Status and schedule of school star partiesList of assigned dates
For SJAA club events, see the SJAA calendar page.
Watch this space for coming events
Assigned dates. See the following section for available dates.==================================================== 2018 Jan.19 -- Bracher Elementary School SSet 5:56, start 6:45 Friday 2700 Chromite Dr, S. Clara No moon tonight Contact: Cecilia Altanirano, PTA GPS: In Santa Clara, to the intersection of Chromite Drive and Bowers Ave. Go east ~225 ft. Turn right into parking lot. There is no freeway that is anywhere near the school. Turn-by-turn: Study your map to find San Tomas Expressway. It runs mostly north/south across the county, passing near the school. At the south end, it begins as an extension of Camden Avnue. Then take the expressway into Santa Clara. Come to Monroe Street. Light. Left. W 0.5 mi. to Bowers Avenue. Light. Right. N <0.3 mi. to Chromite Drive. Light. Right. E ~225 feet, enter parking lot on the right. Turn in, pass the buildings on the right, see gates to be open. Enter onto play area. Set up in as far south as the first free-throw line. Curb blocks no. Al foil, probably. ==================================================== 2018 Jan.23 -- J.F. Smith Elementary School SSet 5:22, start 6:15 Tuesday 2220 Woodbury Lane, SJ 95138 33% moon sets 11:51 pm Contact: Sterling Larnerd GPS: In San Jose, go to the intersection of Yerba Buena Road and Chisen Street. Turn left onto Chisen, bear right, go 0.4 mile to a gate on the left. Enter. From Hwy 101, go northeast on Yerba Buena Road. NW SE 1.1 mi. to Chisen St. Left. N, SE <0.4 mi. to a gate on the left. Enter. Set up on the basketball courts. ==================================================== 2018 Jan.24 -- Pomeroy Elementary School SSet 5:23, start 6:30 Wednesday 1505 Escuela Prkwy, Milpitas 43% moon sets 1:23 am Contact: Pomeroy PTA Malia Martin From Hwy.680, exit at Jacklin Road. Go west. W 0.5 mi. to Escuela Parkway. Light. Right. NNW 0.6 mi. to Washington Drive. Stop sign. Left. WSW 0.1 mi, see double gates on the left. Enter. Drive into the grounds, come to the basketball courts on the left. Set up east/west along the free-throw lines. Another way: after left turn onto Washington Drive, see parking lot on the left. Enter, turn right. Go through a two-pipe gate; at least one of the pipes must be removed. Continue West-south-west onto baskbetball courts. There may be unwanted lights that flood the basketball courts. Curb blocks: no. Lights: probably. ==================================================== 2017 Jan.25 -- Murdock Portal Elementary SSet 5:24, start 6:30 Thursday 1188 Wunderlich Dr, SJ 95129 54% moon sets 2:07 am Contact: Ipseeta, PSCO vice-president GPS: In San Jose, go to Ora St. and Wunderlich Dr., then South ~175 feet. See parking lot on left. Enter 2nd gate. The driving directions start from Highway 85, but it may seem seems that they ought to start from 280. The trouble is that the westbound off-ramp at Lawrence Expressway does not have a direct way to get onto southbound Lawrence. From Hwy.85, exit at Saratoga Avenue. North. NE 1.1 mi. to Lawrence Expwy. Light. Left. NW, N 1.6 mi. Bollinger Road. Light. Left. W 0.1 mi. to Wunderlich Drive. Left turn lane, but no Stop sign. Left. S >0.3 mi, to Ora Street. Continue. S ~240 ft, see parking lot on left. Enter 2nd gate. Eastbound traffic on Bollinger Road can be very heavy and slowww. Consider continuing another 200 feet to the next street on the left, White Oak Drive. S 0.1 mi, to Greenoak Drive. Tee. Left E <0.1 mi, to Wunderlich Drive. Tee. Right. S >0.2 mi. to Ora Street. Right. S ~240 ft, see parking lot on left. Enter 2nd gate. NOW THAT WE'RE ALL IN THE LOT -- Go to back of lot, then turn left. See a three-pole gate. The middle pole will be opened or unlocked for us. Go past just one small building, about 50 feet, then turn right. Continue between main building and smaller classrooms, to a big open area. Set up about 50 feet into the open area, in line with the first ball wall on the left. Curb blocks no. Lights to be turned off. ==================================================== 2018 Jan.26 -- Noble Elementary SSet 5:25, start 6:30 Friday 3466 Grossmont Dr., San Jose 65% moon sets 3:14 am Contact: Jessica Wong, teacher. GPS: Go to intersection of Grossmont Drive and Terra Noble Way. Drive North about 80 feet, turn left into basketball courts. From Hwy.680, exit at Berryessa Rd. Run east. ENE ~1.3 mi. to Piedmont. Right. SSE 0.3 mi. to Noble. Left. ENE 0.3 mi. to Grossmont. Left. NNE ~0.14 mi., see gate on the left. You are circling the school, on your left. Pass the 1st parking lot, pass main entrance, then at far (north) edge of the school is a gate which will be open for astronomers only. Go straight in, curve to the left somewhat, to the first open setup area. Lights will be covered or switched off. We'll have the Moon, the Pleiades, Orion Nebula (M42), the Great Square, more as conditions permit. Curb blocks no. Lights: to be turned off. ====================================================
2018 Jan. 19, Fri -- Bracher Elementary, Santa Clara 6:15 start Jan. 23, Tue -- J.F. Smith Elementary 6:15 start Jan. 24, Wed -- Pomeroy Elementary, Santa Clara 6:30 start Jan. 25, Thur - Murdock Portal Elementary 6:30 start Jan. 26, Fri -- Noble Elementary, San Jose 6:30 start Feb. 13, Tue -- Lakewood Elementary 6:45 start Mar. 7, Wed -- Holding, Santa Clara Mar. 8, Thur - Loma Prieta Elementary Los Gatos 7:00 start Mar. 9, Fri -- Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet School, San Jose 7:00 start Fall semester Nov. 16, Fri -- Pearl Zanker Elementary, Milpitas 6:00 startAvailable dates. See the previous section for assigned dates.
Desirability is determined by the phase of the Moon. The moon is spectacular, very desirable for a star party. Such dates are:
2018 Approx. Start Time January 22 - 25 6:30 PST February 18 - 21, 23-25 7:00 PST March 21 - 26 8:15 DST April 20 - 24 8:30 DST May 18 - 24 9:00 High Schools
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:
2018 Approx. Start Time January 14 - 18, 20-21 6:30 PST February 4 - 12, 14, 16-17 6:45 PST March 4 - 7, 10 7:00 PST March 11 - 13, 15, 17 - 20 8:00 DST April 3 - 17, 19 8:30 DST May 2 - 17 9:00 High Schools
Too much moon (over 70% 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).
Too late start (after 9:00) will run too far into the evening. Students (and even astronomers) need their rest.
Running times; setup and takedown allowances:early August 9:15 *** Too-late start 9:00 ** High school only late August 8:45 * high and middle early September 8:30 * elementary September 8:15 late September 8:00 early October 7:30 late October 7:15 early November 6:30 befor DST ends on Nov.5, 2017 early November 6:00 after DST ends; earliest start time late November 6:00 all December 6:00 early January 6:00 Start 2018 late January 6:15 early February 6:30 late February 6:45 early March 7:00 befor DST early March 8:00 after DST starts on March 4, 2018, late March 8:15 early April 8:30 * elementary late April 8:45 * high and middle early May 9:00 ** high only late May 9:15 *** Too-late start
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.
GO for Hughes Elementary, Friday Success at Hughes!