Northern Prairie Star Party 2018

The fifteenth annual Northern Prairie Star Party will be held at the Black Nugget Lake campground south east of Tofield from September 4 to 9, 2018. Most of our group activities will occur on Friday, September 7 and Saturday, September 8.

This event is open to the public – registration fees apply. Camping fees apply if staying overnight.*

For more information, please review the schedule and rules & regulations (PDF) and the Northern Prairie Star Party main page.

If you need more information or have questions, please email Rick Bramm.

Saturday Afternoon Program (September 8)

1:45 Starting with a 32-inch mirror
Roman Unyk

2:45 The origin of gold and other very heavy elements in the Universe
Rodrigo Fernandez

3:45 Adventures in Meteor Chasing
Bruce McCurdy

Roman Unyk1:45 “Starting with a 32-inch mirror” – RASC Edmonton Centre member and master telescope builder Roman Unyk will show us how, over the past year, he has been building the telescope that will incorporate the very fine 32-inch Barry Arnold mirror donated by past RASC Edmonton Centre member Bob Drew. The Black Nugget Lake Observatory Committee is planning to install this unique instrument in an observatory to be constructed in 2018-2019.

Rodrigo Fernandez

2:45 “The origin of gold and other very heavy elements in the Universe” – Rodrigo Fernandez, Assistant Professor, University of Alberta will discuss last year’s detection of a neutron star merger and what astrophysicists have been able to deduce about the creation of gold and other very heavy elements in such events.

3:45 “Adventures in Meteor Chasing” – A single meteor provides visible proof that the heavens and the Earth are not “two solitudes” but share a single continuum. That these high-speed collisions can cluster at predictable times in meteor showers, episodic outbursts, or even storms has been a powerful magnet for our well-travelled and all-seasoned speaker, Bruce McCurdy. His talk will also include a brief segment on citizen science.

Telescope Clinics

Are you going to NPSP and are you going to bring your telescope? Are you confused about using your telescope? Then keep reading.

If you want one-on-one help with your telescope, sign up for a FREE Telescope Clinic.

To Make a Clinic Appointment we’re using Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click the button below or this link:

Click to Make a Clinic Appointment

2) Choose the time slot you like.
3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on*

* Note: does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please Alister Ling and he can sign you up manually.

Observing Certificates

First introduced by Warren Finlay for the 2014 NPSP, the observing certificates are meant to give attendees a specific goal to accomplish with their observing during NPSP. This year, over the duration of the star party, participants are welcome to complete one or more Observing Certificate (three levels, from observing “with keen eyes and no optical aid” to “uncommonly observed objects for advanced observers”). Also for this year is a mini-bimarathon interweaving five laps around a short cross-country course (each lap is 700 meters in length) with observing 10 specified Messier objects. The mini-bimarathon is a shorter version of the bimarathon, a unique observing challenge invented by Warren Finlay. The lists and instructions for the lists will be given out when people register on site at NPSP.


The 2018 NPSP t-shirt design features a stunning photograph taken by Rick Bramm of noctilucent clouds (NLCs) high over Edmonton taken near midnight on Canada Day. To help us with ordering the shirts, please let us know by emailing Rick Bramm if you would like (1) a long or short-sleeved t-shirt and (2) size extra-small, small, medium, large, extra-large or double extra-large. The cost is $20 for short-sleeved shirts and $25 for long-sleeved shirts. The deadline for reserving a shirt is Friday, August 17.

Spectacular Prizes!!

When you attend the 2018 Northern Prairie Star Party, you will receive two tickets. One will be for prizes given out at the end of the presentations, donated by All-Star Telescope, the Royal Astronomical Society – Edmonton Centre club and individual RASC members. These includes eye pieces, children’s science books, astronomy books, a framed photo of NLCs, calendars and more. The other ticket will be for prizes to be awarded at the BBQ, including a Celestron Astromaster 130 AZ telescope donated by All-Star Telescope and described below. A big thank you to All-Star Telescope for their steadfast and generous support of the Northern Prairie Star Party!


Telescope Prize for Newcomers to Astronomy in Attendance

The Celestron AstroMaster 130 AZ offers 5″ aperture light gathering on an easy-to-use AZ mount. Easier to use than an EQ – equatorial mount, you simple move the scope up and down and sideways to locate the celestial object. This scope will reveal hundreds of craters on the moon, show the four Galilean moons of Jupiter – Galilean moons are the four largest moons of Jupiter—Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. You will see the rings of Saturn, and a polar cap on Mars during opposition.

Retail value is $350. For more details, visit the All-Star Telescope website.

Artwork Prizes

We have some terrific artwork prizes this year from RASC – Edmonton Centre members.

Mark Zalcik, a long-time NPSP supporter and door-prize contributor has generously donated a signed photograph of noctilucent clouds by fellow NLC chaser, Mike Noble. Thank you, Mark!

Roman Paszewski has donated a small tapestry showing the moon and southern hemisphere constellations. Thank you, Roman!

Sherry Campbell has donated an original abstract acrylic fluid art painting. This piece was created using high flow acrylic paints in vibrant red, orange and white colours on a black background and represents a nebula in space. It is sealed against UV damage, has mounting hardware attached on the back and has been signed by the artist. For more details, visit: Etsy: Thank you, Sherry!

“Formation of Stellar Abyss” by Sherry Campbell

Interested in Donating a Prize?

If you would like to donate a prize, please email Rick Bramm.

* It is highly recommended that star party attendees who are planning to camp overnight reserve a site in the northern portion of the campground as soon as possible. Call the campground operator at 780-663-2421 to reserve, stating that you are attending the Northern Prairie Star Party.

If you need more information or have questions, please email Rick Bramm.