Hosting Group Events At Darling Hill Observatory – What To Expect

Preparing Your Group

The SAS is happy to host groups for special observing and lecture sessions and has a long history of entertaining and educating Girl Scout, Boy Scout, and Cub Scout Troops, as well as middle school and high school classes (often as part of class credit).

To schedule an event, please contact Raymond Dague at [email protected].

We ask a few things of groups being hosted:

1. Our Public Observing and Member Observing Sessions take priority in all cases (see the calendar for these dates). All other nights not listed on our official schedule are available (and we will let you know which dates have already been scheduled by other groups when we schedule your group).

2. Call ahead if you are bringing a group so that we can prepare for your educational needs (we adjust discussion and observing objects to the group). The more advanced notice, the better.

3. It is a rare occasion that a scheduled night is clear. We ask that you plan on at least TWO possible days for the observing session, selecting a preferred evening and at least one weather-alternate.

4. The observatory is full of equipment and, specifically, glass in the form of mirrors and eyepieces. We have found ourselves having to preserve order among groups of young children running around in the dark with scopes, electrical cords, and heaters placed for the entire group. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ORGANIZERS TO MAINTAIN ORDER AMONG THE GROUPS THEY BRING. We ask that organizers make it clear to groups that unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated.

Preparing For Your Session

1) Plan on arriving just after sunset. It will still be light enough to find your way, but you won’t have to wait long for the real celestial show to begin at the end of astronomical twilight (this time is also excellent for finding Constellations, which are usually of the brightest stars).

2) Dress for cold nights, even in July. It can get cold at Darling Hill, even in mid-summer. Suggested attire: duck boots or other dew proof shoes, long pants, winter coat and warm hat. And bring a lawn chair if you just want to stare at the sky from a comfortable orientation.

3) Red flashlights preserve night vision. In a pinch, cover a regular flashlight with a red balloon.

4) Cell phones become blinding to night-adjusted eyes. If you have to answer it, please step away from observing groups.