Can I camp and stay with my equipment? Tell me about the observing fields!
Spruce Knob is a rolling landscape, so we have designed the camping around the flattest areas. For this event unlike AHSP since it is for a small number of participants you will be able to car camp in all observing fields with your observing equipment. There will be limited RV spaces the same as AHSP since it requires out of the way flat space. These spots go quickly to be sure to register early.
The Observing Field is for those who wish to park at their campsite with a single car for each registration. The field will not be measured and marked off like AHSP since there should be more than enough space to spread out, but please be mindful of others around you. This is enough space for a good size tent, a car, and your astronomical gear for observing.
The RV Space is intended for RVs, other vehicles longer than 14′ and taller than 8′ (like a car-top tent). This distinction helps keep obstructions away from the main observing area.
What do I do for food and water?
You can either bring your own food and cook it on the mountain or sign up for the NOSP meal plan.
If you choose to bring your own food, you are responsible for supplying coolers, cooking, and dining equipment. You can always bring your food down to the yurt deck and eat with the group or enjoy it at your campsite.
Meals are provided on site in a cafeteria style, and you can choose to participate in any combination of them in full-day increments. Each meal day includes lunch and dinner and the following breakfast. For example, Thursday meals include lunch and dinner on Thursday, then breakfast on Friday.
More menu information will be forthcoming.
Coffee is provided all day each day.
Plenty of potable mountain well water is available from a pipe along the road between the observing fields. You can also fill up in the shower building or at the Main Yurt.
Can I have a campfire and cook my own meals?
You may not have a open campfire. You may, however, use self-contained stoves and chemical heating packs.
Are there bathrooms and showers?
Male and female bathrooms and shower rooms are located behind the yurts and are open 24 hours a day. NOSP participants should bring towels, toiletries, and shower shoes.
There are also portable toilets available in multiple locations on the camping field, and each is outfitted with a dispenser containing hand sanitizer.
We maintain a composting toilet (“No ‘P’ in the ‘ooper’, please!”) behind the Main Yurt. Novel use of colored bottle glass windows and solar night light.
How do I get around at the site?
SKMC is a large site. The distance between the camping area and the main yurt is approximately 1/4 mile. Please contact us if you have mobility concerns; we’ll do our best to answer your questions and arrange assistance if needed.
The use of personal vehicles on the site is restricted. Moving your vehicle is not permitted from 8 pm to 8 am except in the case of an emergency. At all other times, vehicles are allowed to enter and exit the site. However, traffic may not pass beyond the long-term parking area going toward the Yurt without permission from the NOSP Staff.
Some attendees have brought bicycles to the site to ride between the observing fields and the yurt/bathhouse. That works for us!
Is there phone, radio, or internet connectivity?
Cellular service is generally unavailable. SKMC is in a remote area, and also within the National Radio Quiet Zone surrounding the Green Bank Observatory. You should not expect your cell phone to have service. Other cell-based technologies like OnStar and cell-based navigation are also very unreliable. GPS and other satellite-based services are not affected and should operate normally.
Wifi-based Internet service will be limited to the deck around the outside of the Main Yurt so you can access the web, check your email.
Phone service is available in the yurts by contacting the EL event personnel. There is no charge for calls to destinations within the continental United States.