Our Star Parties are open to anyone interested in the night sky. Our viewing location is reasonably close and provides a fairly dark sky for astronomical viewing. Below is more information regarding location and requirements.
The next scheduled Star-Party is:
August 15th (Sunset at 7:15pm)
Please join us with or without a telescope for a few hours under a dark sky. Contact WVAC to be added to the notification list below. On the day of the event a Go/No-Go decision and announcement will be made (normally by 4:00 PM) based on the weather conditions.
Additionally – a notification will also be shown here:
Current Star-Party Status (“TBA”)
To be Determined by 4pm – Check Here on August 15th
Future Star-Party Dates & Backup Dates:August 15th & 22nd September 12th & 19th October 10th & 17th November 7th & 14th December 12th & 19th
Directions to the WVAC Dark Sky Site For those who have GPS devices, the coordinates are: 33o 52.696′ (52′ 46″) N and 112o 35.925′ (35′ 56″) W.
You do not have to drive on any unpaved roads to get to the site.From Bell Road and Grand Avenue, drive Northwest on US-60 (Grand Avenue) for about 20 miles, then turn right onto Castle Hot Springs Road. Note that the Castle Hot Springs road turnoff is a half mile beyond the Morristown railroad overpass. Continue along Castle Hot Springs Road for about two miles crossing over SR 74. The site is about 1.3 miles after crossing SR 74. It is a large pullout area on the right side of the road. If you overshoot the turn onto Castle Hot Springs Road, you can continue along Grand Avenue (US-60) for about a mile and turn right onto SR 74. After about one mile on SR 74 you will again come to an intersection with Castle Hot Springs Road. This time turn left, continue for about 1.3 miles. The site will be on the right side of the road.
Star Party Notes:You do not need to be a member or have a telescope to attend the West Valley Astronomy Club star parties. There is no charge to attend. Our dark sky site is relatively close to the Northwest Valley and easy to get to on paved roads. It has proved to be an excellent site for our purposes. We recommend you obtain a Land Use Permit because our dark sky site is located on Arizona State Trust Land. (see details on how to obtain the permit is below.) Depending on the weather and the time of year it may be advisable to bring some warm clothing and something hot to drink. Try to arrive before sunset.
Consider bringing the following items:
- Binoculars, if you have them.
- Your telescope, if you have a portable one. We will show you how to use it.
- Something to sit on, like a folding chair
- A Planisphere, if you have one. See information below.
- A hand-held electronic device with an astronomy application if you have one.
- Warm clothing for use at night, depending on weather and time of year
- An Arizona State Recreation Permit. See information below.
- A dim red flashlight for reading charts in the dark.
- Something to eat and drink. A thermos with a hot liquid is a good idea.