FWAS maintains a dark-sky observing site (aka "dark site") west of Fort Worth. This dark site is manitained by volunteer club members and affords members a private, secure, dark location from which to observe and explore the hobby of amateur astronomy. We encourage all members to go out and use this remote site as often as you can.
FWAS also owns four 10-inch Dobsonians, two 12-inch Dobsonians, one 14.5-inch Dobsonian and a 19.5-inch equatorial fork newtonian (this one is permanently housed at the dark site), as well as eyepieces and other equipment for observing, all of which are available for our members to use at our dark site.
The site is open to all current FWAS members at all times throughout the year. On special occassions, FWAS holds club events such as Novice Nights, for members new to the hobby wanting to learn more about their equipment and observing techniques, as well as events such as Messier Marathons, Meteor Shower observing sessions, etc. The club also holds club picnics at the site throughout the year, which includes food cooked on site and brought by members, and encourages socializing early in the evening before sunset, with all the members before the actual observing begins at sundown.
As mentioned above, during the spring, we often hold a Messier Marathon at the dark site. These are fun, friendly competitions between members to see who can find the most objects from the Messier list of deep sky objects.
FWAS uses a remote 36 acre wilderness property about 2 hours (approx 100 miles) WSW outside of the downtown Ft. Worth Metroplex area. This was formerly used by the UNT astronomy department for their observation site. FWAS has open use and development of the property for our club purposes. Along with other equipment, our largest telescope, the "Ed Calvert" memorial 19.5 inch equatorial newtonian (donatated to the club), is now mounted permanently here and is housed in its own observatory building and is available for all member use.
NOTE: Overnight camping IS ALLOWED at this site (due to it's remoteness). However, there is no running water or plumbed restrooms at this site. However there is an indoor solar powered composting toilet available. FWAS has small solar power station with USB, 12VDC, and 115VAC power electricity available.
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Star Party Etiquette
All FWAS members should read and follow the star party etiquette guidelines on the provided link, before attending a star party or the club's dark site.
Star Party Etiquette is the courtesies and guidelines that all members hould follow to prevent interrupting or interferring with another member's observing or astrophotography session.
Many of our members who do astrophotography spend hours taking exposures of faint objects and a flashlight or headlights can ruin all that effort.
Also lights will wash out a person's dark adaption in their eyes requiring at least 45 minutes to reestablish full dark adaption again. So please familiarize yourself with and follow these simple common sense rules at star parties and dark sites.
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