Star Parties

   Star Party Tips


RCA Public Star Party Etiquette
Printable Version HERE

Public star parties are held so that we can share our telescopes with anyone who happens along. We try to eliminate the presence of even small amounts of white light. Maintaining dark adapted night vision is essential for visual observing and thus minimizing ambient light is an important aspect of maximizing observing potential.

Bring warm clothing, it does get cold late at night even in the middle of summer

In addition, other common courtesies and precautions will enhance the experience for all.

You are asked to practice the following Star Party Etiquette at Public star parties, and confer with the Event Coordinator if you have any questions, or related issue or problem arises,

Arrival and Departure - please drive very slowly and carefully after dark in the parking area.

1 If arriving after dark, make sure to turn off your headlights and use only parking lights in the parking lot and mask all other lights that canít be turned off like dome lights, etc .prior to driving into the parking area.
2 If you do bring a telescope and set it up, be sure to put it a couple of yards away from your closest neighbor. Many people need room for star chart tables, chairs, power supplies, and cables.
3 If you will be leaving before the event is over,
  a Park with your vehicleís headlights pointing away from the observing field and use only parking lights until you are out of the parking area, and cover all vehicle lighting that canít be turned off.
  b Drive away with headlights off and parking lights only. Only turn on your lights after leaving the observing area.
  c If you feel it is too dark to safely drive yourself out of the observing field, ask someone to guide you.


4 After dark all vehicle lights that can be turned off (headlights, parking lights, tail lights, brake lights, interior dome lights, etc.) should remain off or be taped to reduce/eliminate their light.
  NOTE: On the newer cars it may be possible to turn off the "always-on" headlights by clicking on the parking brake ONE click. This is often enough to turn off the headlights, but not enough to actually engage the parking brake. Don't forget to release the parking brake when leaving.
5 Avoid locking your car if locking/unlocking causes your lights to flash or horn to honk and put your keys someplace where you wonít inadvertently active the locks or set off your car alarm.
6 You may use red flashlights dimmed as much as possible while still being able to see. Even red light can be objectionable if too bright. It is easy to modify a regular flashlight by covering the lens with a red filter. Red construction paper, red fabric, red cellophane (thick layers), or red tail-light repair tape works great to make red filters.
7 Computer screens, cell phones and any other light-emitting device should be dimmed, masked and shielded to block obtrusive light (low brightness, night mode and red plastic work best but even red light can be objectionable if too bright). If you wish to take any pictures with a camera or cellphone, be sure to turn off the flash first.
8 In the event you must give off some light, give a yell so folks can cover their eyes or turn off a camera.


9 Astronomy is a quiet, peaceful activity. Avoid loud and boisterous behavior.
10 Green laser pointers are not allowed, except by permission of the event coordinator.
11 Please ask for permission before touching anyone's equipment.
12 Bring your kids. However, many kids get cold and tired early, so you will want to bring warm clothes and maybe even a sleeping bag for them. Do not let them run around unsupervised as there are lots of expensive telescopes, tables, cables and equipment to run into in the dark.
13 Pets are best left at home, but if you must bring your pet please make sure they are on a leash, under control and quiet at all times. Also, make sure that they do their business away from the observing field and that you clean up after your pet.
14 Smoking and alcohol are not allowed during observing hours in the observing area, or around any telescope equipment at any time. Be aware that alcohol may adversely affect your night vision, body temperature and ability to drive safely.

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