Saturday April 11th Black Star Canyon star party

Posted On April 3, 2015


Black Star Canyon Star Party notice – Saturday April 11th, 2015


Hello Fellow OCA club members!


This Saturday, I plan to open the gate around 7 pm, which is about a half hour before the sun sets. The weather report for this Saturday indicates that Orange County should be warm, have clear skies and humidity near 25%.  But please keep an eye on the OCA website “Home” page (below the next speaker info) where we will post a notice should the star party be canceled for any reason.


The 3rd quarter moon begins April 12th so the Moon will not be up during our star party. First time visitors might want to get to the star party site while it is still light so they can find their way down the dirt road and into the parking area. Remember that you take the 2nd farm gate on the left after turning on Black Star Canyon Road (the 1st farm gate is the Xmas Tree farm). If you come in after dark, you should drive in with your headlights off!!! The dirt road may be marked with red flashers and you can hold a flashlight out the driver’s window to light up the road directly in front of your car.

Try to park two cars in each slanted slot between the rock turning circles so we can get 20 cars into that area. I will help guide the first cars into the slots and then expect that others will follow that pattern. The first car in each slot must stay back, about a foot, from the road that leads out of the parking area so cars that leave early with headlights off will not accidentally bump into parked cars

The BSC star party site has a Latitude of 33.7520N, Longitude 117.6745W and Elevation 297′.


Warning:  No Pets allowed!  (This is an OC Parks and Nature Conservancy rule).



  The ISS (International Space Station) will not make any visible passes Saturday evening.

  The X-37B (Air Force Boeing space plane) will not make any visible passes as it has landed.

  The HST (Hubble Space Telescope) will not make any visible passes Saturday evening.

  Iridium flares: There will be no visible Iridium Flares this Saturday evening but I am sure we will see a number of satellites pass over in the early evening.


Planets & Pluto:

~Mercury, (Mag -1.7) sets about 7:20 pm in constellation Pisces this Saturday so will not be seen at the BSC star party. Mercury will be about 125 million miles from Earth and rises about 6:30 am. It will pass behind the Sun April 9th and not reappear for 10 days.

~Venus, (Mag -3.9) can be seen about 3 hours after sunset Saturday evening as it sets about 10:20 pm in constellation Taurus. Venus will be about 106 million miles from Earth with a disc size of 15″ and 75% lit. Look for it near the Pleiades star cluster.

~Mars, (Mag 1.5) will be in Constellation Aries about 20 degrees high an hour after sunset so might be seen at BSC this Saturday evening in the southwestern sky. It will be about 225 million miles away with a disk size of about 4.0″, about the size of a star so don’t expect to see any detail on the red planet. Mars sets about 8:30 pm so better view it early.

~Jupiter, (Mag -2.1) will rise about 1:40 pm Saturday in constellation Cancer so can be seen high in the sky Saturday evening. It will be about 458 million miles from Earth getting a little farther every day with a diameter of about 40″. It can be seen most of the night as does not set until 3:25 am. At 8:30 pm we should see moon Callisto far to the East of Jupiter while moon Europa will be much closer to the planet followed by moons Ganymede and Io (all 4 moons will be on the East side).

~Saturn, (Mag 1.0) will be in constellation Scorpius this Saturday so might be seen late Saturday evening after it rises about 10:30 pm. It has a disk measuring 18″ with rings spanning 41″ and tilting 25 degrees. Saturn will be about 857 million miles away Saturday.

—–Both Uranus & Neptune are low in the morning sky so would be better viewed a few months from now.

 Uranus, (Mag 5.9) will be in constellation Pisces this Saturday evening setting about 6:50 pm so will not be seen at the BSC star party. It shows up as a small 3.4″ blue-green disc in a telescope. Uranus will be about 1.953 billion miles from Earth this Saturday. It could be seen in the early morning sky when it rises at 6:20 am.

Neptune, (Mag 7.9) is in constellation Aquarius, about 2.855 billion miles away this week slowly moving closer to Earth. It is seen as a bluish gray 2.3″ disc in a telescope but we will not see it at BSC this Saturday evening early as it set about 3:50 pm. It could be seen early morning as it rises about 4:40 am.