So, how do you get the most from your Party?
First, come prepared! No matter what temperature you hear it will be, prepare for weather that is at least 20 degrees colder. If you are not familiar with the observing site, arrive early enough so that you don't have to arrive after dark, not knowing where you are going, and disrupt everyone with your headlights. No white lights after sundown. Allow yourself to become dark-adapted in order to see all that you can see.
Star Parties are the perfect place to learn more about observing, more about telescopes, and more about all the other accessories that go with the hobby. If you are considering purchasing a particular model, or building your own telescope, there is no better place to learn all the latest news, or to see the latest designs, and to get first hand advice.
You should never simply take a two second look at an interesting object, and you should learn to study each object - to train your eye to see all that it can see.
Trash belongs in the trash can.
You may bring flashlights, but allow us to cover them with red cellophane. Covering the flashlights with a red filter will keep everyone's eyes dark-adapted (white light, by contrast, will shrink the pupils of your eyes).
Jesse will use laser pointers to point out celestial objects. Please note that these laser pointers are only handled responsibly. It is legal to operate the devices the U.S. provided you don't try anything dumb, like shining one at an aircraft in flight. Children will not be allowed to handle lasers.
Arrange to arrive prior to sunset if you'd like to do solar (sun) viewing. Cackle Observatory has special, sun-safe filters to allow viewing the sun. NEVER do this without solar-safe filters.
Light snacks will be provided such as Cowboy Stew, or hotdogs & marshmallows (under fire safe conditions), or cheese/veggie plates, chips, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, water. (Feel free to bring your own adult libations!)
You will receive a souvenir booklet that describes celestial objects chosen especially for your viewing evening. You can expect to see things like galaxies, planets, satellites, binary stars, open clusters, supernova remnants, globular clusters, diffuse nebula, planetary nebula, etc.
Some nights, however, will offer up a special attraction: a meteor shower, a comet, an iridium flare, the ISS, a beautiful conjunction between the moon and a bright star or planet, or even an eclipse of the moon. And if nature is really in a show-off mood, perhaps you'll get an unexpected display of the northern lights (also known as the aurora borealis).
Length of the Star Party can be determined by you.
Use the Clear Sky Chart to determine sky conditions at Cackle Observatory