IceInSpace AstroCamp, Lostock 2006

The IceInSpace AstroCamp at Lostock is a new star party being organised by the IceInSpace community. The event will be held over 3 nights, from the 26th to the 29th of January 2006, at Lostock Scout Camp, Lostock in the beautiful Hunter Valley area of NSW. The location was chosen because of its proximity to Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle, and at under 4 hours drive from Sydney you'll be amongst clear, very dark skies in a lovely country setting.

There is bunkbed accomodation for up to 50 people in the two onsite farmhouses, or you can camp out in the large fields which have held over 500 scouts - so space is not a problem! The farmhouses also have a BBQ, full kitchen facilities, 240v power, half a dozen showers and toilets, fridges and freezers. For off-site accomodation, the Lostock Caravan Park is only 6 km's away on the edge of Lostock Dam.

There'll be plenty to do when it's not dark, with a swimming hole to cool off during the hot summer days, as well as organised talks and workshops to cater for both newcomers and experienced amateur astronomers alike. You can go for leisurely drives through beautiful rolling hills, or a short trip takes you to the popular Hunter Valley wineries area.

Take this great opportunity to meet up with and observe with the friendly guys in the IceInSpace community. The AstroCamp is not restricted to IceInSpace forum members, it's open to anyone from anywhere! Of course we'd love you to join the forum community and join in the discussions and the fun, and we're very welcoming to newcomers.


A very big thanks to our generous sponsors who have donated prizes to the IceInSpace AstroCamp 2006. They are Bintel, Wildcard Innovations, myAstroShopSKY:Lab Astronomy Software, Australian Sky & Telescope, Heazlewoods Bushby International, ...



Vital Stats

 Date:  26-29 January 2006 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights)
 Location:  Lostock Scout Camp, Lostock (near Dungog/Gresford. It's about 3-4 hours drive North of Sydney)
Cost:  See below for breakdown of costs
To Book:  IceInSpace AstroCamp Booking Form (opens in a new window)
Agenda:  IISAC Agenda (40k PDF)
Forms and Policies:  Light Use Policy, General Field Policy, FAQ, Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
Maps:  General Location, Aerial Map, How to get there, Field Map
Lat/Long:  Long: 151.4356 ° E , Lat: 32.3372 ° S , Elevation: 200m
Group Photo:  Saturday, 5:30pm at the Bottom House. Please make yourself available!
Forum Thread:  For all discussions and questions
Anything else:  Email me: mike AT iceinspace .com. au


Features of the Site

  • Exclusive use!
  • Very dark skies
  • 2 farmhouses with up to 18 bunkbeds each (bring own linen)
  • Loads of room for camping
  • Huge observing fields with good open viewing (no trees etc)
  • Can park car near scope/tent
  • Power available on-site for recharging batteries, etc.
  • Undercover area for meetings/presentations/wet weather etc
  • The houses have full kitchens (stoves, cutlery, glasses, hotwater)
  • Each house has 5 showers and 5 toilets
  • Swimming hole for cooling off during a hot summer day
  • Off-site caravan park at Lostock Dam, about 6km's away

Competitions and Prizes


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12" Premium GSO Dob

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Orion 80mm ED OTA

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Argo Navis DTC

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Vixen LV 6mm

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STAR Atlas:Pro - Level II

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Subscription to AS&T

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Legal Advice

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4.5" EQ reflector

There will be a range of competitions and prizes on offer at the IceInSpace AstroCamp 2006, including:

Lucky Door Prizes

  • A 12" Premium GSO Dob, with crayford focuser, cooling fan and 3 eyepieces, sponsored by Bintel (valued at $1099).
  • A brand new Orion 80mm ED OTA, donated by a very generous IceInSpace Forum member (valued at $699).
  • An Argo Navis Digital Telescope Computer, sponsored by Wildcard Innovations (valued at $599).
  • A Vixen LV 6mm eyepiece, sponsored by myAstroShop (valued at $249)
  • A copy of STAR Atlas:PRO - Level II, sponsored by SKY Lab: Astronomy Software (valued at $129)
  • A 1-year subscription to Australian Sky & Telescope (valued at $82.50)
  • LEGAL ADVICE PRIZE: Rod Berry, partner of Heazlewoods Bushby International Lawyers, who specialises in litigation involving commercial disputes, employment law and disputed estates, will provide legal advice to the lucky winner, which may be taken in the form of the preparation and safe custody of a will, or advice on any disputed matter of a legal nature to the equivalent value of $500
  • A second-hand (in good condition) 4 1/2" EQ-mounted reflector , donated by forum member Orion.

