2019 Star Parties

Lots of star party opportunities in the mid-Atlantic region and beyond.  Below are the ones for which we have information.  If you would like another event to be listed or have more information on one of the events below, please send a note to president@richastro.org.


Winter Star Party, February 4 – 10, Camp Weesumkee (Florida):  Additional info and registration at www.scas.org/Home/winterStarParty.

Staunton River Star Party – Spring Installment, March 4-10, Staunton River State Park: More information at http://www.chaosastro.org/starparty/.  For those that have not attended this party it is distinguished by being held at the newest International Dark Sky Park in the eastern US.  Staunton River State Park has been incredibly supportive of the party and dark sky preservation in the area.  Plus they are just plain nice to us!  If you can make it to this star party, it’s worth your time and a great experience to observe the sky with other astronomy enthusiasts in a beautiful setting under a dark sky.

Southern Star Astronomical Convention, April 4- 7, Charlotte, NC:  Hosted by the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club.  More information at http://www.charlotteastronomers.org/southernstar/.

Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), April 6 – 7, Suffern, NY, Rockland Community College:  Premier astronomy and space expo.  Information at http://www.rocklandastronomy.com.

Delmarva Stargaze XXII, TBA, Trap Pond State Park, near Laurel, Delaware:  Hosted by the Delmarva Stargazers.  Information at http://delmarvastargazers.org/club-information/star-parties/stargaze-star-party/.

East Coast Star Party, TBA, Coinjock, NC:  The next scheduled date for the East Coast Star Party is on hold until arrangements with the new owners are made.  If and when the new arrangements are complete, this is a star party very much worth attending.  It provides fun and casual observing in a dark North Carolina sky with the friendliest astronomers anywhere.  The location is the Hampton Lodge Campground which offers casual stargazing in a coastal environment. Pre-registration is not required.  Contact Kent Blackwell for information at kent@exis.net.  This will be the 26th year that Kent has held this star party!

York County Star Party (YCSP), TBA, York County, PA.    The York County Star Party (YCSP), sponsored by SkyShedPodPA, will be at Shreveport Airport North, York County, PA, at a private airport about 90 minutes from Philly and D. C. Facilities include flush toilets, hot showers, raffle, speakers, and a food vendor, with flat, hard-packed turf 2000-foot-long taxiway for camping. All events (except evening viewing) will take place rain or shine! The York County Star Party (YCSP) is an annual dark-sky amateur astronomy observing event. Go to http://yorkcountystarparty.org/  for complete current info and updates.

Cherry Springs Star Party, May 30 – June 2, Cherry Springs State Park, near Coudersport, PA:  Hosted by the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg, PA.  More information at: http://www.cherrysprings.org/.

Green Bank Star Quest, June 26 – 29, Green Bank, WV:  The Green Bank Star Quest is a star party where there is a lot to do and see even if cloudy weather limits observing.  The event is held at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory facility in Green Bank, WV.  More information at http://www.greenbankstarquest.org/ and on their Facebook page.

Maine Astronomy Retreat, July 28 – August 3, Medomak Retreat Center, Washington, Maine:  Maine is quite a ways from Virginia, but the Maine Astronomy Retreat sounds like a lot to fun. The retreat will be led by J. Kelly Beatty, Sky & Telescope’s senior editor, and Bruce Berger, director of Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston Research and Imaging Observatory;  Special guests will be Rick Binzel, Professor of Planetary Sciences at M.I.T. and co-investigator on the New Horizons mission, Babak Tafreshi, founder of The World at Night and nightscape photographer for the National Geographic image collection. More information at http://www.astronomyretreat.com/.

ALCon, July 25 – 29, Kennedy Space Center: Information on location and registration will be in the Reflector magazine, which you should receive if you are member of RAS since your membership in RAS automatically covers membership in the Astronomical League.  Also see the Astronomical League’s web site at https://www.astroleague.org and at https://alcon2019.astroleague.org/ for additional information.

