Status and schedule of school star parties
For SJAA club events, see the
SJAA calendar page.
tips for enjoying the night sky.
Watch this space for coming events.
Assigned dates. See the later section for assigned dates.
==================================================== Directions to school(s) go here. ====================================================
Fall semesterAvailable dates. See the previous section for assigned dates.
==================================================== The school program is not in operation. ====================================================
Desirability is determined by the phase of the Moon. The moon is spectacular, very desirable for a star party. Such dates are:2018 Approx. Start Time 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:2018 Approx. Start Time May 2 - 14, 16 - 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).
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 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 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:May 17 -- remove list of schools.