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2012 Bay Area Science Festival Star Party

Friday evening, Oct. 26, 2012

Organized by Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College)

As part of the second annual Bay Area Science Festival, we are throwing a regional star party (telescope observing night) at over a dozen different sites. Colleges, schools, observatories and science centers around the Bay Area will be open, and both professional and amateur astronomers will be on hand to offer telescope viewing and observing tips. If the sky is cloudy, many sites will still offer indoor astronomy activities. Some institutions will also have astronomy talks, open houses, and family events that evening, regardless of the weather. Join us for a stellar evening.


Google Map showing all the sites

Berkeley (2 sites)
Hayward (2 sites)
Los Altos
Rohnert Park
San Francisco
San Jose (4 sites)
Santa Cruz
Walnut Creek


1) YMCA-PG&E Teen Center (teens only!)
2111 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA 94703

Program jointly sponsored by the YMCA of the Central Bay Area, Bay Area Teen Science (B.A.T.S.), and University of California, Berkeley’s Astronomy Department and Space Sciences Laboratory

Free Star Party for all Bay Area High School Students only from 7 to 10 pm. Includes:

  • Telescope viewing with UC Berkeley Astronomy grad students
  • Talks, informal discussions, and other fun activities with UC Berkeley scientists around the latest cutting-edge astronomy research
  • Astronomy-themed art activities and computer games
  • Snacks and beverages

**All participants must have a valid high school ID to enter the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center**

More detailed event information to be posted at

The YMCA-PG&E Teen Center is located at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Center Street, just two blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. A location map can be found here:

2) The Lawrence Hall of Science
1 Centennial Drive #5200
Berkeley, CA 94720

We will be observing from the Lawrence Hall of Science’s outdoor Forces that Shape the Bay exhibit with our astronomy staff and our cool telescopes, 7–9 p.m. Find constellations; spot double stars; and view star clusters, the Moon, and more deep-sky treasures guided by astronomy experts. Then explore other worlds without even leaving home on our Science On a Sphere® exhibit. Join us for a tour of the fall evening skies! Note: In the event of poor weather, we will run a Q&A session in the Planetarium in lieu of outdoor observing. $5 admission; free for Hall members.


Deer Valley High School ACE Academy/Planetarium and the Contra Costa Water District Education program will sponsor a night of observing, 7 – 9:30 PM, at the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, 100 Walnut Blvd, Brentwood, CA. In case of inclement weather the program will be rescheduled. Admission is free and open to the public.

More info: or contact


1) Chabot College Astronomy Department
25555 Hesperian Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94545

For a campus map, please visit:

2) California State University East Bay
25800 Carlos Bee Boulevard
Hayward, CA 94542

Observing the Moon and Jupiter with a Telescope, 7-10 pm, Science Picnic Area, East of Science Buildings, CSU East Bay in Hayward, CA.

Dr. Gary Weston and Dr. Louis Villaneuva will lead an observing session.

The moon will be in a waxing gibbous phase and rises at about 4:30 pm, about two hours before sunset (about 6:15 pm). Jupiter will rise at about 8:30 pm and will be visible from campus within an hour or less after rising. We will observe the craters and Maria on the very bright moon, which is about 2.5 days shy of being a full moon. Later that evening, we will also observe Jupiter and a few of its moons. If cloudy skies occur, then the whole event will be cancelled.

For a campus map, see:

For more information, contact:
Dr. Gary, (510) 885-3448

Los Altos

Foothill College Observatory Star Party
12345 El Monte Rd.
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

Hosted by the Peninsula Astronomical Society. Observatory will be open free to the public, 7 to 11 pm, with additional telescopes near the entrance.

Please park in the west end of Parking Lot 3 and walk uphill to the observatory, which is located next to the Krause Center. Please note that parking costs $3.

For directions to the observatory and Parking Lot 3, see the map at:
For more on the astronomy program, see:


Chabot Space & Science Center
10000 Skyline Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94619

Star Party with the East Bay Astronomical Society, 6pm-10pm (Center open 10am-10pm); all activities included with general admission! Visit the observatory deck to gaze through our large telescopes, free-standing ‘scopes, and tour our domes. On the inside, enjoy music, drinks, a café conversation on Maya astronomy with author Jeanine Kitchel, a live planetarium show, and a human constellation scramble where you are the stars!

