Planning Your Star Party Event

A Theme for Your Star Party

The most successful events are designed around a theme, and offer a variety of related learning activities. Following are some event ideas that should be successful:

Astro Science Night

Exploring the Night Sky

Family Science Night

Fun and Learning the Night Sky

Math and Science Family Night

MoonScope

MoonScope on a Starry Night

Moonscapes

Night “Spacetacular”

Night Sky Adventure

Trip to the Moon

Night Sky of the Ancients and Mythology

Night Sky with the Planets

Night with the Stars

Race to the Planets

Science Night

Star Gazing Lock-In

Star Spectacular

Star “Spacetacular”

Stargazing

Starry Night

School Star Party Scheduling Coordinator

Jim Knoll
520 – 241 – 311(three)
school-star-party [at] tucsonastronomy.org

Star Party Request Form

TAAA can help you choose an event theme, whether for daytime, evening, or overnight camp out.

See the Teacher’s Corner for projects and instructional materials. The TAAA Star Party Coordinator can also provide guidance, when you request a star party.

Preparing for Your Event

  • Walk the site (preferably at night) and select a location away from bright lights and potential dangers.The Star Party Leader is responsible for learning EXACTLY where telescopes are to be positioned for viewing at your school and will ensure an adequate number of volunteers and their scopes will be arriving for your star party.
  • Any identified dangers or hazards should be addressed with the school staff.
  • Get permission and make arrangements for very limited area lighting, suspended sprinklers, etc. in the viewing area. (The school is responsible for water damage to personal property occurring during a star party!)
  • The astronomers will need to drive to the immediate observing location. This often means unlocking a gate onto a playground.
  • Make arrangements for cleaning area afterwards, if necessary.
  • School-wide parties require lots of planning and cooperation from the school staff. For larger groups (50 or more) it is important to plan for multiple activities.

Promoting Your Event

Star Parties provide an opportunity to publicize your school and the TAAA.

  • Create and send an announcement home with students
  • Submit a Press Release announcing your event – photo opportunity!

Hosting Your Event

  • Confirm that TAAA astronomers have access to your location (gates are unlocked, if applicable)
  • Confirm that lighting is limited and sprinklers suspended, etc. in the viewing area
  • Provide for related activities and handouts (such as log sheets, star finders, etc.)
  • Star Finder Charts (Sky Maps) can be found and printed at the following Night Sky Network website:  http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/planner.cfm
  • Arrange for a camera to take pictures at your event
  • Make arrangements for cleaning the area afterwards, if necessary
  • And finally, in the unlikely event of inclement weather, the leader will contact your school to handle the possibility of cancellation of the event. Every effort will be made to reschedule canceled events.

Astro Tucson

Are you a Project Astro School?
This program partners astronomers and teachers for learning.

Benefits include free instructional materials for teachers, in addition to one-on-one support from a trained astronomer.

Visit the Astro Tucson website for additional information and resources.

Project Astro is an educational outreach program of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO).