Rules and Etiquette

It would be a mistake to impose too many regulations on an event where informality is a main attraction. That being said, here are a few suggestions that can help to make everyone's visit a positive experience.


  • Lighting campfires is not permitted at any time. No exceptions !
  • Report medical emergencies to an MKSP official.
  • Restrain your pets at all times. Dogs MUST be on leashes. In the limited camping space available, the otherwise normal territorial behavior that dogs exhibit can cause serious problems.
  • Drive your vehicle dead slow (walking pace) on the bare, dusty summit as delicate equipment is everywhere, and airborne dust can harm it.
  • Generators must be muffled and may only be operated between noon and 6pm except until dusk if required for an official MKSP presentation.

 Specific Rules around Lights

To help preserve observers' dark adaptation and to preserve the best conditions possible for astrophotography at our mile-high observing site, a ban on all lighting will be in effect from 9:30 PM until 4:30 AM on observable nights. Dim red light for chart reading excluded

This ban includes:
  • Dim red lights only, dusk to dawn.
  • No Laser Pointer use is permitted, except for approved MKSP presentations.
  • Vehicle lights of any kind. If you plan to drive away during the light-restricted hours, park on the main road below the Kobau sign, facing downhill. If parked on-site, please disable your vehicle's dome light.
  • Trailer and RV interior lights, unless windows are tightly light-shielded. A handy tip - These same shades can be used when sleeping in each morning to keep sunlight out.
  • Coleman lanterns or similar forms of outdoor lighting.
  • Flashlights, unless heavily red-filtered.
  • Flaming Sambucas.

Note: In an emergency, if you must turn on a light, give a warning yell. Others can then take steps to protect their night vision or astro-photo efforts.

Camping Guidelines

  • Please review the following wildlife safety information:
  • This is a wilderness preserve and usable space is limited. When choosing your spot, respect the environment (stay out of fields that aren't cleared). Please don't block access to the space around you.
  • Carry your own water. There is no water on the summit.
  • Take your garbage when leaving. Remember the motto: "Pack it in, pack it out." Need a garbage bag? Ask us!
  • Observing on Mt. Kobau can give you the shivers, so be prepared for warm days (16 - 25 degrees C) and cold nights (0 - 10 degrees C) Wear winter clothing for observing!
  • Overnight camping is permitted on Mount Kobau only for the duration of the Star Party
  • Bring plenty of sunscreen.


  • Generators are to be used between the hours of noon and 6 pm, except for power needs at twilight talks. In all cases, generators should be enclosed or otherwise muffled so as to not disturb nearby campers. Consult your neighbors!
  • Speak quietly if you observe well into the morning. Remember that, for various reasons, many others don't.
  • Parents, please be thoughtful for other participants and keep a check on the voices of happy (or otherwise) children.(This is an Observer's star party.)
  • Quiet before noon -- observers sleep late!

Oversights Include

  • Talking (except in inaudible whispers), especially if near tents.
  • Clattering of your breakfast dishes.
  • Starting internal combustion engines and generators.
  • Playing music from your car radio or ghetto-blaster

*** It must be noted the the aroma of freshly brewed coffee has been known to cause extremely gregarious behavior. The only known precaution is to have an extra coffee mug handy. ***

Many observers will be staying up until 4:30 AM and sleeping until noon. Since fatigue and observing enthusiasm don't mix, please try to be as quiet as possible. There are no penalties other than the cool greetings you may receive from your fellow observers. If you are on the receiving end of a noise transgression please remember that this is a community of observers. Friendly discussion will usually solve any problems.