Dates and times

Current Events and Available Dates

Status and schedule of school star parties

List of assigned dates   List of available dates

For SJAA club events, see the SJAA calendar page.

ACE Charter Middle School

Watch this line for final status on event day

Parents: please see some tips for enjoying the night sky.

Apr.28 -- ACE Charter Middle School     SSet 7:44, start 9:00 pm
Friday    1655 Santee Drive, SJ.95122   11% moon sets 10:43 pm
          Contact: Jarrett Posten, Ass't PPL

GPS: In San Jose, go to the intersection of Santee Drive and
  Dubert Lane.  Then southeast one short block, see the gate.

If coming east on 280 (as from Hwy.880):

 Take the McLaughlin Avenue.  At the bottom of the off-ramp,
turn right; there is no stop sign.

 SE     >0.7 mi, come to Audubon Drive. Light. Left.

If Hwy 101 is better for you --

 From Hwy 101, exit at Tully.  Go southwest.
 SW     <0.3 mi. if coming from north;
 SW     >0.4 mi. if coming from south.
                 Come to McLaughlin Ave. Light. Right.
 NW      1.0 mi,, to Audubon Drive.  Light. Right.


 NE     <0.2 mi. to Santee Drive.  Stop sign. Right.
 SE     ~300 ft. See gate directly ahead and a sign to
                 the left of the gate:

                    Middle school

  Enter, turn right, pass some parking spaces.  After the road
bends left, you will be looking at the entry ramp up to the
basketball courts.  Go up, pass a building on the right.

  Set up just past the first basket.

Curb blocks no  Al foil probably

Assigned dates, grouped by week. See the next section for available dates.

 Apr. 28, Fri -- ACE Charter Middle School, San Jose             

 July 13, Thur - Tech Trek on Standford knoll                     
 July 19, Wed -- Tech Trek on Standford knoll                     

Available 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:

2017:                     Start Time 

April     29 - 30                 9:00  PDT -- began March 12, 2017

May        1 -  3                 9:00  PDT  High Schools
May       28 - 31                 9:30  PDT  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:

2017:                     Start Time 

April     25 - 27                 9:00  PDT  High Schools
May       14 - 22                 9:15  PDT  High Schools
May       23 - 25, 27             9:30  PDT  High Schools

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).

Approximate start times by grade, through the school year

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.5, 2016
  mid November  6:00
  all December  6:00
early January   6:00  Start 2017
  mid January   6:15
early February  6:30
  mid February  6:45
early March     7:00
  mid March     7:15
  mid March     8:15  After DST started on March 4, 2017
 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.

Running times; setup and takedown allowances:

   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.

Optional details about start times:
  • 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.
These details are not important when scheduling a star party in the greater San Jose area.

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Mail  to Jim Van Nuland.

Latest updates:

Fri: GO for Forest Hill Elementary

Add ACE Charter Middle School, San Jose
Take down Forest Hill.  Successful event.