Star party

A star party is a gathering of amateur astronomers for the purpose of observing the sky. Local star parties may be one night affairs, but larger events can last up to a week or longer and attract hundreds or even thousands of participants. Many regional star parties are now held annually and are an important part of the hobby of amateur astronomy. Typically a dark sky site away from light pollution is chosen as a location. Participants bring telescopes and binoculars of all types and sizes and spend the nights observing astronomical objects such as planets, comets, stars, and deep sky objects together. Astrophotography and CCD imaging are also very popular. At larger star parties, lectures, swap meets, exhibitions of home-built telescopes, contests, tours, raffles, and other similar activities are common. Commercial vendors selling a variety of astronomical equipment may also be present. As with any other hobbyist gathering, there is much camaraderie and discussion of various aspects of the hobby at any star party.

The idea of a star party is not new and allegedly goes back at least as far as George III of the United Kingdom, who was passionately interested in astronomy and mathematics. [ [http://www.sloughmuseum.co.uk/the_kings_astronomer.htm The King's Astronomer] Retrieved 2007-12-12] [ [http://www.berkshirehistory.com/bios/george3.html George III biography page] Retrieved 2007-12-12] On nights when poor weather blocked the view of the real stars and planets, attendants are said to have hung paper lanterns marked with drawings in the trees around the royal palace to provide something else for the King and his guests to spot through their telescopes.

Star parties in the USA include: "(in state order)"
* [http://www.tucsonastronomy.org/gcsp.html Grand Canyon Star Party] (Arizona)
* [http://www.goldenstatestarparty.org/ Golden State Star Party] (Northern California)
* RTMC Astronomy Expo (Southern California)
* [http://www.sierrastar.org/ Sierra Summer Starparty] (California)
* [http://www.smokymtstargaze.com Smoky Mountain Star Gaze] (Mountains of North Carolina)
* Mid Atlantic Star Party (North Carolina)
* [http://www.rmss.org/ Rocky Mountain Star Stare] (Colorado)
* Winter Star Party - [http://www.scas.org/wsp.html Official Web Site] (Florida)
* [http://www.chicagoastro.org/af/ Astrofest] (Illinois)
* Escambia Amateur Astronomers Association/Fort Pickens (Northwest Florida)
* [http://www.prairieskies.org/ Prairie Skies Star Party] (Illinois)
* [http://home.comcast.net/~jmmahony1/PGO/starparty/ Indiana Star Party] (Indiana)
* [http://www.stargazing.net/DSRSG/ Deep South Regional StarGaze] (Louisiana)
* [http://www.nebraskastarparty.org Nebraska Star Party]
* [http://www.wro.org/ Hidden Hollow Star Party at Warren Rupp Observatory] (Ohio)
* [http://www.oregonstarparty.org/ Oregon Star Party]
* [http://www.bfsp.org/starparty/ Black Forest Star Party] (Pennsylvania)
* Texas Star Party - [http://www.texasstarparty.org/ Official Web Site]
* Stellafane (Vermont)
* [http://www.tmspa.com/ Table Mountain Star Party] (Washington State)

Star Parties in Canada include:
* [http://www.mksp.ca Mount Kobau Star Party] (British Columbia)
* [http://homepage.usask.ca/~ges125/rasc/starparty.html Saskatchewan Summer Star Party] (Saskatchewan)
* [http://www.nyaa.ca/index.php?page=sf.home Starfest] (Ontario)
* [http://winnipeg.rasc.ca/sprucewoods/ Spruce Woods Star Party] (Manitoba)
* [http://www.roc-qc.net/ Rendez-vous des Observateurs du Ciel] (Québec)
* [http://membres.lycos.fr/cdadfs/cafta.html Concours annuel des fabricants de télescopes amateurs] (Québec)

Star Parties in the UK include:
* [http://www.starparty.org.uk/ Equinox Star Party]
* [http://www.richarddarn.demon.co.uk/starcamp/ Kielder Star Camp]

ee also

* Messier marathon

References

External links

* [http://skyandtelescope.com/resources/calendar/ Astronomy Event Calendar at "Sky and Telescope" Website]
* [http://www.southcelestialpole.org IceInSpace The Australian Amateur Astronomy Community]
* [http://cleardarksky.com/cgi-bin/find_clock.py?keys=%22%5C%28starparty%5C%7Cstar+party%5C%29%22&type=text&doit=Find List of star parties in North America with astronomy-weather forecasts]


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