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Parties with the stars.

CONTEMPLATE dabbling in astronomy, and sooner or later questions surface about how much you'd really like it once you got into it. Well, there's a way that you can try before you buy.

Go to a star party and you'll find yourself alone in the dark with a bunch of people you don't know, looking at things you don't understand: hundred-billion-star galaxies, double stars, nebulas, planets, Jupiter's eye, passing comets. But--bottom line--the parties are great fun and informative, even if you never become deeply involved in the hobby itself.


May 1 is Astronomy Day, so many science centers and planetariums hold special sun- or star-watching events on-site then. Astronomy clubs' parties are more often out in the wilds, where skies are less polluted by city light.

For reference, pick up A Field Guide to Stars and Planets, by Jay M. Pasachoff (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1992; $15.95 paperback), or Discover Arizona's Night Sky, by Raymond Shubinski (Arizona Highways Magazine, Phoenix, 1991; $8.50).

Two periodicals, Astronomy and Sky & Telescope, also list clubs and parties from time to time.

Unless otherwise noted, parties begin at dusk.
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Title Annotation:star gazing
Author:McCausland, Jim
Date:May 1, 1993
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