Richmond Astronomical Society

2017 Star Parties

Dec 17th, 2016 | By | Category: Blog

Lots of star party opportunities in the mid-Atlantic region.  Below are the ones for which we have information.  If you would like another event to be listed, please send a note to


Staunton River Star Party – Spring Installment, March 14-18 (2018), Staunton River State Park: More information at  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.

Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), April 8-9, Suffern, NY, Rockland Community College:  Premier astronomy and space expo.  Information at

Delmarva Stargaze XXII, April 27-30, Trap Pond State Park, near Laurel, Delaware:  Hosted by the Delmarva Stargazers.  Information at

Star Party Weekend, May 6-7, Stratford Hall, VA:  The Rappahannock Astronomy Club is partnering with Stratford Hall to host a Star Party Weekend with lectures and observing on the grounds.  As an added bonus to the event, participants can meet Dean Howarth, renowned actor, educator and historical interpreter, portraying the famed eighteenth-century astronomer David Rittenhouse of Philadelphia.  Rittenhouse was known for his observations of the Transit of Venus across the Sun in 1769 which helped measure the size of the solar system.  More information at

East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC, May 18-20:  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.  Fees are $20 for star party registration, $20 per night camping fee (additional fee for R/V sites).  Contact Kent Blackwell for information at

The 2nd York County Star Party (YCSP), May 24-28+ (or longer depending on weather).  THANKS to all that helped make last year’s party a great success!  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  for complete current info and updates.

Cherry Springs Star Party, June 22-25, Cherry Springs State Park, near Coudersport, PA:  Hosted by the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg, PA.  More information at:

Green Bank Star Quest, July 19-22, 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 and on their Facebook page.

Maine Astronomy Retreat, July 23-29, 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

AstroCon, August 16-19, Casper, Wyoming:  To help celebrate the total eclipse of the sun on Monday, August 21st, 2017, the Astronomical League will hold its annual national convention in the days leading up to the event.  Casper Wyoming will host the conference as the eclipse path goes right through the city.  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 and at for additional information.

Almost Heaven Star Party, July 21-23, Spruce Knob, WV:  Hosted by the Mountain Institute at a high altitude dark site.  Information at

Staunton River Star Party – Fall Installment, October 16-22, 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

NASA Langley Open House, Hampton, Virginia, October 21:  Outstanding opportunity to tour NASA Langley Research Center.  More information at

Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies, October 21:    Information to be posted as it becomes available here.  This year’s gathering will be hosted by the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers.

East Coast Star Party, Coinjock, NC – Fall Installment, October 12-14:  Kent Blackwell is kindly hosting his East Coast Star Party again this Fall at the Hampton Lodge Campground which offers 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.  Fees are $20 for star party registration, $20 per night camping fee (additional fee for R/V sites).  Contact Kent for more information at

Bays Mountain Starfest, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, Kingsport, TN, October 27-29:  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:

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.  Dates for these events are:  May 19, June 23, July 21, August 18, October 21 (Staunton River Star Party) and September 22.  Contact the park directly regarding weather cancellations at 434-572-4623 or

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

DATE        TIME         
Fri, May 26 8:30 PM
Fri, June 23 9:00 PM
Fri, July 21 8:30 PM
Sat, Aug 12 (Perseid Meteor Shower) 8:00 PM
Fri, Sept 22 7:00 PM
Fri, Oct 20 6:00 PM


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