(Please read the section below on Star Party Etiquette/Preparation to help you get the most out of the night)
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is celebrating Canada's 150th Birthday with a nation wide star party. The Vancouver Centre is holding our event at Maple Ridge's Selvey Park due to its proximity and its relatively dark sky. There is a parking lot just prior to reaching the ball diamond. The City of Maple Ridge also has a porta-pottie at the field.
Considering that Selvey Park is a suburban park, the light pollution is minimal due to it being surrounded by farm land and people who value the rural life. This allows viewing of magnitude 5 stars on a moonless night. A magnitude 5 sky means that you can see stars as dim as magnitude 5 brightness with the naked eye. Such an example is the "Little Dipper". The dimmest stars in this asterism is a magnitude 5 star so if you can see them all, that is what the sky rating is. If the seeing conditions are good we should get to see a hint of the Milky Way.
The Moon will be 46% illuminated in the evening sky. It will be setting just after midnight so we should have some good deep sky viewing afterwards.
Our members will have lots of telescopes and binoculars for you to look through, and do not hesitate to bring your own. This is a family friendly event and is free to everyone. Even in July it can get quite chilly at night so please bring clothing layers. Please apply any bug repellent while you are in the parking lot.
This is a weather dependant event and will be cancelled if overcast or raining.
Star Party Etiquette/Preparation
• If you arrive later on, please don't drive to the baseball diamond with your full headlights on (especially high beams!). Also when you are leaving please be considerate of those that are still viewing.
• If you have a headlamp that has a red LED setting, please use that. If you have a regular headlamp or flashlight, please be sure not to shine it in people's eyes. Place a piece of red cellophane or tissue over the lamp to dim it down but bright enough to see safely.
• Remember not to touch the eyepieces in the telescopes you are looking through.
• Objects can sometimes move out of the field of view quickly so if you don't see anything or if it is too far on the edge, let the telescope operator know so they can slightly adjust its position back to the centre.
• Bring along a lawn chair or a foam pad to sit/lie on. Some water, a warm beverage and some snacks are a good idea too.
• If you have binoculars bring those along since a typical pair can open up more than 100,000 stars compared to 4500 or so with the naked eye.
• If you have star charts bring those along so while you are waiting to view objects in telescopes, you can identify and learn the constellations.
• Think about some objects that you might want to see.
• Be sure to visit as many telescopes as you can (not just the biggest ones) so that you can get an idea of the types of scopes and which one might be best for you if you're planning on buying one.
• Be sure to ask questions and enjoy the night sky.