Status and schedule of school star partiesList of assigned dates
For SJAA club events, see the SJAA calendar page.
==================================================== 2017 Oct.31 -- Halloween! SSet 6:10, start 6:30 Tuesday Location: your house 88% moon rose 4:29 pm Set up your scope at home, give the little goblins some eye candy! Venus and Saturn low to southwest. Albireo shows colors in twilight. Start with brighter targets: Moon 18 degrees up at 6:00 Uranus 25 degrees up to SW at 7:00. Ring Nebula after 7:10 Pleiades after 7:30 if horizon is low to ENE, 10 degrees up at 7:50 pm. Also: M31, Coathanger cluster, etc. Curb blocks no. House lights to be turned off. ====================================================
Assigned dates. See the following section for available dates.2017: Sep. 25 Mon -- Saratoga High, in Saratoga 8:00 start Oct. 20, Fri -- Faria Elementary, Cupertino 7:15 start Oct. 23, Mon -- Zanker Elementary, Milpitas 7:15 start Oct. 25, Wed - Peterson Middle School, Sunnyvale 7:15 start Oct. 26, Thu -- Rancho Milpitas Middle, Milpitas 7:15 start Oct. 27, Fri -- Discovery Charter II, 7:15 start Oct. 28, Sat -- Forest Hill Elementary 7:15 start Oct. 31, Tue -- Your house, Halloween! Big moon ESE, 16 deg. up. 6:00 start Nov. 6, Mon -- Holding, Sunnyvale 6:00 start Nov. 7, Tue -- Christa McAuliffe Elementary 6:00 start Nov. 8, Wed -- West Valley Elementary, Sunnyvale 6:00 start Nov. 9, Thur - Rachel Carson Elementary, SJ 95136 6:00 start Nov. 15, Wed -- Holding, San Jose 6:00 start Nov. 16, Thur - Holding, Sunnyvale 6:00 start Nov. 17, Fri - Fairwood Elementary, Sunnyvale 6:00 start Dec. 7, Thur - ACE Esperanza Middle 6:00 start Dec. 8, Fri -- Holding, Gilroy 2018: Jan. 12, Fri -- Katharine Hughs Elementary time not set Feb. 13, Tue -- Lakewood Elementary 6:45 start Mar. 8, Thur - Loma Prieta Elementary Los Gatos 7:00 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:2017: Start Time Nov 24, 26 - 27 6:00 PST All grades Dec 22 - 23, 27 - 29 6:00 PST All grades
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 Sep 11 - 13 8:15 PDT High Schools Sep 18 - 24 8:00 PDT High & Middle Oct 12 - 19, 21 7:30 PDT All grades Nov 10 - 14, 18 - 21 6:00 PST All grades Dec 9 - 21 6:00 PST All grades
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 late August 8:45 ** high school only early September 8:30 * high and middle late September 8:00 all grades 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 all grades late April 8:45 * high and middle early May 9:00 ** high only late May 9:15 *** Too-late startOptional 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.
These details are not important when scheduling a star party in the greater San Jose area.
- 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.
Latest updates:Adjustments to start-time table