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.

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

Watch this space for coming events

==================================================== 2017 Nov.24 -- Faria Elementary School SSet 4:52, start 6:00 Friday 10144 Barbara Lane 36% moon sets 10:18 pm. Cupertino, CA 95014 Contact: Elanchelvan Elango (Elan) 1-650-743-6991 at 11:00 am First time at this school. GPS: In Cupertino, go to intersection of Barbara Lane and Scofield Drive. Look south, see entrance to the parking lot, on the right. Enter, bear left. Pick up the text paragraph below. From Hwy.85, exit at De Anza Blvd. Go north. N 1.3 mi. to Rodrigues Ave. Light. Left. W 0.3 mi. to Western Drive. Road bends right. N >0.1 mi., Western comes to Schofield on the right. N, W, Continue, street name changes to Schofield. W, SW ~0.1 mi. to Barbara Lane. Barbara Lane bends left. Immediately see the school entrance on the right. Enter, then turn left. Continue south, nearly to the far end. See a three-pipe gate on the right, with the middle pipe unlocked or removed. Enter, pass the buildings on the right. Bear half-right and go to the opposite (diagonal) corner. See two ball walls each labeled "4/5" (but without the quote marks). It's just north of a grassy area. LIGHTS; there is a row of portable classrooms at the south side of the open area. Three on the west have lights on the doors. They will have to be covered or turned off. ====================================================
Assigned dates. See the following section for available dates.
 Nov. 24, Mon  - Faria Elementary, Cupertino         6:00 start

 Nov. 27, Mon  - Leyva Middle, San Jose              6:00 start

 Dec.  6, Wed -- Holding, San Martin                 6:00 start 
 Dec.  7, Thur - ACE Esperanza Middle                6:00 start
 Dec.  8, Fri -- Holding, Gilroy                     6:00 start 

 Dec. 12, Fri -- Rachel Carson Elementary, San Jose  6:00 start
 Dec. 13, Fri -- Country Lane Elementary San Jose    6:00 start


 Jan. 12, Fri -- Holding, Santa Clara                6:15 start 

 Jan. 19, Fri -- Holding, Santa Clara                6:15 start 

 Jan. 23, Tue -- Holding, San Jose                   6:15 start 
 Jan. 24, Wed -- Holding, Santa Clara                6:30 start 
 Jan. 25, Thur - Murdock Portal Elementary           6:30 start 

 Jan. 26, Fri -- Holding, San Jose                   6:30 start 

 Feb. 13, Tue -- Lakewood Elementary                 6:45 start

 Mar.  8, Thur - Loma Prieta Elementary Los Gatos    7:00 start

 Nov. 16, Fri -- Holding, Milpitas                   6:00 start 

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                          Approx. Start Time

December  22 - 23,  28 - 29       6:00  PST

2018                          Approx. Start Time

January   22 - 25                 6:30  PST
February  18 - 25                 7:00  PST
March     21 - 26                 8:15  DST
April     20 - 24                 8:30  DST
May       18 - 24                 9:00  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                          Approx. Start Time

December   9 - 11                 6:00  PST
December  13 - 21                 6:00  PST

2018                          Approx. Start Time

January    5 - 11, 13 - 18, 20-21 6:30  PST
February   4 - 12, 14, 16-17      6:45  PST
March      4 -  7,  9-10          7:00  PST
March     11 - 20,                8:00  DST
April      3 - 19                 8:30  DST
May        2 - 17                 9:00  High Schools

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).

Approximate start times by grade, through the school year

Too late start (after 9:00) will run too far into the evening. Students (and even astronomers) need their rest.

early August    9:15  *** Too-late start
                9:00  **  High school only
late  August    8:45  *   high and middle
early September 8:30  *   elementary
      September 8:15
 late September 8:00
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  *   elementary
 late April     8:45  *   high and middle
early May       9:00  **  high only
 late May       9:15  *** Too-late start
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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Latest updates:

GO for Fairwood Elemenary, Sunnyvale
It was a good star party, with a clear sky.