Status and schedule of school star partiesList of assigned dates
For SJAA club events, see the SJAA calendar page.
Walters Junior High School
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.
Assigned dates, grouped by week. See the next section for available dates.2017 Mar.29 -- Walters Jr. High School SSet 7:28, start 8:30 Wednesday 39600 Logan Drive 6% moon sets 9:34 pm Fremont, Calif., 94538 Contact: Todd Harris, EAS Contact: Raymond Howard, EAS Grades run 1 - 12. There are about 85 students. All grades invited. GPS: In Fremont, go to Sloan Street and Logan Drive. Go NW for 70 feet, then turn right into the school parking area. From Highway 880, exit at Stevenson Blvd. If coming from south on 880: From the bottom of the ramp, turn right, go NE 0.4 mile to Sundale Drive. See traffic light. Left. If coming from north on 880: From the bottom of the ramp, turn left, go NE < 0.6 mile to Sundale Drive. See traffic light. Left. In either direction from 880: Turn left onto Sundale Drive. NW < 0.2 mi., come to Boone Drive. Stop Sign. Turn Right. NE, N, NW ~0.5 mi; Boone curves, becomes Logan Drive. Come to Sloan St. No stop sign. See school on the right. NW another 80 feet, turn right into parking area. Go through the lot, turn half-right behind the school. Continue to the basketball courts. Click here for a map of the grounds. Yes, we'll park on the grass, but set up on the pavement. ==================================================== 2017 Mar.30 -- Loma Prieta Elementary SSet 7:29, start 8:30 pm Thursday 27845 Summit Road, L.G. 13% moon sets 10:43 pm Contact: Kate Drozen, 3rd grade teacher JVN: copy Jeff Gose on this school's traffic. The address is Los Gatos, but it's far from the city, atop a mountain ridge. The sky is much darker than at city schools. About 60 students invited, plus families. GPS: In Los Gatos, go to the intersection of Morrill and Summit Roads. Continue east, pick up below with "After about 2.5 miles". Read the warning about the exit from Hwy. 17 onto Summit Road! From Hwy.17, exit at Summit Road, about 9 miles south of Lark Avenue. The intersection has off-ramps typical of freeway interchanges. The Summit Road off-ramp makes a sudden right, and a VERY sharp uphill, coming to a tee. Bring your speed wayy down, so that you can shift into your lowest gear before the turn. Turn right again and cross the bridge. On the other side of the bridge. turn left at the stop sign. Watch your speed on Summit Road! Drivers have been cited for just a few miles over the posted limit. There are a lot of blind turns and lots of speeders. After about 2.5 miles, watch for painted words on the road SLOW SCHOOL XING, and a yellow 5-sided sign. The driveway is *immediately* past that, on the right. You will see the school's events sign atop a small hill, on the other side of the driveway, but turn before that. If you go under a rusty overpass, you have gone too far. Follow the driveway up the hill to the parking lot. You will see a school with dark roofs. Pass them; our school is the second set of buildings, with green roofs. When you reach the top, drive straight ahead, sloow for the speed bumps, to Loma Prieta School. You'll see a fenced area in front of you and to the right. The gate will be open. Pass right of the basketball courts, follow the playground blacktop as it curves around the right along the school building. Set up between the basketball courts and past the building. Curb blocks no Al foil, yes. ==================================================== 2017 Mar.31 -- Lowell Elementary School Sset 7:30, start 8:30 pm Friday 625 S. 7th St., San Jose 22% moon rises 11:51 on Contact: Michelle Heap, teacher GPS: In San Jose, go to intersection of Margaret St. & 6th St. From that intersection, go north 100 feet. Turn into the parking lot, then turn left. IF COMING FROM THE EAST - From highway 280, exit at 7th Street. There are two lanes of off-ramp. At the light, continue. The road becomes Margaret St., there is an overhead sign. W 370 feet, come to 6th Street. Right NW 100 feet, see driveway on the right. IF COMING FROM THE WEST - From highway 280, exit at 7th Street. The freeway sign says 7 St / Virginia St, On the ramp, bear left, come to Virginia St. No light. Left. ENE ~340 ft., come to 7th St. Light. Left. NNW 0.1 mi., come to Margaret St. Light. Left. W 370 ft., come to S. 6th St. Right. NW ~100 feet, see driveway on the right. NOW THAT WE'RE IN THE SAME PLACE - Enter, turn left, go about 200 feet to a gate on the right.
2017 Mar. 29, Wed -- Walters Jr. High, Fremont (1st time) Mar. 30, Thur - Loma Prieta Elementary, Los Gatos Mar. 31, Fri -- Lowell Elementary, San Jose Apr. 4, Tue -- Russell Middle School, Milpitas Apr. 13, Thur - Nordstrom Elementary, Morgan Hill Apr. 21, Fri -- Forest Hill Elementary, Los Gatos Apr. 28, Fri -- Holding, San Jose May 26, Fri -- McAulffe Elementary, Saratoga
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 2 - 3 8:30 PDT -- began March 12, 2017 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: Start Time April 14, 17 - 20, 22 - 24 8:45 PDT -- began March 12, 2017 April 25 - 27 9:00 PDT May 14 - 22 9:15 PDT May 23 - 25, 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.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.
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.
March 25 -- enter directions for three schools.