REQUESTING A STAR GAZING EVENT FOR A GROUP
Washington-Crossing Park, Titusville, NJ
If you would like to schedule an observing event for a group, here are the things to consider.
1. Groups at AAAP Observatory. A good way to have a star gazing event for your group is to come to our Observatory. The AAAP Observatory in Washington Crossing State Park, NJ is open to the public every clear/mostly clear Friday evening from April through October. The large telescopes and astro cameras there can show more than portable equipment brought to other locations.
a. Friday nights at the Observatory (Apr-Oct). For groups over 15 please contact the Outreach Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org) to coordinate additional support. Smaller groups do not need prior arrangements.
b. Nights other than Fridays. To request an event for a group of any size at the Observatory please contact the Outreach Chair (email@example.com), depending on availability of our volunteer staff.
2. Observing event at your site. We have experience with portable telescopes brought to various locations in our area for outreach astronomy. If you want us to come to you, we suggest choosing a location with unobstructed horizons, minimal outdoor lighting, and good accessibility by car for unloading equipment. Requests of this type must be arranged with the Outreach Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org) and are dependent on availability of our volunteers.
3. Weather. Visual astronomy is dependent on weather and cloud conditions, so if possible be prepared with a backup plan. Go/no go weather decisions often cannot be made very far in advance, though we monitor and decide as soon as reasonable. Check the clear sky chart on our website, our Twitter posting, and if uncertain call the observatory phone 609-737-2575.
4. Moon. The lunar phase has a big influence on observing – the brighter the moon, the less deep sky (galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, etc) we can see in telescopes. The planets are relatively unaffected by the moon, however. Check a lunar calendar (see our website) and if possible schedule dates away from full moon, preferably before first quarter or after last quarter. The Moon itself is most interesting when the terminator – the shade line between lunar day and night – is readily visible. Realize that a full Moon rises right at sunset.
5. Arrival/kick-off time. Best to arrive at our observatory, or schedule your event, to start after sunset, during or after twilight. When children are involved, it is better not to begin too early, as patience and attention may be challenged waiting for darkness. Sunset times are readily available from internet and weather sites.
6. Dates and our calendar. Please first check for conflicts between your intended date and our prior commitments by consulting the official calendar on the AAAP website. “OUTREACH” entries indicate a group has been scheduled, whether at the Observatory or another location. Our ability to support events at other sites on Friday nights is limited since the Observatory is being staffed.
For additional information, email email@example.com