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Favorite Star Parties World Wide?

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#1 Tom T

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 07:32 PM

So - what are the best star parties across the entire world?  What are the best ones in your region?  Or (alternately) the best ones you've been to or want to go to?





#2 SpaceConqueror3


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Posted 27 March 2015 - 09:48 PM

I don't have a wide breadth of experience at major Star Parties but three of the ones that I've attended in the past I can highly recommend:


Mt Kobau Star Party near Osoyoos, British Columbia...very friendly. 

Table Mountain Star Party in WA State....super kid activities through out.

Central Nevada Star Party near Tonopah, NV....excellent skies

#3 Rusty



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Posted 27 March 2015 - 10:27 PM

Nebraska Star Party, near Valentine, NE

Peach State Star Gaze, Sharon, GA
Chiefland Star Party Group Fall Star Party, Chiefland, FL

#4 Tom T

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 05:08 PM

Thanks!  Among other things I'm looking at an article and a user poll for top ten star parties world wide.  This will help get it started!  Others?

#5 MRoedel


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Posted 28 March 2015 - 05:56 PM

Great Lakes Star Gaze near Gladwin, MI

Black Forest Star Party At  Cherry Springs State  Park,  PA

Astro Atlantik at Mount Carleton Provincial Park, New Brunswick, Canada

Rocky Mountain Star Stare Near Colorado Springs, CO

Weekend Under the Stars, Fox Park, WY

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#6 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 09:17 PM

I've attended 20 different star parties including The Southern Skies Star Party in Bolivia.  Some of the parties are no longer being held. 


My five overall favorites are the following:


The Black Forest Star Party  http://www.bfsp.org/

The Winter Star Party  http://scas.org/winter-star-party/

The Texas Star Party  https://texasstarparty.org/

The Cherry Springs Star Party  http://www.astrohbg.org/CSSP/

The Delmarva Star Gaze  http://www.delmarvas...2015/index.html


A special mention goes to Stellafane, which isn't really a star party as such.




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#7 Alex McConahay

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 11:24 PM

Two that I am familiar with are RTMC Astronomy Expo and Nightfall.


I think you know about RTMC Astronomy Expo. It has been going for more than 40 years and has one of the best presentation programs going.


Nightfall is a little different. It is at a Hotel/RV resort. (The outdoor lights in the hotel/RV lot are changed over to red.) That means there are showers, air conditioning, pools, spas, a bar, a restaurant..... as well as dark skys, a pretty good program of speakers. It is in Anza Borrego, CA>  



#8 LoveChina61


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Posted 03 April 2015 - 12:04 AM

the Okie-Tex star party is quite large as well.  http://www.okie-tex.com



Edited by LoveChina61, 03 April 2015 - 12:06 AM.

#9 City Kid

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 06:40 AM

My sample size is very small but far and away my favorite star party I've attended is the Nebraska Star Party. The skies are extremely dark and I can camp and park right where I set up my scope. I can set up close to a group of other observers or I can set up 50 yards away from anyone else if that's what I choose. Lots and lots of room. 

#10 Howie Glatter

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 09:03 PM

Two great star parties unmentioned so far :

Starfest in Ontario, Canada

Internationales Teleskoptreffen, or ITT,  in Austria


 IMHO, Stellafane is the greatest star party.

#11 djpontone


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Posted 07 April 2015 - 01:17 PM



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#12 edwincjones


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Posted 25 April 2015 - 07:48 PM

Grand Canyon Star Party


more outreach than  a true star party,

but what a location


:waytogo:  :waytogo:


#13 edwincjones


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Posted 26 April 2015 - 08:04 AM

While not a star party-or at least organized

in 2003 I stayed in an Astronomy B&B in New Zealand

(has since closed, but there are several Southern Hemisphere parties announced here)


This was a wonderful experience,

the skies are dark, exciting,

all the good stuff we hear about is there


we seem to go to the same star parties,

see the same stuff

going South gives us the other 1/3 of the heavens



Edited by edwincjones, 26 April 2015 - 08:08 AM.

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#14 Bob Clark

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 09:30 PM

Hard to beat Ozsky for a southern hemisphere experience.   www.ozsky.org  

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#15 WOBentley


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Posted 29 June 2015 - 05:57 PM

Oregon Star Party for the skies and amenities (I mean a Latte truck in addition to all the usual stuff)

GSSP for the quieter scene than OSP and a smaller crowd.

