Star Parties

 2007 IDA AGM Star Party  
 Girl Scout Jamboree, 2006

Star parties are a wonderful way to get acquainted with the night sky and a great ice breaker for company.  Seeing the wonders of the universe first-hand is an invaluable experience for both young and old alike. 

A star party is simply a group of people that get together to view the cosmos through telescopes, binoculars and with the naked eye.


Dark Sky Festival at Harmony, Florida

Saturday, 9 April 2011 6-11p.m.

The purpose of the Dark Sky Festival at Harmony is to expose the general public to the marvels of astronomy and the importance of protecting dark skies - not just for astronomy purposes, but also for the values that darkness provides to area wildlife.

The entire family-friendly festival is held outdoors in low light conditions on the streets, sidewalks and park located in Harmony Town Square.

Due to Harmony's efforts and the support of the County Commissioners, an ordinance now requires new lighting in the County to be protective of dark skies. In a county that includes portions of Walt Disney World and has extensive brightly lit tourist commercial uses, this was a significant event in itself. In addition, all County facilities were retrofitted to better protect the night sky.

Star Tour in Namibia

Astro Safari Tour 2011 30 April to 9 May 2011
Cost: 1995 Euros per person, exclusive of flights (We can assist with flights if required)

Organized by:  Andy Bender (astronomer), and Luxsafaris, ( the safari tour people from Luxembourg.
Tour description: Trip is an astronomy tour, with safari tours of various wildlife parks in Namibia included. Tour is not tied to one of the "Safari farms" they have there, but is fully mobile. The tour is conducted in the English language.

Contact info:
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: (49) 7213540317
Telephone: (49) 1633540317

With Africa being a developing continent, any input from outsiders regarding the protection of Africa's dark night skies would be helpful. The more people there, the more the input provided. The Namibians are very interested in keeping their skies as "light pollution" free, as possible.

Past star parties:

Preparing for sky viewing at the First Annual Sierra La Rana, TX Star Party.

Alpine Star Party, Sierra La Rana, Texas, USA - 24 April, 2009
Visit site >>

"Nancy and I had a great time at the Sierra La Rana astronomy site. With such dark sky available in Alpine, a dedicated observing area to the Deep South is a valuable asset to observers and photographers alike. Having been a northern New Mexico resident for 20 years, I am still amazed how these skies reveal fainter stars. Transparency and atmospheric stability are fantastic. Alpine Texas is indeed a special place and jewels like this site indeed make it sparkle."  - Tom Ladig

Read more reviews >>

Future efforts >>


Suggestions for planning a star party

  • Consider planning a star party in conjunction with another school/organizational event or on a science night.
  • If the star party is connected to a school event or a youth-based organization, students or members should consider inviting parents to enjoy the fun.
  • Star parties may be planned to correlate with subjects students have been studying, such as planets, stars, and deep space objects.
  • Make sure to plan your star party on a clear night in a dark spot to enjoy the most visibility. 
  • Make sure to reference a star chart prior to planning your event.  This will help identify celestial objects available for viewing.

How to set up a star party:

  • Get to the star party location about a half hour prior to dark in order to set up telescopes.
  • Make sure the location is free of sprinklers and bright lights.
  • If you want to plan a star party but do not have access to your own telescope, contact a local astronomy club or astronomy department at a local college. Many are willing to volunteer their time and telescopes.

Outdoor Activity Book

This outdoor activity book is designed for the elementary age student.  We hope that the activities in this book will be used with parents, teachers, and astronomy clubs to teach children in fun and inventive ways about the beauty of the natural night sky.  The book can be downloaded fro free from the link below.  It is designed to be used in color, but you are welcome to print in black and white if you need to do so.   

 If at anytime you would like to submit an addition to the book please email us from the contact tab at the top of the page.  We are always interested in seeing what other groups are doing to teach the public about dark skies and light pollution.  Thank you for your support of our organization.  Click here to download Activity Book