Stellafane Convention, August 1 – 4 on Breezy Hill in Springfield, VT:  Stellafane is the largest gathering of amateur astronomers and telescope builders in the world. A long trek from Richmond but well worth it, a bucket list adventure for enthusiasts that haven’t yet made the trip. Info and registration at https://stellafane.org/convention/.

Highland Star Party, September 27-29, 2019, (Rain Date: October 25-27, 2019), Highland County, VA:  Highland County will host astronomers from the Charlottesville Astronomical Society. The public is invited and there is no charge for this event, which celebrates Highland County’s unique dark sky resource. The final decision as to which one of these three possible nights is selected (based on the weather forecast) will generally be made the Thursday prior. Astronomers will set up atop Jack Mountain on the clearest night within the three-day viewing window.  For more information, contact Michael Bedwell at (540) 468-2316 or go to http://www.highlandcounty.org/events/highland-star-party/.

Almost Heaven Star Party, August 30 – September 3, Spruce Knob, WV:  Hosted by the Mountain Institute at a high altitude dark site.  Information at http://www.ahsp.org.

Okie-Tex Star Party, September 21 – 29:   Under the dark skies near Guymon, OK at Camp Billy Joe.  More info at http://www.okie-tex.com/.

Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies, October 6:    Information to be posted as it becomes available.  This year’s gathering will be hosted by the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club.

Northern Virginia Astronomy Club Star Gaze, October 6:  NOVAC invites you to the largest public star gaze in the Washington DC area. This year NOVAC will also host the Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies annual meeting. Learn about astronomy while enjoying the night sky with hundreds of telescopes, binoculars and homemade projects. Many experienced astronomers will be on hand to answer questions and share their knowledge. Easy access, lots of equipment and a dark sky make for a good night under the stars.

East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC – Fall Installment, TBA:  The next scheduled date for the East Coast Star Party is on hold until arrangements with the new owners are made.  If and when the new arrangements are complete, this is a star party very much worth attending.  This event provides, courtesy of Kent Blackwell, casual stargazing in a coastal environment. Portable restrooms conveniently located near observing area.  Showers and country store located on the campground site. Pre-registration is not required. Contact Kent for more information at Kent@exis.net.

Staunton River Star Party – Fall Installment, October 21-27, Staunton River State Park:  The October installment of the Staunton River Star Party.  For those that have not attended, this is an excellent star party with dark skies, convenient amenities and a state park staff that is very welcoming to astronomers and second to none in their dedication to making this a successful event.  More info is at  http://www.chaosastro.org/starparty/.

Bays Mountain Starfest, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, Kingsport, TN, TBA:  The event is a non-profit, multi-day, astronomical convention hosted by the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club and Bays Mountain Planetarium filled with all sorts of astronomical treats! The event is going to be great as usual with fantastic speakers, food, and friends.  More information at this link: http://www.baysmountain.com/astronomy/astronomy-club/?GTTabs=4

Rappahannock Astronomy Club parties:  The Rappahannock Astronomy Club hosts star parties in the area.  More information at http://raclub.org/v2/star-parties/

Stargazing at Staunton River State Park:  Members of the Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) in conjunction with Staunton River State Park are hosting public observing sessions with observing for the volunteer astronomers after the public portion.  See the websites below for schedule information and contact the park directly regarding weather cancellations at 434-572-4623 or StauntonRiver@dcr.virginia.gov and to confirm permission to observe after the public observing is over.  The park also accommodates star gazing by visitors on request on the observation field.  A more complete list of events is at this link:

Stargazing at Shenandoah National Park: Shenandoah National Park is presenting a series of stagazing events and presentations at Big Meadows Area in the Park.  You can join amateur astronomers as they present a provocative presentation on controlling light pollution as you gaze at the heavenly stars through telescopes.  The sessions are held on select Fridays at the Big Meadows Area (mile 51, inside the Rapidan Camp Gate). Free to all park visitors. A blanket, chair, and flashlight are recommended.

Events are cancelled if there is inclement weather. Call 540-999-2222 the day of the event to check on its status.  More information at http://www.goshenandoah.com/activities-events/astronomy