Every year, ASLC conducts dozens of free star parties for local school and various groups in the Las Cruces area. We bring our telescopes, enthusiasm and knowledge, and share it with your students, scouts, church group, etcetera. The viewing sessions may be combined with educational presentations to help students attain proficiency in the respective educational benchmarks for their grade level.
In order to request a star party, please contact the club's Outreach Coordinator (Chuck Sterling) at Outreach@aslc-nm.org.
- Star parties for schools work best during standard time (November through March)
- Avoid times during the month when there is a bright moon in the sky as this makes viewing of dimmer deep space objects difficult. In our experience, people really enjoy looking at the craters on the moon, and as long as the moon smaller than first quarter, the moonlight doesn't interfere too much with viewing dimmer deep space objects. However, parties can also be conducted when there is no moon (this actually works better for viewing nebulae and galaxies). Click here for recommended dates for the 2015-2016 school year.
- The observing sessions seem to work the best when there are several bright planets to observe. Please consult with us to determine optimal observing dates.
- We are happy to do informal talks, demonstrations or powerpoint presentations to address the needs of your group. Just let us know the objectives you wish for us to address.
- Our volunteers want to support as many star parties as possible, but we all have our limits. It is important that you work with the Events Director to find a date which we are able to support. We hate to disappoint.
- Viewing works best if outdoor lighting is eliminated. Please work with your facility and neighbors to have exterior lighting turned off for the event. Please also make sure that outdoor irrigation systems will not come on during the event (yes, this has happened!)
- Please provide an estimate of the number of attendees you expect. One telescope for 100 people makes for long lines; Ten telescopes for 25 people is a bit of overkill.
- We are happy to do parties for most any age group, but experience has taught us that kids at least 7 or 8 years old seem to benefit the most from the experience.
Also, please consider having one of our astronomers visit your classroom(s) on the day of your star party to provide instruction regarding what your kids will be looking at, how telescopes work, etcetera. The presentation(s) coupled with the star party experience really helps to facilitate the educational process. See the Visit Request Page for additional information.