#16 Bernie Poskus

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 01:31 AM

Rocky Mountain Star Stare is the prettiest location (beautiful mountains surround the site), and has very dark skies.

Okie-Tex Star Party has even darker skies (the sight of Orion high in the sky at 5AM will always stay with me).

Texas Star Party has very dark skies, and if you stay on the ranch and eat their food, you will never go hungry.

Nebraska Star Party has very dark skies, a fascinating environment (the Sand Hills of Nebraska), and a very nice lake right next to the site (the hottest I've ever been at a star party is Nebraska). 


Rest in Peace, Weekend Under the Stars in Foxpark, Wyoming.  Only about 150 people so it's very intimate, but incredibly dark skies (the Milky Way casts shadows).  Incredible temperature swings (it could hit 90 during the day, and freeze water bottles solid at night).  Sadly, the Forest Service stopped granting a permit for it so they can't have it any more.  It was my favorite star party, though the above four are wonderful to attend.

#17 CCD-Freak


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Posted 07 February 2016 - 01:57 PM

My favorites in order


Okie-Tex >>> Great DARK location (Bortle 1), laid back atmosphere, good food, typically good weather with low humidity

TSP >>> Good DARK location (Bortle 1), lots of fun, many things to do in the area, many good talks, often good weather with low humidity

RMSS >>> Good DARK location (Bortle 2), very friendly people, laid back atmosphere, often good weather with low humidity

ESP >>> Good Dark location (Bortle 2), very friendly people, laid back atmosphere, smaller star party, often good weather with low humidity




MNSP >>> Our group makes trips to DARK (Bortle 1) locations in the middle of nowhere, aka, "Middle of Nowhere Star Party"


There are probably many more I haven't been to yet. (o:





Edited by CCD-Freak, 07 February 2016 - 02:00 PM.

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#18 skysurfer


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Posted 07 February 2016 - 02:05 PM

I am, except for OZSKY, the first to mention a star party outside the USA:

Western Cape, South Africa:


Currently one just finished (5-7 feb).

And after 4 weeks (Mar 4-6) another one (Leeuwenboschfontein weekend) which I will attend. The website is a report of the 11-13 dec 2015 weekend.

Edited by skysurfer, 07 February 2016 - 02:32 PM.

#19 Muleskinner115


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Posted 27 May 2016 - 03:13 PM

The Chiefland Fall Star Party in Chiefland Florida is a superb event with great facilities!  The local food choices are very good and the area around Chiefland Florida offers a vast array of side trips for the day.  Carl has assembled top notch vendors who provide viewers with all you would need and an on site food vendor for those who don't care to venture into town.  Chiefland offers great skies and people to view with!!!!  


Go to chieflandastronomy.com to find details.  The fall star party will be 23-30 Oct 2016.



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#20 jcastarz


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Posted 19 June 2016 - 10:38 PM

Of the few I've actually been to, mostly local to the mid-Atlantic U.S.:


#1: OzSky, Coonabarabran, Australia:  great facilities, superb organization, dark skies, and of course all that eye candy that makes our northern skies seem like they were cheated when the heavens were made.  Many thanks to Lachlan McDonald & company.


#2: Staunton River, VA/NC border:  great facilities, superb organization, fairly good skies for the mid-Atlantic region.  Many thanks to Jayme Hanzak & company.


#3: East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC:  skies can be very dark and clear on the NC coast, world-famous barbecue cookout, plus an official happy hour!  Many thanks to Kent Blackwell & company.


Honorable mention to Greenbank Starquest for great facilities, superb organization and dark skies... but the weather has been working against them the last few years.  Let's hope July 2016 sees clearer skies there.

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#21 Pixiedust


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Posted 11 July 2016 - 09:42 AM

We volunteered at Bryce Canyon 2016 Astrofest June 1-4.  All day events, solar telescopes, evening lectures and nightly Star Party to 12:30 AM.  I think this was their 16th year hosting this four day event in a beautiful designated dark sky location.


We set up our scopes at the edge of the Rim, surrounded by stunning red Cliff formations and green pine trees. Hotel accommodations are nearby and very nice.  Reported count was 800 to 1000  International visitors looking through our telescopes each night.  It was well-run by Bryce Canyon NPS, visitors were bussed into our dark sky location and given instruction for red light only and telescope etiquette. Most of the telescopes were supplied by the 40 year old Salt Lake Astronomical Society, a few from the newly formed Utah Valley Astronomy Club, and other guest volunteers.


