ASV Messier Star Party 2021
I'm an introvert, and I do like it this way. One of the things about introversion is that it lends itself well to astronomy (as well as birding) as pastimes. I like being alone on the astrophotography field, working at my images, solving problems (which are legion), and watching images come down.
However, humans are social creatures. I don't want to do the solitary thing all the time. Most interaction I have with other people in the hobby is done through social media, which is good, but it's not as good as being face-to-face. It also doesn't help when you have a problem and need advice. Any help I get on social media comes from someone who is hearing about my issue distantly, removed in both time and space.
Twice a year, the Astronomical Society of Victoria holds star parties. They're held up at the ASV's dark sky site in Central Victoria. The latest one was in March, and a couple of hundred people turned up, including a limited number of non-members.
I took this photo at the latest event. With Diego's help, I'd finally got my system going and I had some time.
Pointing west from the astrophotographic field, the scene is pretty typical for midnight. The crowds have thinned after the presentations and Perry has put his laser away. They've probably moved up to the big 40 inch visual scope.
Three people are at a computer attached to a telescope. The computer is turned so that others aren't dazzled by the screen. They're discussing an image that's just downloaded (or maybe it's a live stack).
Behind them is the ASV's Leon Mow Radio Observatory, which is quite an impressive structure. To their right is the all-important power supply post and behind them, probably more than a few metres behind the radio dish, is the setting Orion.
Star parties are a great addition to solitary astronomy. You get to meet your social media friends, run into new people (more scouts!), or get hands-on, immediate help. It's just another benefit of joining your local astronomy society!