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Star Parties

One of the greatest benefits of joining an astronomy club is the access to organized star parties. If you are thinking about buying a telescope you can do no better than to join a club like ours and be able to look through dozens of different types of telescopes and talk to the members who own them.

We have at least two regularly scheduled star parties every month - one at an in-town location at Black Star Canyon. The other location is our own 20 acre facility just 2 hours drive away near the small town of Anza.

We organize our star parties to cooincide with the "darkest" time of the month when the moon causes the least amount of problem with observing the darkest, dimmest objects. If the New Moon occurs on a Wednesday we choose to have two scheduled star parties on the saturday before and the saturday after the new moon.

Please check our calendar for details of the next star parties.

Please review this article on Star Parties written by Barbara Toy

Some basic tips for attending a star party.

Flashlights / white light rules

Remember that the sole purpose of a star party is to allow everyone to view (and photograph) the most beautifully dim wonderful objects in their telescopes. Therefore white lights are never to be used at a star party. Try to purchase one of the many red-light flashlights that are available at astronomy stores and other locations. Alternatively wrap lots of red-film over the flashlight.

Your car.

Try to minimize the possibility of your cars internal "dome" lights coming on if you need to open your door. Some cars have a swith to disable the lights - while others may require you resort to covering the internal lights with tape. If you are going to be arriving at a star party after dark remember to switch to parking lights only as you enter the property (or try to get there before sunset). Some cars (especially those with day-time-running lights) may always leave some white lights on the headlights even if you try to switch just the parking lights on. Many vehicles such as these allow you to swicth off the white lights by engaging the hand-brake (or foot break) by just one or two stops.

Your clothes

The rule is dress warm - have plenty of layers - especially a hat and gloves. While our summer star parties may be very warm (August / September it has been warm enough to wear shorts all night) - it is always advisable to bring along warm clothing in any case. Our Anza star parties in the winter (December thru February) can be very chilly (it has been known to get down to the 20's).

Food

Bring along plenty of food and snacks to keep you going during the night. Our Anza facility has kitchens with available microwave and conventional ovens so you can easily cook something warm if you prefer.

 

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