Status and schedule of school star partiesList of assigned dates List of available dates
For SJAA club events, see the SJAA calendar page.
Watch this line for final status on event day.
Parents: please see some
tips for enjoying the night sky.
Parents: please see some tips for enjoying the night sky.
2016 Jan.19 -- Blackford Elementary School SSet 5:19, start 6:15 Thursday 1970 Willow St, SJ 95125 47% moon rise 12:55 am But enter south of school Gates close at 9:00 via Blackford Lane Contact: Amanda Miller, PTA All grades invited. About 50 previously, but we'd like to have more. GPS directions: in San Jose, go to the intersection of Blackford Lane and Norman Avenue. Then go west ~200 feet. From Hwy.17, exit onto Hamilton Ave. Go East. E >0.4 mi. if coming from the north; E ~0.2 mi. if coming from the south. Come to Bascom. Slow light. CONTINUE. E ~0.5 mi, to Leigh Avenue. Light. CONTINUE. E 0.1 mi, to Norman Ave, very next street. No light, no stop sign, left-turn lane. Turn left. N <0.3 mi, to Blackford Lane. Tee, stop sign. Left. W ~200 ft, bear right at the loop, enter a green gate. After going through the first gate, make a hard right (or a 270-degree left turn) through a gate leading to the inner play area. Set up just north (or perhaps west) of the grass area. There are two lights on the building north of the setup area. Also about 3 more on the building to the northeast. All are within reach of a short stepladder. Curb blocks needed. Al foil too. ==================================================== 2017 Jan.20 -- Simonds Elementary SSet 5:20, start 6:15 pm Friday 6515 Grapevine Way, SJ 28% moon rise 12:55 am but enter on Pajaro Way Contact: Eric Rise, 5th gr GPS: In San Jose, go to the intersection of Pajaro Way and Grapevine Way. Then go west 340 feet, past the buildings, to a double gate on the right. From Hwy.85, exit at Almaden Expressway. Go south. S SE ~2.5 mi. to Camden Avenue. Light. Right. SSW W <0.3 mi. to Bose Lane. No stop sign. Turn left. S 280 feet, to Parma Drive. Stop sign. Right. WNW 250 feet, to Grapevine Way. No sign, no light, Left. First intersection. See school on far side of Grapevine. SSW 440 feet, to Pajaro Way. First Stop sign. Right. You'll be passing the school. WNW 340 feet, see gate in fence on right, at bend in road. Enter the basketball courts, go to far end to set up. Good horizons, four small local lights that need to be covered or turned off, two more big bright ones. Curb blocks No. Al foil, Yes. ==================================================== 2017 Jan.24 -- Alta Vista Elementary SSet 5:24, start 6:30 Tuesday 200 Blossom Valley DrLG 95032 7% moon set 2:50 pm Contact: Liz Werner, 3rd grade teacher South of most of the cities, sky is a bit darker than at the east-side usual schools. 550 students, K - 5. Officially our clients are 96 3rd-graders, but there will be more. GPS: Use school address, above. Click for a map showing the route from 85 to the setup area. From 85, exit onto Union Avenue going south. S. 0.5 mi to Los Gatos-Almaden Rd. (Light) Right W. 0.3 mi to Taft Avenue (1st light) Left S. 0.3 mi to Blossom Valley Drive. (Stop sign) Right. W, NW 0.3 mi. Road bends, then a stop sign, see school suddenly on left. Enter first driveway; immediately on left you'll see some tallish pipes, spaced widely enough to drive between. Behind them is a double gate, to be opened for us. Drive in and set up among the tetherball poles and away from the street. Curb blocks no. Al foil no ==================================================== 2017 Jan.26 -- Barrett Elementary SSet 5:26, start 6:30 Thursday 895 Barrett Avenue, Morg.Hill 1% moon sets 4:33 pm Contact: Kristin Goularte, 1st grade GPS: In Morgan Hill, go to the intersection of Barrett Ave and Juan Hernandez Drive. Go NNW another 0.1 mile. See gate on the right. From Hwy.101, exit at Tennant Avenue. Go West. WSW 0.1 mi. if coming from north; WSW 0.4 mi. if coming from south. See Juan Hernandez Drive. Light. Right. NW,N NW 0.3 mile to Barrett Ave. Stop Sign. Continue. NNW 0.1 mi., see gate at right. LIGHTS: to be off or covered. Curb blocks no. Al foil no
Assigned dates. Grouped by week. See the next section for available dates.