My favorite few moments was after a visitor had seen Saturn for the first time, with the familiar expressing amazement!  The young man looked up into the sky and  pointing, he asked "What is that?"  I looked off into the distance and after asking a couple of questions found out he was from the  Eastern United States.


I turn to the guests in my line and said I'm going to stop for just a moment and I want you to look off into the distance to the east. I spread my arm across the vast expanse of the rising Milky Way and talk to them briefly about what we were seeing. Then I did something I never do.  I told the visitors that for the next 15 minutes they would be controlling my telescope and were welcome to look at anything they wanted in the Milky Way.  I turned my 9.25 Edge HD CGEM hand control over to the next few visitors, showing them how to push the uptown and left right buttons. The gratitude expressed by International visitors leaving my telescope that night is a memory I will treasure.

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#22 LMacDonald


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Posted 08 March 2017 - 07:51 AM

Being an Aussie, I'm somewhat biased, but here's my favourites.  Although they're both in Oz, these two events are actually designed specifically for observers from the northern hemisphere to see the southern skies.



#1: The OzSky Star Safari in Coonabarabran - "the Astronomy Capital of Australia".  Held in April each year, this event is specifically designed for observers from the northern hemisphere who want to get a good look at the amazing southern skies through an impressive range of big dobs (up to 30") which are all provided for the use of those attending.


If you want to see Crux / Carina, Omega Centauri and the Central & Southern Milky Way right up at the zenith, this is the Star Party for you.  Limited to 36 observers only.


The next OzSky Star Safari is April 22-29, 2017 and there are still some places available, so register soon if you're interested.  In 2018, it will be April 14-21, 2018 (TBC).


#2: The OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safari in Australia - Held in October each year (Spring in the southern hemisphere), this event is also specifically designed for observers from the northern hemisphere, but instead it showcases the spectacular Magellanic Clouds, the magnificent 47 Tucanae as well as a whole host of galaxies not easily visible from the northern hemisphere, or not visible during the "Southern Autumn/Fall" skies, using an equally impressive range of big dobs (up to 30") which are all provided for the use of those attending.


The "Southern Spring" edition of OzSky is designed more for experienced observers wanting some new observing challenges and is limited to 12-16 observers only, so is a very intimate star party.


The next OzSky "Southern Spring" Star Safari is October 15-22, 2017 and there are still places available, so register soon to secure your place.  In 2018 it will be October 6-13, 2018 (TBC).


Looking forward to seeing some new faces (and of course some familiar faces) at OzSky this year.



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#23 Richard Whalen

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:22 PM

TSP fairly dark skies

Astrofest (gone?) lots of vendors, see my northern friends

WSP great seeing.

CAV close, see my local friends.

#24 Starkid2u



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Posted 13 April 2017 - 02:55 AM

Well, that's quite a question. It all depends on where you live, I guess. I've been to ten different star parties, all in the Eastern half of the US, from Vermont all the way down to NC and my favorite one is the Black Forest Star Party @ Cherry Springs, PA. Darkest skies east of the Mississippi, some say. Although I live 4 1/2 hours away, I consider this my "home" viewing site. I am planning to go to the WSP this year as it is a life "bucket list" item. Heard the seeing there is fantastic. That would make 11 star parties in 11 states. Not bad...




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#25 tyman


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Posted 23 October 2017 - 01:18 PM

My favorite star party unfortunately does not exist anymore. It was the original Chicago Astronomical Society (CAS) Astrofest that ran from 1979-2003. Astrofest was the major rendezvous for amateur astronomers and vendors from around the mid-west. Other than the first two, which were held on the grounds of the Racine Astronomical Society, Astrofest took place at Camp Shaw-waw-nas-see near Kankakee, IL. It was the high point of the year for many, if not most of us amateur astronomers from that region. It was a major showcase for telescope makers (professional and amateur) attracting about 800 or more attendees every year. In 2003 due to some internal rift among the organizers the event was split up and moved to two new and completely different locations, which destroyed the unique and special character of the event.


As a matter of fact there is a public Facebook group dedicated to sharing and preserving the history and experience of this unique and special event.  If any of you have any classic Astrofest memorabilia (e.g. old registration forms, flyers, newsletters, etc.)  photos and/or stories, please consider sharing them to that group.

To find the group follow the link https://www.facebook.../?ref=bookmarks or search FB for Astrofest Memories.

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