Saturday July 11th Black Star Canyon star party

Posted On July 8, 2015


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


Hello Fellow OCA club members!


This Saturday, we plan to open the gate around 7:30 pm, which is about a half hour before the sun sets. The weather report for this Saturday indicates that Orange County should be warm (80F), have clear skies and humidity near 50%.  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.


We will be between a new Moon & 3rd Quarter so our star party should have a very dark night sky. 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 at BSC but can be seen making early morning passes.

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

  Iridium flares: There will be one magnitude -3.8 visible Iridium Flare this Saturday evening at 8:59 pm 18 degrees high NNW (344 degrees) from Iridium Satellite 30. I am sure we will also see a number of satellites pass over in the early evening.


Planets & Pluto:

~Mercury, (Mag -0.9) sets about 7 pm in constellation Gemini this Saturday evening so cannot be seen at the BSC star party. Mercury will be about 112 million miles from Earth and rises about 4:50 am so could be seen early in the morning. Mercury reached greatest elongation June 26th when it was 22 degrees west of the Sun. It will have a disk that spans 6″ and be about 70% lit. Mercury passes behind the Sun from our view July 23rd.

—Venus & Jupiter made a dazzling conjunction July 1st where they looked less than 1 degree apart.—

~Venus, (Mag -4.4) can be seen 30 minutes before sunset Saturday evening and then sets at 10 pm in constellation Leo. Venus will be about 41 million miles from Earth with a disc size of 40″ and 25% lit. Look for it 8 degrees to the lower right of 1st magnitude star Regulus.

~Mars, (Mag 1.9) will be in Constellation Gemini and on the far side of the Sun from Earth so will not be seen again until late August at dawn. It will be about 240 million miles from Earth Saturday evening.

~Jupiter, (Mag -1.6) will be seen just below Venus Saturday evening. It will be about 575 million miles from Earth getting a little farther every day with a diameter of about 30″. Look for Jupiter in front of Leo the Lion’s head and it will not set until almost midnight. At 8:45 pm we should see moon Callisto far west of Jupiter while moon Ganymede will be much closer to the big planet. Next will be moon Io passing in front of Jupiter with Moon Europa off to the east of Jupiter.

~Saturn, (Mag 1.0) will be in constellation Libra this Saturday so should be seen after sunset as it rises about 4 pm. It has a disk measuring 18″ with rings spanning 40″ and tilting 24 degrees. Saturn will be about 867 million miles away Saturday evening and will not set until 2:30 am. Saturn will be just in front and above of the Scorpion’s 3-star head.

 Uranus, (Mag 5.8) will be in constellation Pisces this Saturday evening setting about 1 pm so will not be seen at the BSC star party. It shows up as a small 3.5″ blue-green disc in a telescope. Uranus will be about 1.859 billion miles from Earth this Saturday. It can be seen in the early morning sky after it rises about 30 minutes after midnight.

Neptune, (Mag 7.8) is in constellation Aquarius, about 2.725 billion miles away this week slowly moving closer to Earth. It is seen as a bluish gray 2.3″ disc in a telescope and might be seen at BSC this Saturday evening after it rises at 10:45 pm. It can be seen until sunrise as does not set until about 10 am.

 Pluto, (Mag 14.1) will rise in constellation Sagittarius about 7:30 pm so could be seen


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