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.

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. The NASA Night Sky Network maintains a wonderful list of astronomy clubs and star parties here.

Outdoor Activity Book

IDA's 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.  Click here to download Activity Book