As the Autumnal Equinox passes us by the nights start growing longer and cooler in this part of the world. It’s the perfect time for a star party. I thought I would offer up some star parties that you’ll want to add to your calendar. Star parties are great opportunities to get out under the night sky, visit with like minded folks and peek through an assortment of telescopes. This can be very rewarding especially if you are thinking about buying a telescope.
The events listed below are within an hour or so drive, or closer, from the DFW area that I have been to in the past and have found to be very enjoyable. Some have presentations at the beginning of the evening explaining basic astronomy concepts and discussing what can be seen in the sky and telescope that evening. Don’t miss this presentation as it will provide important info and guidelines for the evening as well as help set the tone and your expectations. Also, sometimes there are astronomy related giveaways or door prizes that you can get in on too.
If you plan on attending here are a few things you’ll want to consider. Should you stay the night and camp out if that is an option? Be sure to keep a close watch on the weather as the event approaches. The weather can change quickly and impact your plans. Should you arrive early on the day of the event and take in hiking or fishing and maybe a cookout? At the very least I’d suggest getting there a bit early to settle in, find a good spot and look around. I find that arriving as the event is getting underway or a little late just does not allow for a relaxing and enjoyable evening. This is especially true if you are taking your own gear and need to set up or find a spot to camp, etc. Oh, and don’t forget the essentials like bug spray, a chair, drinks, a snack and warm clothes or a jacket. You might be surprised at how quickly the temperature can drop after sunset.
Astronomy Day, Saturday, September 30, 2017 – Check your local listings! Astronomy groups and clubs as well as state parks, science and history museums, and planetariums, etc. are sure to have activities and events planned on Astronomy Day.
Praire Sky Star Party @ Tandy Hills Natural Area, Fort Worth, TX on October 14, 2017. The Fort Worth Astronomical Society holds a monthly star party on the 2nd Saturday of the month weather permitting at the Tandy Hills Natural Area 3400 View Street, Fort Worth, TX 76103. FWAS Members will be on hand with several telescopes set up from 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM at Tandy Hills for viewing the night sky. This event is still free & open to the public. All ages welcome.
Palo Pinto Mountains State Park Star Party @ Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, Strawn, TX on October 14, 2017. Palo Pinto Mountains Star Party will be on Saturday, October 14th beginning at 4:00 pm. PPMSP is a new TPWD park property near the town of Strawn, Texas which serves as the gateway to the newly acquired state park property. Members of the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas and the Fort Worth Astronomical Society host this free event. There will be telescopes that you can use to view stars and constellations. Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, 1915 FM 2372, Strawn, Texas. Google Map.
20th Annual North Texas Skywatch Star Party @ Lake Mineral Wells State Park, Mineral Wells, TX. – This years NTSW star party will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2017 which is also International Observe the Moon Night. Come to the Lone Star Amphitheater where you can learn about astronomy and to have a chance to see the night sky through a wide variety of telescopes. There will be a beginner’s astronomy slide presentation at sunset. Held at the Lone Star Amphitheater in Lake Mineral Wells State Park, 100 Park Road 71, Mineral Wells, TX, 76067. The program is free with paid park entrance fee or a State Park Pass.
6th Annual Rio Brazos Star Party @ Acton Nature Center, Acton, TX. The Rio Brazos chapter of Texas Master Naturalists will be hosting a star party on Saturday, November 25, 2017 from 7:30 to 10:30 pm at Acton Nature Center, 6900 Smoky Hill Ct. Granbury, TX 76049. We will have a guest speaker at the twilight program under the pavilion adjacent to the parking lot starting at 7:30 pm followed by a short walk down the path to the farmhouse where we will have telescopes with guides. Please bring a blanket or chair to sit, water to drink and enjoy the evening. Restrooms are available on site.