April 16, 2016

GAM’s ultimate observing event is the Global Star Party. If you have a scope, it’s B.Y.O.T. - Bring Your Own Telescope (or binoculars), or contact your local astronomy club. Don't have a scope, don't worry, just look up. All are invited, all will be excited!

The Global Star Party is the time to come out under the stars, bridge gaps across the seas, and join your brother and sister skywatchers in proving that the world is “One People, One Sky.” When we turn our gaze upward all religious, national, cultural and political barriers fade into the darkness.

Don't forget to register your event!

Helpful Hints for astronomy clubs, groups, and individuals who are joining the Global Star Party:

Start Early and Follow Up

Plan your local pariticipation in the Global Star Party as soon as possible and before April! Get events scheduled and supported by your community’s science centers, planetariums, and science museums. Some astronomy clubs hold events in multiple locations within a city. Spearhead new ways of outreach to convalescent hospitals, rest homes, military bases, busy sections of town, and libraries. Be ready to accommodate handicapped visitors to your scopes, including those in wheel chairs. Be on top of your game with lectures, presentations, exhibits, telescope demonstrations, handouts, and star charts—and be ready to dazzle them with fun facts about the objects you have captured in your eyepiece.

Although we recommend planning the party, we know that many of you love setting up scopes at the last minute for Sidewalk Astronomy. Go for it!

Begin with the Sun

You can build momentum by scheduling events during the day. Spark interest in our number one star, the Sun. Then, party into the evening and enjoy the night sky. Contact your local observatory—they may be happy to work with you to have a big, all-day astronomy event on their grounds.

Publicize Your Events

The public won’t know about your Global Star Party unless you get the word out. Local weekly newspapers are very receptive to running news items about events like this, and if you can give them a well-written story that has a catchy news angle in it, you may get a feature article. Also, if your city or town has a public radio station, they will likely be happy to announce your event—perhaps including an interview with you. You could also advertise online through social media, or post a notice on a public notice board. Also check with any (other) local amateur astronomy clubs as they would most likely love to be involved (or may be organising an event themselves).

Use Your Creativity

Other than the set date—Saturday, April 16th, local time—there is no formal agenda. Amateur astronomers have proven to be incredibly creative when organizing events, so we encourage you to show us what you can do! We do, however, encourage everyone to expand the time beyond the regular evening events—starting early with solar activities and continuing until late evening.
Everyone should choose the activities that fit their community and personal preference. We are encouraging everyone to think in new directions and try new methods of outreach, but want everyone to be comfortable in their choice of events.
Be sure to register your event with AWB online and to come back afterwards and fill out your event reports and post your photos. We all want to see what our friends around the world are doing!

Take Lots of Photos

And share them with us! We love to see what everyone is doing for their star party! Share your photos on Facebook and Tweet using #GAM2016 hashtag (@gam_awb)

More Ideas

  • Visit a military base, retirement hotel, or children’s hospital and give those able a chance to see the Universe up close.
  • Have a club member dress up as a famous astronomer from history.
  • Find ways to attract attention - your own version of 100HA’s Camel Cart!
  • Use our resources page to get the materials to accommodate the seeing impaired.
  • Host “How Telescopes Work” demonstrations and put your ATM guys to work with mirror grinding demos and use some of that extra glass to let the public try.
  • A lot of people own telescopes that they never use because the don't know how to, so encourage people to bring along their own telescope by running a "How to Use Your Telescope workshop.
  • Hold events outside of art galleries or musical events.
  • Surround a shopping mall or city park with telescopes at every corner or entrance.
  • Hold astropoetry events, such as a public poetry reading at a library.
  • Get a local scout or school group to assist at your star party—have the youngsters ask questions, provide information, and even help run the scope.
  • Have an “artists table” set up so that younger observers can make and take their own souvenirs of the event.
  • Work with a local library to have book displays set up near the telescope so that people can learn more.
  • Work with another club in a different country and set up an internet connection so that those attending your event can connect with others doing the same thing at the same time in a different part of the world.
  • Live-stream your event on Ustream.

Involving People with Disabilities in your Star Party

  • FAQ - Star parties for individuals who are legally Visually Impaired - Frank Busutil.

  • Amazing Space - downloadable images from the Hubble Telescope for printing on microcapsule paper.

  • Handicapped Access to the Sky by FAR Laboratories - Wheelchair adaptations for telescope and binoculars.

Wishing you clear skies!

Share your experience with the world on Facebook Tweet using #GAM2015 hashtag (@gam_awb).

Check out our Observing Resources and People with Disabilities Astronomy Resources