For more information:, (510) 336-7373

Rohnert Park

Sonoma State University Observatory
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, California 94928

Public Viewing Night, 8:00 – 10:00 pm, with a focus on “Our Nearest Neighbor, The Moon.”

Schedule, map and contact info:

The Observatory is located inside the stadium area at the SE corner of the campus (East Cotati Avenue and Petaluma Hill Road, 2 miles east of U.S. 101 at Cotati.)


Hartnell College Planetarium
411 Central Avenue
Salinas, CA 93901

Telescopes for will be set up for viewing on the top level of the nearby parking structure after the two regularly scheduled planetarium shows. See:

For directions the Hartnell Main Campus:

For a campus map, see:

San Francisco

San Francisco State University
Thornton Hall, 1600 Holloway Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94132

  • Planetarium Shows at 8 pm and 9 pm (The planetarium is on the 4th floor of Thornton Hall — Room TH422; Go in the main door of the building, take the elevator to the 4th floor, and look for the planetarium entrance there. Once a show has started, you can’t get in.)
  • Telescope viewing in the observatory from 8 pm until 10 pm (The observatory is on the 10th floor of Thornton Hall — Room TH1002; Go in the main door of the building, take the elevator to the 9th floor and follow the signs up to the observatory. You may drop in any time between 8 pm and 10 pm.)
  • In case of cloudy weather, telescope viewing will not happen, but demonstrations and Q&A session will occur in Room TH411, just down the hall from the planetarium. Planetarium shows will happen clear or cloudy.

For a campus map see:

For other directions to the observatory and planetarium see:

San Jose

1) San Jose State University
Department of Physics and Astronomy
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192

Members of the Physics & Astronomy Club will host a star party and a number of activities for children and adults. Tours of the night sky, telescope viewing (Moon, Jupiter, star clusters, etc.) and hands-on demonstrations and activities will be available. Telescopes will be set up on the Tower Lawn, between Tower Hall and the MLK library. No cost/rain or shine. 7PM start time. For more information, visit

For a campus map, see:
For campus parking information, see:

2) San Jose Astronomical Association
in Houge Park on Twilight Drive
San Jose, CA.
140 feet north of the intersection of Twilight and Rupert Drives, turn into the driveway immediately north of the tennis court fence.

7 to 10 pm, telescopes will be set up to show the nearly-full moon, faint planet Uranus, colorful double star Albireo, the Coathanger star cluster, and other objects as conditions permit.

WEBSITE with Google routing:
For weather prospects, see after 1:00 pm. If conditions change, this page will be updated.
PHONE: After 1 pm, a short weather message will be available at 408-559-1221.

3) Evergreen Valley College
3095 Yerba Buena Rd.
San Jose, CA 95135

The Montgomery Hill Observatory will be hosting the following activities:

  • Lunar Geology for Children ages 9 – 12, from 4 to 6 pm. Space is limited and on a first-come first-served bases. For reservations, please contact the astronomer at:
  • Observations of Moon, Jupiter, Uranus, the Pleiades and other interesting celestial sights. Astronomers will be using the roll-off roof building equipped with a 14” Celestron telescope, and the dome building with a 7″ refractor. Portable telescopes will be available for public use. The star gazing will be held inside the dome and/or roll-off roof buildings after 7:00 PM. Attendance is free but limited to 50 visitors.

For a campus map, see:

4) Independence High School
1776 Educational Parkway
San Jose, CA 95133

Independence/Pegasus High School Star Party, 7 to 11 pm in the Planetarium Building.

For a school map, see:

Santa Cruz

University of California Santa Cruz
Dept of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Astronomy Club @ UCSC

A star party for children and adults, with numerous telescopes. Tours of the night sky will include the Moon, Jupiter, and various nebula, globular clusters, and open clusters. Telescopes will be set up next to the Music Center on UCSC’s campus. Pay parking is available in the Music Center parking lot. The event is free to the public and starts at 7:30pm.

The event is contingent on clear skies. Please check the website for more information about the event and check on the day to see if inclement weather has resulted in cancelation.
Campus maps can be found here:

Walnut Creek

Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society Stargazing at:
Heather Farms Park, Dog Park Entrance,
505 North San Carlos Drive,
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

Free admission. If the weather cooperates there will be astronomy activities for all ages from 6 to 6:30 pm, after sundown we’ll observe the Moon, star clusters, nebulae and more.

Park in rear lots and walk toward the Dog Park area.

For more information, contact us at