There’s no better time than summer to scan the night sky. Many attractions are visible to the naked eye, including Venus and Mars. Pointed in the right direction, an ordinary pair of binoculars can bring Jupiter and Saturn as well as their moons into focus. When you’re armed with a decent telescope, the sky is truly the limit.
Summer is also an ideal time for star parties, when amateur astronomers gather to stargaze. Here are some highlights from across the country:
Stargazing on the High Line—Manhattan, New York
Although purists prefer stargazing from remote places free of urban light pollution, New Yorkers are lining up to buck that trend. Every Tuesday at dusk from April through October (weather permitting) the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York hosts Stargazing on the High Line. Experts with high-powered telescopes are always on hand to help you see past the bright city lights.
Stars in the Park—San Diego, California
On the first Wednesday of every month, at dusk, members of the San Diego Astronomy Association set up telescopes in Balboa Park at the Fleet Science Center for free public sky viewing. Come early to enjoy The Sky Tonight planetarium show at 7pm or 8:15pm.
Public Open Night at the Observatory—Boston Massachusetts
Held most Wednesday evenings throughout the year (weather permitting) at the Coit Observatory at Boston University, Public Open Night allows visitors to come observe the night sky through telescopes and binoculars. This event is open to the public, however space is limited, so reserve your tickets ahead of time to ensure your spot.
Wyoming Stargazing—Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Join Wyoming Stargazing on clear Friday nights (weather permitting) at the lawn next to the Center for the Arts for free public stargazing. View planets, stars, planetary nebulae, galaxies, and more through large aperture telescopes.
Public Astronomy Observations at SIU Carbondale—Carbondale, Illinois
Join the SIU Carbondale Physics Department the 3rd Sunday of each month, starting 30 minutes after sunset, to observe bright sky objects such as the moon, major planets, star clusters, nebula and some deep sky objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy. Telescopes are provided, but all observations are weather-dependent and space-limited.
For a complete list of star parties throughout North America this year, check out AmSky’s Astronomy Events Calendar.