Novelty Competitions

  • Counterweight Tossing Contest

The Important Competition Rules are set out in the Rules and Conditions section below. Please be sure you read them.

What To Bring!

Following is a list of items you should seriously consider bringing to the AstroCamp.

  • A chair (foldup/other). There are very few chairs on site, please bring your own.
  • A picnic table, or other small table. There are very few tables on site, please bring your own. 
  • Insect repellant (there will be mosquitoes and flies!)
  • Toiletries (towel, soap, shampoo, toothbrush etc)
  • 1 or 2 toilet rolls. These will go into a "pool" for use by everyone in the 10+ toilets on site.
  • Linen (pillow, sheets, blankets, sleeping bags)
  • Drink bottles for water (it will be hot, drink plenty of water)
  • Hat, sunscreen (it will be hot!)
  • Swimming costumes, towels (there is a swimming hole)
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks (dinner is provided each night). The nearest town for supplies is Gresford, about 25-30 minutes away.
  • Batteries for powered scopes (240v power will be limited)
  • Cardboard box for your laptop (see Light Use Policy)
  • Torch with deep red filter (see Light Use Policy)
  • Garbage Bags. There are no facilities for litter disposal. We will all have to take our rubbish away with us.
  • Tarps for under your scope
  • Tarps/covers for over your scope
  • Wet weather games (hopefully they won't be needed!)
  • If bringing children, please bring enough games and toys to keep them happily busy! :)
  • Your signed Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form.

Things to Know!

Along with the What to Bring section above, here are a few important things to know if coming to the IceInSpace AstroCamp 2006 at Lostock.

  • Please come to the bottom house (HQ) when you arrive to collect your info pack, name tag and raffle ticket for the lucky door prize. We will also note down your car registration number for emergency purposes.
  • The Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form must be signed and handed in when you arrive. This is to protect IceInSpace and the organisers against legal action if someone hurts themselves at the camp. All care is taken, but ultimately you are responsible. Please read the legal waiver now. And remember, it must be signed and handed in if you wish to stay at the camp.
  • There is no mobile reception at Lostock. Once you're in Gresford, CDMA will work but GSM may not. There is a phone in the bottom farmhouse which can accept incoming calls, but can only make outgoing calls to emergency (ie: 000).
  • An "info pack" will be distributed when you arrive, containing rules, policies, the agenda, and local tourist information.
  • There are 2 farmhouses, the bottom house is the HQ and the top house (5 minutes walk) also has facilities and beds. Each farmhouse holds about 18 beds. For those that have booked bunkbed accomodation, it is first-in best dressed when choosing your bunk.
  • In the case of an emergency (bushfire, etc), please meet at the muster point - see the field map.
  • Please be all packed up and be ready to leave the camp by midday Sunday. We need to leave it how we found it, so please help clean up any mess you make.

Guest Speakers and Workshops

Please see the Agenda for the day and time that these activities are on.

Guest Speakers

The following guest speakers will give intruiging and interesting talks to entertain and enlighten us.

  • Gary Kopff from Wildcard Innovations - talking about the history of Wildcard Innovations and the development of the Argo Navis Digital Telescope Computer.
  • Lesa Moore, PhD Student at Macquarie University - talking about her PhD project on low surface brightness galaxies in the Virgo cluster.


A number of activities are planned to keep us busy during the day, while still allowing plenty of time to just relax, or go on sight-seeing tours of the Hunter Valley or local surrounds.

  • Anthony Wesley ("bird") - talking about, and demonstrating techniques for hi-res planetary imaging.
  • Tony Hitchcock ("Itchy") and Scott Alder ("tornado33") will be giving a workshop on DSLR Astrophotography, techniques and processing.
  • Paul Russell ("1ponders") will demonstrate techniques for polar aligning an EQ mount and will cover drift aligning for imaging
  • It is hoped to have workshops on collimation and other telescope issues - if you'd like to present a workshop please contact me.