2017: Jan. 19, Thur - Blackford Elementary, San Jose Jan. 20, Fri -- Simonds Elementary, SE San Jose Jan. 24, Thur - Alta Vista Elementary, Los Gatos Jan. 26, Thur - Barrett Elementary, Morgan Hill Jan. 31, Tue -- Dartmouth Middle School, San Jose Feb. 1, Wed -- Ocala Middle School, San Jose Feb. 2, Thur - Holding, Sunnyvale Feb. 3, Fri -- Holding,, San Jose Feb. 24, Fri -- Holding, Fremont Mar. 1, Wed -- Holding, Sunnyvale Mar. 2, Thur - Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet Elementary School Mar. 3, Fri -- Holding, Milpitas Mar. 17, Fri -- Holding, San Jose Mar. 29, Wed -- Holding, Fremont Mar. 30, Thur - Loma Prieta Elementary, Los Gatos Mar. 31, Fri -- Holding, San Jose
Available dates. See the previous section for assigned dates.
Desirability is determined by the phase of the Moon. The moon is spectacular and well-liked, very desirable for a star party. Such dates are:
2017: February 3 - 5 6:30 PST March 5 - 6 7:00 PST will start March 12, 2017 April 1 - 4 8:30 PDT 29 - 30 9:00 PDT May 1 - 3 9:00 PDT May 28 - 31 9:30 PDT
Dates with no moon in the evening sky are more plentiful. There are many star clusters, colorful double stars, etc., so the sky is very rewarding. Consider:
2017: January 21 - 22 6:15 PST January 23, 25 6:30 PST February 13, 15 - 22 6:45 PST February 25 - 27 7:00 PST March 15 - 16, 18 - 25 8:15 PDT will start March 12, 2017 March 27 8:30 PDT April 14, 17 - 24 8:45 PDT April 25 - 28 9:00 PDT May 14 - 22 9:15 PDT May 23 - 27 9:30 PDT
Too much moon (over 75% illuminated) makes it difficult to show anything but a few bright objects, so we try to stay away from the nearly-full moon. It's a poor show, and not fair to the students (nor to the astronomers).
Running times; setup and takedown allowances:early August 9:15 ** high school only mid August 9:00 ** " early September 8:45 * high and middle mid September 8:15 all grades early October 7:45 mid October 7:30 early November 6:15 After DST ended on Nov.6, 2016 mid November 6:00 all December 6:00 early January 6:00 Start 2016 mid January 6:15 early February 6:30 mid February 6:45 early March 7:00 mid March 7:15 DST begins on March 12, 2017 mid March 8:15 After DST starts late March 8:30 early April 8:30 * high and middle mid April 8:45 * " early May 9:00 ** high only mid May 9:15 ** " late May 9:30 ** "* Not recommended for elementary schools.
** Not recommended for elementary nor for middle schools.
Optional details about start times:
Ideally, a star party should run two hours, allowing time for everyone to look through each telescope, then move some of the scopes to additional targets. But ninety minutes is a practical minimum.
In addition, allow 90 minutes before the start time for the astronomers to set up, and 30 minutes afterward to pack the telescopes.
- Start times are approximately one hour after sunset. More specifically, they are at "Nautical Twilight": the time when the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon. It is rounded to the nearest 15-minute interval.
- The time from sunset to nautical twilight varies from about 58 to 70 minutes; it is minimum about November 20 and January 20, and maximum about June 21, varying slightly by year. They depend on the site's latitude, 37.3 degrees north.
- The start times depend on both latitude and longitude; the latter is 121.9 degrees west.
Hold Feb.3 for San Jose school