WAA follows CDC guidelines and the current scientific literature.
We strongly recommend Covid-19 vaccination and boosters.
Star parties are outdoor events and thus fairly low risk if the local Covid-19 case rates are low. Do not attend a star party if you feel ill, have a cough, fever or body aches, or tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous 10 days. Mask-wearing is optional but still recommended if the observing field is crowded. If additional restrictions are imposed by Westchester County in response to an increase in case rates, we will implement them at our star party.
We schedule one star party each month, with a make-up date in case of bad weather. We pick nights where the moon will not be a factor so that we can view fainter objects.
We have created a downloadable and printable PDF for each star party which will tell you what planets and Messier objects will be available to view that night along with a chart to show sunset and moonset. The PDF is in the column labeled Printable Viewing Information in the table below.
2023 Star Party dates (saturdays)
|Date||Sunset||Lunar Illumination||Moonset||Star Party Type||Printable Viewing Information|
If time not listed for moonset, the moon will not be visible during the star party.
If the Regular star party takes place, the make-up event will not take place.
Call our club hot line (877) 456-5778 for weather updates/cancellations. WAA members receive email updates.
Link to Google Maps for directions: http://bit.ly/waastarparty
Stairway to Heaven is our monthly observing night at the Meadow Parking Area in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, NY. We typically start observing within a half hour after sunset. You can find the time for sunset at Ward Pound Ridge here. Here’s a Google map. A detailed map of the park is here
To see what’s in the sky, we recommend a Windows planetarium program like Cartes du Ciel (free), Stellarium (free), TheSky (commercial). SkySafari (commercial, for iOS, Android, MacOS only) is a great program and can be used to sight the sky on a hand-held device. The are many good observing guides in book form. A planisphere is a historic but quite useful tool for identifying stars and constellations.
Our star parties are free and open to the public through the generosity of the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. We encourage you to bring your telescope, especially if you need help using or setting it up.
Don’t have a telescope? You can look through our members’ equipment. We love to show the sky to new observers.
Call 877-456-5778 for weather cancellations. A good rule of thumb: Don’t show up if you can’t count more than 10 bright stars. The Clear Sky Clock for Ward Pound Ridge is a good predictor of the night sky conditions. You can also check the more detailed NOAA weather forecast for Ward Pound Ridge.
To ensure everyone enjoys the night sky safely and securely, please read our Star Party Dos and Don’ts.
The WAA cannot guarantee the turnout of members and telescopes during the winter months.
LATEST STAR PARTY UPDATES
- Star Party, October 10th (9/17/2020)
The September public observing event went very smoothly, so we plan to hold our next scheduled event on October 10th (rain/cloud date October 17th).
- Star Party, Saturday, September 12, 2020 (9/11/2020)
As of 7 p.m. on 9/11, the weather looks good. The event will be held in accordance with NY State pandemic guidelines. Screening and contact information will be collected at the entrance to the Meadow Parking Lot. Masks and social distancing are required.
- Star Party Saturday November 30th (11/30/2019)
As of Saturday morning 11/30, decent observing conditions are expected. It will be quite cold, so dress accordingly – think sledding. Sunset is at 4:30 pm so observing will start around 5:00-5:15 pm.
- Star Party Saturday October 19th (10/18/2019)
As of Friday morning 10/18, excellent observing conditions are expected. It will be cool, so dress accordingly. Sunset is at 6:07 pm so observing will start around 6:30-6:45 pm.
- October 13th Star Party (9/17/2018)
The next star party is scheduled for Saturday, October 13th. Go to the Star Party page for general information and directions.
- September 15 Star Party (9/15/2018)
The star party on Saturday, September 15th at dusk will take place at the usual spot: the Meadow Parking Lot at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, NY. map
The summer sky is full of wonderful celestial objects: the Milky Way, open and globular clusters, double stars and nebulas. Sunset is at 7:03 pm; the sky will be dark enough for observing by 7:45.
The event is free and open to the public. Bring your own telescope or view through members’ instruments. For more information about star parties, go to the Star Parties page.