What's in the Sky at Lostock?

Late January is a great time to be observing under a dark sky. Wind your planetarium software forward and see what great stuff is on offer! Here is a sample of objects that will be in favourable viewing positions during the IceInSpace AstroCamp 2006.

  • Saturn at Opposition (20" at -0.23 mag)
  • Juipter rising at 12:30am (36" at -1.97 mag)
  • More objects to come..

Night Sky Tours

Ed (Orion) will be giving nightly sky tours using his 18" Reflector, powered by ServoCat and Argo Navis. The tours will be from 8:30pm to 10pm each night. Ed will cover most of the popular objects listed above, and can also take requests. It's a great way to see some well known objects through a large telescope.

Food and Beverage

The bunkhouses have fridges and freezers, as well as a full kitchen, cooking facilities and 2 BBQ's. As part of your fee, a BBQ dinner will be provided each of the 3 nights for your consumption. Gresford RFB will be catering the dinners, and it will consist of steaks, sausages, salads and desert. Because the meals are catered, if you turn up without booking please be aware that there may not be a meal for you.

Breakfast and Lunch is not catered, and you must make your own arrangements. You are welcome to use the facilities provided and they are available for use by all paid attendees.

Tea and Coffee will be on-tap, 24 hours a day. Cans of cold soft-drink will be available for $1 each.

The nearest shops for restocking and supplies are in Gresford, which is about a 20-30 minute drive from the camp.


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IISAC t-shirt

Prices and Booking

Book early! Bunkbed accomodation is limited, so be fast to secure your spot. On the booking form, you'll choose your option of bunkbed, camping or off-site accomodation.

Use this booking form to book your place! (opens in a new window)

Participants who have made a booking and paid their money are eligible for the lucky door prize competition.

The cost shown is a per-person, per-night cost. If you are staying 2 or 3 nights, multiply the cost by 2 or 3. A child is under 13 years of age.

$22 (Adult) / $17 (Child) $20 (Adult) / $15 (Child) $17 (Adult) / $12 (Child)

The price covers:

  • Use of the facilities
  • Meals for all 3 nights
  • Coffee/Tea on tap

Optional Extras:

  • IceInSpace Red Light Pens at the discount price of $5
  • IceInSpace printed t-shirts (TBA)
  • "Astronomy 2006" yearbook (limited stock) for $18

Rules and Conditions


  • IceInSpace and the organisers of the AstroCamp accept no responsibility for the safety or security of your posessions while at the Astronomy Camp.
  • Please supervise all young children, as there will be expensive telescope equipment that the owners won't want knocked over.
  • When driving, be aware of local wildlife and drive slowly and carefully. The last 20km's into Lostock is narrow and winding and you never know what's around the corner.
  • The road into Lostock is narrow and winding. When driving, please be careful and take your time, especially in the wet or dark.
  • It is a condition of entry that you sign and hand in the Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form when you arrive.


Lucky Door Prize Rules

  • Everyone who has a paid booking (whether staying on-site or off-site) will receive a raffle ticket for the lucky door prize when they arrive. That is, each person on your booking will receive a raffle ticket.
  • If you turn up on the day without making a booking, you can still be eligible for the draw if you pay when you arrive and sign the Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form.
  • You are only eligible for the draw if you have signed and handed in the Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form.
  • You (or your ticket) must be present at the draw to claim the prize. If the prize is not claimed within 2 minutes, a new ticket will be drawn.
  • Gary Kopff from Wildcard Innovations will be drawing the tickets out of the hat. 
  • Each ticket that is drawn (in order) will get their choice of the (remaining) prizes on offer, until all prizes are won.
  • The competition will begin at 4:30pm on Saturday the 28th January 2006.
  • The prize may not be converted to cash.



Here are some pictures of the Location. Hopefully you can imagine what it will look like, full of scopes, tents and happy observers!


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Observing/Camping areas

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Observing/Camping areas

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Observing/Camping areas

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Observing/Camping areas

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Bottom farmhouse

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Bottom farmhouse

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The kitchen

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The road in

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The swimming hole

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The toilet/shower block
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
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