LCAAS is a group of local amateur astronomers that enjoy sharing the wonders of the night sky with interested groups and individuals. We are able,with the use of our telescopes, binoculars and knowledge, give people an informative look at the many beautiful and interesting objects in our night sky.
At your request, we are available to either come to your site or invite you to one of our sites to hold a “Star Party” with you. The following is a short list of guidelines that we require to make this an enjoyable experience for all concerned.
Our star parties usually begin shortly before sunset and run 1- 2 hours depending on quantity and interest of observers, weather and objects available to view.
Contact the Event Coordinator with your request.
Please use the Contact Us form to send an email at least four to six weeks in advance so we can set a time and date that is best for observing the Moon, planets and deep sky objects. Due to weather, the preferred star party months are May through September.
What you need to do
- Supply us with the name of the party coordinator in your organization as well as their daytime phone number so we contact them to plan the details of your event.
- Let us know how many people will plan on attending.
- Give us precise driving directions if using your site. If using your site, please be sure there are very few or preferably NO lights shining into the viewing area. We would like the opportunity to see the site prior to the observing session.
- We will need to be able to drive close to where we will be setting up so be sure the site is accessible to vehicles. If there are any gates, be sure they will be unlocked.
- Be sure there are no automatic sprinklers in the area. If there are, be sure they are turned off for the event.
- Make any arrangements for cleaning the area afterwards, although any “mess” would be extremely minimal, if any.
Please be aware of a few obvious and not so obvious “rules” of etiquette around the telescopes.
- Never touch the equipment unless instructed by the owner. Sometimes, dew will fog an eyepiece or lens in a telescope.
- NEVER wipe any optical surfaces with fingers, cloths, etc. as the coatings on them are extremely delicate and can be ruined very easily.
- When approaching an observing site after dark, please dim your headlights and use only parking lights to approach the group. In the case of vehicles with automatic headlights that cannot be turned off, please be sure you do not blind everyone when approaching. It takes up to twenty minutes for eyes to become dark-adapted, and only a split second to close the pupils back up.
- If you approach the observing site with a flashlight, be sure to point it at the ground and not the observers. Red lights are preferred.
What to bring
Be sure to dress for the occasion! It is a general rule of thumb that you dress for thirty degrees colder than the actual temperature when observing at night. Movement is minimal, and feet especially can get very uncomfortable. Hypothermia is also a very real threat and needs to be avoided.
If you have a telescope or binoculars, feel free to bring it along! We would be happy to help you learn to use them at night if you don't already do so. Many people have binoculars and have never turned them to the night sky!
Summing it all up
Carefully planned, a star party is a very enjoyable and educational experience! We will be able to see many objects including the Moon, any visible planets, star clusters, nebulae and various interesting stars.In the event of bad weather on the night of the event, we will do our best to reschedule it for you.
We are a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization and gladly accept tax deductible donations.
We are also always looking for new members to become active in the group. If you enjoy the evening and would like to join the group, we would love to have you join and help out!
Thank you for allowing us to share the night sky with you and we sincerely hope you enjoy the evening!