Saturday June 20th Black Star Canyon star party

Posted On June 17, 2015


Black Star Canyon Star Party notice – Saturday June 20th, 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 (89F), have clear skies and humidity near 35%.  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 make one magnitude -1.1 visible pass Saturday evening starting at 10:02:02 pm 10 degrees high in the west going to 16 degrees high SW at 10:04:11 pm where it will pass into the Earth’s shadow and fade from sight. Look for it just after 10 pm passing along side of Venus and then Jupiter and then right next to the New Moon.

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

  The HST (Hubble Space Telescope) will make it’s first visible magnitude 1.5 pass Saturday evening starting at 8:26:21 pm 10 degrees high WSW going to 36 degrees high S at 8:30:12 pm and then dropping back to 10 degrees high ESE at 8:34:03 pm. The second visible magnitude 1.8 pass will start at 10:07:20 10 degrees high WSW going to 33 degrees high SW at 8:10:21 then dropping out of sight in Earth’s shadow.

  Iridium flares: There will be one magnitude 0.5 visible Iridium Flare this Saturday evening at 8:53:37 pm 17 degrees high NNW (342 degrees) from Iridium Satellite 25. I am sure we will also see a number of satellites pass over in the early evening.


Planets & Pluto:

~Mercury, (Mag 1.0) sets about 6:10 pm in constellation Taurus this Saturday evening so cannot be seen at the BSC star party. Mercury will be about 71 million miles from Earth and rises about 4:30 am so could be seen early in the morning. Mercury reaches greatest elongation June 26th when it is 22 degrees west of the Sun. It will have a disk that spans 8″ and be about 34% lit. Look for Mercury just 2 degrees from bright Taurus star Aldebaran June 24th.

~Venus, (Mag -4.4) can be seen 30 minutes before sunset Saturday evening and it sets just before 11 pm in constellation Cancer. Venus will be about 56 million miles from Earth with a disc size of 28″ and 42% lit. Look for it 5 degrees above the waxing Moon.

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

~Jupiter, (Mag -1.6) will be just below Venus Saturday evening with the Moon just below Jupiter. It will be about 555 million miles from Earth getting a little farther every day with a diameter of about 36″. Look for Jupiter in front of Leo the Lion’s head and it will not set until 11 pm. At 8:45 pm we should see moon Callisto far east of Jupiter while moon Europa will be much closer to the big planet. Next will be moon Io just west of Jupiter with big Moon Ganymede much farther west.

~Saturn, (Mag 0.9) will be in constellation Libra this Saturday so should be seen after sunset as it rises about 5:30 pm. It has a disk measuring 18″ with rings spanning 42″ and tilting 24 degrees. Saturn will be about 846 million miles away Saturday evening and will not set until 4 am. Saturn will be just in front and above of the Scorpion’s 3-star head.

 Uranus, (Mag 5.9) will be in constellation Pisces this Saturday evening setting about 2:30 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 1.891 billion miles from Earth this Saturday. It can be seen in the early morning sky after it rises about 2 am.

Neptune, (Mag 7.9) is in constellation Aquarius, about 2.754 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 as it does not rise until midnight. It can be seen after midnight until sunrise.


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