Status and schedule of school star partiesList of assigned dates
For SJAA club events, see the SJAA calendar page.
Mattos Elementary, Fremont
Parents: please see some
tips for enjoying the night sky.
Parents: please see some tips for enjoying the night sky.
2017 Feb.24 -- Mattos Elementary School SSet 5:57, start 7:00 Friday 37944 Farwell Drive, Fremont no moon Contact: Todd Harris Astronomers from Eastby Astronomical Society, Oakland; and the San Jose Astronomical Association. GPS: In Fremont, go to the intersection of Farwell Drive and Nordica Avenue. Go WNW, immediately see entry into parking lot, on the right. Follow below. From Hwy.880, take the Mowry Avenue exit. Go NE. NE <0.4 mi. if coming from the north, NE <0.2 mi. if coming from the south, come to Farwell Drive. Light. Left. NW <0.7 mi. to Nordica Ave. No signs. Continue. NW ~200 feet, see entrance on right. Enter, follow driveway to left. At the spot that you would again turn left, instead turn right into a driveway that has STAFF ONLY painted on it. Go through a small parking lot, bearing left to the far corner to a gate that is to be opened for us. This takes us onto a play area with basketball courts. Set up toward the north or where to get the best view of the sky. Curb blocks no. Al foil no. ==================================================== 2017 Mar. 2 -- Hacienda Environmental SSet 6:00, start 7:00 Thursday Science Magnet Elementary 24% moon sets 10:45 pm 1290 Kimberly Drive, 95118 ->but enter opposite 1284 Rodney Drive Contact: Audra Deckert, Science teacher Really BIG turnout previous years, at least 400 lookers! We need extra telescopes. We should have more then one scope on the more popular objects (Moon, Jupiter). GPS: In San Jose, go to the intersection of Vistamont and Rodney Drives. Turn east, go 190 feet to a gate on the left. From Hwy.87, exit at Capitol Expwy, go west. W WSW ~1.3 mi. to Vistamont Avenue. Left. Capitol changes into Hillsdale Ave. No sign or light at Vistamont. 2-way turn lane. SSE 0.4 mi. to Rodney Drive. Turn left. ENE 190 feet to gate on the left. Enter. Drive in past the small parking lot, then turn right. Just past the building that is now on your left, turn left and see brightly-colored play equipment. Set set up just left (west) of the play equipment. Lights: request that outside lights are to be off for one hour past ending time, to allow allowing some time after official end of event at 8:30. GROUNDS LIGHTS: Library backroom: 28 Cafeteria outside: 8, 10 Conference room/office: 19, 21, 23 Hayes storage room: 10, 12 Curb blocks no. Al foil no. ==================================================== 2017 Mar. 3 -- Rancho Milpitas Middle SSet 6:04, start 7:00 Friday 1915 Yellowstone Ave, Mlpts 36% moon sets 11:55 pm but enter opposite 1707 Yellowstone Contact: Skye Dwyer, Science teacher Our clients are grades 7-8 and families, about 70 students. GPS: In Milpitas, go to 1707 Yellowstone Avenue. The entry is on the opposite (south) side of the street. See below. From Hwy.680, exit at Landess Ave., go east. ENE 0.3 mi. if coming from the north, ENE 0.1 mi. if coming from the south, come to S. Park Victoria Drive. Light. Left. (Right side is Morrill Avenue.) NNE 0.5 mi. Yellowstone Ave. Light. Right. NE, ENE 0.3 mi, pass a tennis court on the right, continue to a parking lot on the right. Enter the lot, go to the far right corner, come to a double gate to be opened for us. Solar panels will be a problem. We'll set up nearer the buildings to get away from them, maybe at the north end. Curb blocks no, Al foil maybe ==================================================== 2017 Mar. 4 -- Springbridge Elementary SSet 6:05, start 7:00 pm Saturday 771 Waldo Rd., Campbell 36% moon sets 1:00 am Contact: Robert Regan PPL Muditha Kanchaga, parent About 40 students invited, plus families. Grades 1 & 2. GPS: In Campbell, go to Waldo Road and Marilyn Drive. See a long parking lot on the north side of Waldo. Go west about 150 feet, enter the lot. Continue below. From Hwy.17, exit at Camden Ave. If coming from north: Bear right on the off-ramp Light. Right. If coming from south, turn left at the foot of the ramp, then left again, come to Camden. Light. Left. NOW THAT WE'RE ALL ON CAMDEN: Camden quickly becomes San Tomas Expressway, and quickly gets confusing, as there are three options to turn right, and they are very close together. NW ~0.4 mi. to Winchester Road. Be careful not to go north onto Winchester! From underneath 17, take the third opportunity to turn right. There is a green "Winchester Blvd SOUTH" sign, with a brown one underneath that says "Los Gatos Creek Park". The first two do not have a brown sign. Once on South-bound Winchester: SW >0.1 mi. to Sunnyoaks Ave. Light. Right. W ~150 ft. to Old Orchard Road. No stop sign. Right. NNW ~0.3 mi. Road bends left. Continue another ... W <0.4 mi, see a long parking lot on the right. At the end of the parking lot, turn in, continue into a smaller lot, then through a double gate to be opened for us. If the gate is closed but not locked, drive in and close it. Continue across the basketball courts, pass two buildings. Turn right, go through a second gate, again pass two buildings, then through a third gate. Whew! Set up a bit north of the (third) gate. ==================================================== 2017 Mar. 6 -- Lakewood Elementary School SSet 6:07, start 7:00 Monday 750 Lakechime Dr, Sunnyvale 70% moon sets 3:00 am but enter from Meadowlake Drive Contact: Allyson Guida, 3rd gr GPS: In Sunnyvale, go to the intersection of Lakehaven and Meadowlake Drives, then north ~200 feet. Gate on the right. From Hwy.280, exit at Lawrence Expressway. North. N ~4.9 mi. Cross Bayshore Freeway (Hwy 101). Continue. N >0.3 mi. to Lakehaven Drive. Light. Left. W >0.4 mi. to Meadowlake Drive. Ssign, Right. N, NNW ~200 ft. See gate on right. Set up on the play area just south of the school building. Curb blocks no. Al foil, possibly.
Assigned dates. Grouped by week. See the next section for available dates.
2017: Feb. 24, Fri -- Mattos Elementary, Fremont Mar. 2, Thur - Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet Elementary School Mar. 3, Fri -- Rancho Milpitas Middle, Milpitas Mar. 4, Sat -- Springbridge Elementary, Campbell Mar. 6, MON -- Lakewood Elementary, Sunnyvale Mar. 16, Thur - Ida Jew Intermediate (moved from 17th) Mar. 17, Fri - Holding, Campbell Mar. 24, Fri -- Holding,
San Jose Mar. 29, Wed -- Holding, Fremont Mar. 30, Thur - Loma Prieta Elementary, Los Gatos Mar. 31, Fri -- Holding, San Jose Apr 28, Fri -- Holding, San Jose May 26, 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, very desirable for a star party. Such dates are:
2017: March 5 7:00 PST April 1 - 4 8:30 PDT will start 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: February 25 - 28 7:00 PST March 15, 18, 23, 25 8:15 PDT will start March 12, 2017 March 27 8:30 PDT April 14, 17 - 24 8:45 PDT 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.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.
170218 - Correct day of week for March 6: a Monday, Lakewood Elementary