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

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

Watch this space for coming events.


                 Directions to school(s) go here.

Assigned dates. See the later section for assigned dates.

Fall semester


            The school program is not in operation.


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:

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).

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:

May 17 -- remove list of schools.