Feedback: Star Party at Rights Farm October 2011


Off the N14, a much used road with many ugly potholes lead eleven members in seven vehicles toward Rights farm, nestled peacefully in the heart of the Free State Farmlands, away from the rat race, noise and pollution. We were joined by many family visitors, wives and children too.

Three grizzling hot days when neither beast nor man had the energy to stir, but, when dusk fell, friendship and laughter filled the air between mother earth and wondrous bejewelled heavens while we tucked into our braais around the camp fire.

Each and every night we spent time in patches of silence and awe. Star gazing does that to one. The night skies have a tendency to make one feel humble in the face of creation. Time passes and all pain and frustration melts away. Who would think our heavens, a complex network of gas clouds, star clusters and nebulae could have that effect on one.

We saw the naked eye planet, Jupiter with it’s spot, mag.-2.9 and it’s moon Io. In the early evening before the sun had fully set we were able to see Venus as our evening star, before she sank for the night.

Stars, constellations and the Magellanic Clouds, large and small, were studied through binoculars, not to mention the telescopes that were set up, ranging from the trusted eight inch Dobby to much larger telescopes. Johan had his brand new Meade ten inch out too.

Nothing replaces the excitement of seeing the beauties of space in photograph. Our Photograph Fundis were hard at work taking every opportunity, delighting in the clarity of the night sky and sharing much valuable information on “how to do it”. The Horsehead, the Milky way, the Flame Nebula, the triffids and many more were photographed.

Come Sunday, when every tent had packed and gone, the only reminder left, sadly, was an oil trail down the road from a rock-pierced oil sump.

Rights Farm owners were wonderful and our grateful thanks go out to them for their generosity and kindness.