Catch us and our telescopes at a star party in Joshua Tree National Park. The Twentynine Palms Astronomy Club regularly participates in evening programs lead by National Park Rangers at select JTNP campgrounds, around the new moon weekends each month. If you're camping or visiting Cottonwood, Jumbo Rocks or Indian Cove, attend an evening program lead by the Park Rangers and you might meet us there!
We are currently developing a dark sky location to host star parties. We are planning to organize free public star parties, private events, as well as traditional star parties for local amateur astronomers and astrophotographers.
Wherever you attend a star party, both private or public, there are some star party etiquette rules you must follow:
1) Use only red lights when attending a star party, as human eyes are not sensitive to red light and it will not affect your night vision,
enabling you to fully enjoy the night sky. The Astronomers will be quick
to remind you about this rule if you shine a bright white light at their telescope.
2) It is very important to only look with your eyes and not touch any of the equipment, including the mount, tripod, telescope and most inportantly, the eyepiece. If you touch the eyepice when viewing, not only will it make the image jump around, but you may knock the telescope out of alignment, causing the astronomer to have to take time in realigning it. Remember to just look with your eyes, the equipment is very expensive and precisely calibrated to ensure your view is the best possible.
3) It is never a good idea to bring your pets to a star party. The can easily run into a mount or telescope, and they can also be interested in the nocturnal creatures both friendly and dangerous, that may cause disruptions at the star party.
4) Be aware if the star party you are attending is a public event or a star party for serious amateur astronomers. Public events that are geared toward education are quite different in style and are more suitable for children. At public events, astronomers are more than happy to educate you about the cosmos. For serious astronomy club star parties, the astronomers are there to work on personal observing projects or to do astrophotography, not to give sky tours to others.