Hawaiian Astronomical Society
Home of Amateur Astronomy in Hawaii

So You’re Thinking of Having A School Star Party...

Members of the Hawaiian Astronomical Society look forward to and enjoy sharing our Hawaiian skies with the children and adults of Hawaii and also with any visitors to our island. We offer our services free of charge to public and private schools, as well as to groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. As you think about setting up your evening under the stars, we would like to offer suggestions to make the experience more enjoyable:

  • Choose an evening during which the moon is near its first quarter. This allows for the most comfortable and enjoyable viewing of our wonderful skies. Scheduling a star party near or during a full moon is not recommended as the view through a telescope is literally blinding, and the brightness of the moon also hides many of the other interesting things to look at in the night sky.  Check with our star party coordinator to help pick a suitable date.
  • Schedule viewing times after sunset. Although the moon may be in the sky, if you begin too long before sunset there will be very little for guests to see. Our coordinator will be able to indicate sunset time for your chosen date.
  • The darker the viewing area the better Select a viewing spot where telescopes can be set up away from large floodlighting, or if possible turn such lighting off for that particular evening. Choose an area accessible to cars. Cover any flashlights with dark red balloons secured with a rubber band. This will allow viewer's eyes to adjust to the “night light.”  Once eyes are accustomed to the available ambient light, additional light is not really needed.
  • When Ready to Request Your Star Party: Fill out our star party request form. You will be contacted by our star party coordinator and final arrangements will be made including confirmation of the date for your star party.

    If you need to talk with our star party coordinator please see the request form for contact information.
Here is some basic star party etiquette. For more information, go to our etiquette page
  • Look with your eyes and not with your Hands Do not place hands on the telescopes. This will cause the telescope's viewing field to move and the object you are supposed to be viewing to no longer be visible.
  • Keep all food and drink away from telescopes. Sticky fingers, crumbs, and liquids are very bad for the equipment.
  • Absolutely No Running or tussling around the telescopes: Safety concerns, for our viewers and individual equipment, compel us to require that anyone unable to move safely around equipment will be asked to leave the viewing area.