Many astronomy clubs and organizations host events where astronomers of all ages can get together and share the observing experience. The largest of these events are known as star parties and can attract hundreds of amateur astronomers and casual observers. This page contains links and information about local and non-local observing events and star parties. Some events are free and open to the general public while others may require a registration fee. These listings contain links to the hosting organization Web site for additional information where possible. If you know of any astronomy events that are not listed here, please send an e-mail and we will consider adding the event to this page.
Winter Star Party
February 4 - 10, 2013
Host: Southern Cross Astronomical Society
Location: West Summerland Key, Florida Keys
Admission: $95.00 adult
The Winter Star Party is held on Scout Key (right next to Big Pine Key) in the Florida Keys. The site features excellent night skies and some of the steadiest viewing in the northern hemisphere. This special 6 day long "Stellar Star Party" includes vendors promoting their latest products for amateur astronomy, nationally recognized guest speakers, a popular "Kids Kamp", mirror-grinding lessons, the ever popular door prize giveaway on Friday afternoon and much more!
Orange Blossom Special Star Party
February 6 - 10, 2013
Host: St. Petersburg Astronomy Club
Location: Withlacoochee River County Park, Dade City, Florida
Admission: $50.00 adult, $30.00 spouse, $10.00 youth (7-17), children free (1-7)
The Orange Blossom Special Star Party is hosted by the St. Petersburg Astronomy Club. The event will be held at the Withlacoochee River County Park, Dade City, Florida. This location features darker skies, limited 30 amp RV hookups, limited 20 amp hookups, and unlimited dry camping. There is easy on/off field access to accommodate arrivals/departures, day trips, etc. One per-person registration fee includes camping. The meals, T-shirts and raffle tickets are extra.
Hodges Gardens Star Party
March 13 - 17, 2013
Host: Baton Rouge Astronomical Society
Location: Hodges Gardens State Park, Louisiana
Admission: $10.00 plus $1.00/day park fee
The Baton Rouge Astronomical Society invites you to join them in the piney woods of west-central Louisiana to share a few nights of stargazing and camaraderie. Hodges Gardens State Park is most noted for its beautiful botanical gardens (at one time it was the largest privately owned gardens in the country), but opportunities for other recreational activities abound. Visitors can rent canoes and fish in the park's lake. Numerous trails are available for hiking, cycling, or birding. If golfing is more your style, the Emerald Hills Golf Resort is located adjacent to the park.
Mid-South Star Gaze
April 10 - 13, 2013
Host: Rainwater Observatory and Planetarium
Location: Rainwater Observatory & Planetarium, French Camp, Mississippi
Admission: $20.00 registration fee
The Mid-South Star Gaze is an annual amateur astronomers conference and star party held at Rainwater Observatory in French Camp. Their hill top viewing site features a full view of the horizon. Amenities include electricity for scopes, showers, bunk room, cabins. The event will also feature talks by professional and amateur astronomers.
Texas Star Party
May 5 - 12, 2013
Host: Texas Star Party, Inc. and the Southwest Region of the Astronomical League
Location: Prude Ranch, Fort Davis, Texas
Admission: $60.00 preregistration/$40.00 family member, $150.00 at the door/$50.00 family member
One of the premiere star parties held anywhere in North America is the Annual Texas Star Party. The event is held at the Prude Ranch, a 3500 acre mile-high ranch located six miles northwest of Fort Davis. This site in the Davis Mountains of West Texas features the darkest skies found anywhere in North America. Join a huge gathering of more than 500 of the most serious astrophotographers and observers in the United States and beyond for a week-long observing event where Milky Way rises over the mountains with so vivid a presence that you might mistake it for an ominous storm cloud.
Mid-States Regional Astronomical League Conference
May 17 - 18, 2013
Host: The Astronomical League
Location: Mahoney State Park, Omaha, Nebraska
The MSRAL 2013 conference will be held at Mahoney State Park, conveniently located between Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. It will feature talks by professional astronomers and workshops for amateur astronomers. There will also be a Star B-Que Friday evening and a planetarium program at Science City/Union Station
Grand Canyon Star Party
June 8 - 15, 2013
Host: Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association
Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Admission: National park admission fee of $25.00
For eight days in June, park visitors will explore the wonders of the night sky on Grand Canyon National Park's South Rim with the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and on the North Rim with the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix. Amateur astronomers from across the country will volunteer their expertise and will offer free nightly astronomy programs and free telescope viewing. Visitors will have the chance to view the planet Saturn along with a wide assortment of star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae by night, and the sun and planet Mercury by day. Grand Canyon is one of the best night sky observing sites in the United States because it has some of the darkest skies and cleanest air in the country. Participants will experience spectacular views of the universe! Everyone dress warmly, since temperatures drop quickly after sunset - even during the summer months.
August 9 - 11, 2013
Host: San Diego Astronomy Association (SDAA)
Location: Menghini Winery, Julian, CA
Admission: Varies depending on features and hookups
Julian Starfest, an astronomy exhibition and public star party, is up and rolling to another great event! Scheduled for the 9th through the 11th of August at the Menghini Winery in Julian, CA. Julian, at 4,200', offers some of the darkest skies in Southern California and the Menghini Winery offers a beautiful venue. Starfest, now a joint effort between the San Diego Astronomy Association and the town of Julian, will only get better as the years pass.
Brothers Star Party for Oregon Observatory
September 4 - 8, 2013
Host: Mount Bachelor Star Party
Location: Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory, Sunriver, Oregon
The Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory features incredibly dark skies for this 2nd annual star party that's only 2 miles from a major highway and easy in/easy out. The new 30” DOB will be available, and provides some great views. This is during the late tourist season, and local accommodations can easily be found. Camp sites can be found in the area around Sunriver or South in LaPine. Just up the road is Bend, Oregon, a beautiful city with parks, brew pubs, and shopping areas that includes a large outlet mall. Got some equipment you want to sell? Bring it for the Swap Meet.
Heart of America Star Party 2013
Host: Astronomical Society of Kansas City
Location: Butler, Missouri
The Heart of America Star Party is an annual gathering of amateur astronomers at the Astronomical Society of Kansas City’s Dark Sky Site, near Butler, Missouri, about 75 miles south of Kansas City. Our remote location offers dark skies and wonderful nighttime viewing. Each year, observing friends from across the country gather to share, to learn, and most of all, to observe.
August 9 - 11, 2013
Host: Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society
Location: Hobbs Observatory, Fall Creek, Wisconsin
The Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society will hold the 23nd annual Northwoods Starfest on August 9-11, 2013 at Hobbs Observatory near Fall Creek, Wisconsin. The registration fee covers camping or cabin for two nights, and three meals plus midnight snacks - see the event website for details. There will be paper sessions, swap meet, dealers, door prizes, and star party. It's an enjoyable weekend of dark-sky viewing and sharing ideas with other astronomy enthusiasts!
Astronomy Day in Ft. Pierce
Host: Treasure Coast Astronomical Society
Location: Indian River State College, Ft. Pierce, Florida
Indian River State College and the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society will host this free event. There will be telescopes, exhibits, astrophotography, guest speakers, mini-planetarium shows, activities for the kids, plus guided tours views of the moon, planets, and stars at night, with solar viewing during the day.
April 20 & October 13, 2013
Host: The Astronomical League
Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals. The theme of Astronomy Day is "Bringing Astronomy to the People," and on this day astronomy and stargazing clubs and other organizations around the world will plan special events. You can find out about special local events by contacting your local astronomy club or planetarium.