HAL Website Search:

Alpha Ridge Star Parties Canceled.
Meetings Virtual Until Further Notice

HAL Star Parties & Outreach Schedules
Regional Star Parties and Past Year Archives

Scheduled Star Parties and Outreach 2012 Events 2016 Events
Impromptu Observing Sessions 2013 Events 2017 Events
Regional Star Parties and Astro Events 2014 Events 2018 Events
Current Year Star Party Reports 2015 Events 2019 Events

HAL Star Parties and Outreach

HAL's public star parties at Alpha Ridge Park (normally held from March through October or early November except this year where everything is currently on hold due to the coronavirus) feature a relaxed, casual atmosphere where club members, other amateur astronomers from the area, and the public are all welcome to come and enjoy the wonders of the night sky. For detailed information about our star party viewing site and driving directions, click on this Alpha Ridge-View Sites link. While most HAL Outreach events also happen during the warmer months, there are occasional winter events depending on what astronomical events may occur during that time. These include solar observations, comets, meteor showers, etc. The tables below indicate which events are open to the Public at no charge and which are for Members Only. HAL also holds impromptu for members and their immediate guests that can happen almost any night of the year. Impromptus are never covered here on the HAL website. See below for more information.

Past 2020 Event Reports here

HAL Star Party Schedule

HAL's 2020 Star Parties are on hold until further notice

Outreach & Solar Observation Events

As a part of our mission to encourage public interest in astronomy, the space sciences, and STEM education,  HAL is sponsoring or co-sponsoring the following event. If there is a separate webpage with more information there will be an active link in the Event column, below.

Click on bold, gold underlined future events for more information and on past events for full reports and/or event photographs.

Event Co-Sponsor Where When Host
International Observe the Moon Night HCR&P/RNC Zoom and/or WebEx Sept 26 Joel Goodman

A Great Place To Begin an Adventure in Astronomy

HAL members bring all sorts of observing equipment: telescopes of all shapes and sizes, binoculars, solar viewers, and astro-photography and video setups. If you would like a look through our equipment, or if you just bought a telescope and would like some help with it, or even if you are just thinking about getting one and want to check a few out before buying - star parties are the perfect place to get your feet wet.

What Will We Be Looking At?

Observing targets really cover the full range of celestial treasures including the Sun, the Moon, the planets, double stars, deep sky objects such as galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters, and even orbiting satellites and the space station.

Details... details...

Starting time is usually sundown and ending time is officially at 11pm, although on nice evenings members often keep the park open a little later. There is plenty of parking at both parks (directions) and folks can arrive at anytime. