxy Passes are required to be displayed in a prominent area and your nightly fee honor system envelope stub should be placed on the dash of your vehicle. Your fees should be paid prior to set up.

Park in the public parking lot...do NOT park on light blocking earth berms!

When the field is in use, the gate may be closed at dusk (do NOT lock) and the light block tarp can be dropped. Please undo the end straps first, then the center strap. Tarp may have water in it, so step back when lowering. The last person to leave the field is responsible for rolling the tarp back up and securing. No driving onto the Astronomy Field after dark.  Park across the road and walk in.

No white light is permitted on the Astronomy Observation Field. All lights must have red filters or need to be fully shielded. If you arrive after dark then you must park in the public lot across the road and walk in. Green lasers are prohibited at all times.  Only park staff and designated Dark Sky Volunteers are permitted to use green lasers in the Night Sky Viewing area (public programming area) of the park.  Excessive or over bright red light is also not permitted...keep it low!

Open fires on the Observation Field are not permitted. For your convenience, charcoal grills are located in the picnic area at the pavilion. Propane stoves are suggested.   No dish washing is permitted in the restrooms or at the hydrants. Please wash dishes in a dish pan, then dispose of the water. Food scraps invite scavengers, such as black bears, raccoons, opossums and skunks. Cherry Springs has a carry-in: carry-out trash policy most of the season..

See the park mini-map for further rules and regulations. All state park regulations also apply. No pets or alcoholic beverages are permitted.

SHORT TERM STAR- GAZING:

There is NO FEE for using the NIGHT SKY VIEWING AREA short term. However, during scheduled programs which will become "ticket only and reservation only" events this July, you may not be allowed to enter the public area while a program is being offered.  There is limited parking available and ticket holders will be given priority. If no program is scheduled, this restriction will not apply.  DO NOT PARK VEHICLES ON THE EARTH MOUNDS..YOUR VEHICLE MUST BE PARKED FLAT IN THE LOTS.

This is not a camping area and overnight stay is NOT PERMITTED. 

If you would like to come out and enjoy the magnificent night sky at Cherry Springs and only wish to gaze for a few hours, you may do so at the Night Sky Viewing area located north of Rt. 44. ( Please note the above notice about access during scheduled park programs) Public parking lots are located here along with several information kiosks and waysides. You may follow the walkway out to the public program area where benches are located and you will be shielded from passing vehicle lights. There is also a backlit summer sky map wayside located on this pathway...press the button at the lower side of the display to activate the red light. Please use a red filter or cover for your flashlight to preserve your night vision. Please remember to always direct your light downward.  Red cellophane works best and can be wrapped on the end of your flashlight with a rubber band. Cellophane and rubber bands are available at the Night Sky kiosk or will be available at the programs.

Cherry Springs State Park is located on top of a mountain and the weather generally tends to be on the cool side. It can also be damp. It is recommended that you wear proper clothing and foot gear. Feel free to bring out your own blankets, lawn chairs, binoculars and telescopes when you visit the park. Check the Public Program page for astronomy programs being presented at the park.

Please dress appropriately and we discourage your from bringing any pets with you...it is dangerous for them in the public program area as it is dark and people cannot see them on the ground...if they are injured or they injure someone or their property, you are responsible for ALL of their actions.  Be advised that pets are NOT permitted on the Astronomy Observation Field while astronomers are present.