Hello Star Party participants!
When I took on the Star Party Coordinator (SPC) role midway through last year, all the dates were already set, so all I had to do was make the go/no go call before the event. This year, when I sat down to set the schedule for the year, I found some of the variables trickier than I expected.
For month to month scheduling, we generally try to:
- Hold one viewing per month;
- Schedule backup dates in case of weather;
- Start in May and end in October;
- Avoid the first Friday of the month when the RASC meeting happens at the Museum;
- Avoid nights when the moon will be prominent;
- Avoid new moon nights when people might want to head to FLO or Frontenac;
- Avoid major long weekends when people might have other plans; and,
- Avoid Starfest-type events that might conflict.
After careful calculations, I came to the conclusion that meeting all those criteria would mean having probably only one Star Party sometime in 2028. So I can tell you in advance that all of the proposals below pretty much have some element that isn’t perfect, and we’ll have to make some choices.
** Update: Dave Chisholm sent me a great file with info on various visibilities for Diefenbunker viewing, which puts my little notations after each date to shame! Moon, planets, other astro events, it’s awesome. Here it is in PDF if you want to see other considerations as you vote:
RASC itself has also suggested that we could be a bit flexible on the Chapter’s monthly meeting date, if it turned out it conflicted with a good night for viewing. As such, I’ve added that as a question at the end, as we need your views if we think about moving one of the planned dates.
In addition, some members commented that they would be willing to start even in April (particularly as International Astronomy Day is April 21st!) and continue until November to take advantage of earlier evenings, even if we didn’t attract large crowds. With that in mind, on with the survey of your views on the timing for each month!