Answers to come of the most common questions we are being asked...
Are families and pets welcome?
Yes, very much so. Obviously the normal star party rule applies, i.e. dogs on leads and children under control at all time (the astronomy kit is fragile and expensive and Shallow Grange is a working farm with all the hazards that involves) but the Peak District is a very family friendly place. There are several walks straight from the farm so there is plenty of good walking and playing area in easy reach. There is also a huge variety of things for all the family to do. The Local Attractions page lists local tourist attractions and we are trying to get discount vouchers for as many as possible.
What time do we have to leave on the last day?
Nominal site checkout time is 11am. However, the owners have kindly said that anybody whose pitch is not booked can take their time and leave when they are ready (within reason!). Obviously, people who want to stay on afterwards don't need to vacate their pitch at all! Please book any extensions directly with Shallow Grange.
How secure is the site?
The site is reasonably secure. Other than for carefully managed outreach events, there will only be other astronomers and residential site visitors on site. There is a barrier preventing unauthorised vehicular access to the site and all day visitors will park outside this barrier.
We are arranging volunteer marshals to ensure the site has somebody around at all times and there will almost always be other astronomers around. We will also have a full list of all people attending and will help out where possible if anything is stolen. That said, something we have to stress is that we are running this on a voluntary basis and no part of the charges goes to the organisers – as such, we do not guarantee any security and provide no additional insurance so you are advised to make sure your own insurance will cover all your possessions.
How much electricity do I need to buy?
Each EHU pitch booking comes with a £1 token per night. At Feb 2013 prices, £1 will give about 6kWh of electricity. Additional cards can be purchased from the Star Party marshals during reasonable hours and will be valid for your full stay. Any fully unused cards can be returned when you leave.
The amount you need will depend on the power consumption of your equipment and how long you want to run it for. Energy needed (kWh) = total running power (NOT maximum power) x running hours. For instance, if your kit draws an average of 400W in total and you want to run it for 8 hours (e.g. 10pm to 6am), it will need 0.4kW * 8hr = 3.2kWh. This is about half of the amount included each night with each booking.
Some more reference figures:
- At maximum power supply, a 16A EHU will deliver about 3.6kW (2 hours on one card)
- An 8A EHU will deliver about 1.8kW (4 hours on one card)
- An EQ6 Pro mount has a 5A 13.8V power supply, drawing 69W maximum (probably abut 100W, allowing for losses in the transformer).
- Powerful laptops draw about 300W at full power - typically much less than this in normal use.
- A big Starlight Express CCD and camera (SXVF-H35) draws about 12W (1A at 12V)
- A laptop at 50% CPU + EQ6 Pro + SXVF-H35 will therefore draw ABOUT 270W, which will take about 22hr to use 6kWh.
- Electric heaters rated at 3kW at about a 50% duty cycle (to heat a caravan over night, say) will exhaust 6kWh supply in 4 hours.
Note: the amount of electricity each card will provide will depend on the cost of electricity; at the end of 2012 these rates were believed to be correct for PSP2013.
Can I cancel my booking?
Yes - please see Peak Star Party Terms & Conditions for details.
Can I transfer or sell on my booking?
No - we need to control what vehicles go on what pitch, to minimise damage to Shallow Grange's fields in the event of wet weather. The only way we can do this is to control pitch allocations ourselves. Please see "Can I cancel my booking", above.