Status and schedule of school star partiesList of assigned dates
For SJAA club events, see the SJAA calendar page.
Next school to be scheduled
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.
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2017 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 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 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).
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.