Go ahead. Ask the question, because you wouldn’t be the first to do so. ‘What is a star party’? Well, it can be a lot of things.
Have you ever wanted to look through a telescope to see just how far you can peer back into our universe (we’re not NASA, but we can see some pretty amazing things)? Maybe you’d like to see a grouping of ancient stars, bound together by gravity and orbiting our galactic plane? Or a close up of the moon? Perhaps you’d like to view a planet in our own solar system, or lie back and watch a meteor shower. Are you a budding astrophotographer that just needs a dark place to work your magic? Maybe you’d like to discuss – or learn about – the constellations and the stories of how they came to be. Or, like most of us, perhaps you’d simply like to come and stand in awe of the Universe that surrounds you and learn about what it is you’re seeing ‘out there’. In the process, we suspect you’ll meet some new friends and learn a little bit more about yourself, too.
WHEN AND WHERE
Our star parties are open to the public, and you don’t need to bring a telescope. We’ll let you look through ours. We meet at Tamke-Allan Observatory in Rockwood, TN on the first and third Saturday of the month. This facility has an indoor classroom (restroom facilities available) and we generally provide a short, educational program before we head out to view the skies. You do not need to make a reservation but please contact us in advance if you are bringing groups of eight or more (please use the form at the bottom of this page). You can find out how to get to us by clicking here.
Gates open at 7:30 p.m. to begin setting up. If you’re a visitor, you may arrive anytime after this but it is best to arrive at least 45 minutes before sunset so you can find your way around safely (the road leading to the observatory is winding and narrow). Not sure what time sunset is? Check out the calendar here (use the city of Knoxville). Our educational program begins with a lecture in our classroom about 8:00 p.m. We’ll head outside for observing once the skies reach darkness. Generally, we are there until we’re tired and ready to go home!
If you have questions about our public star parties, please feel free to contact us using the form below.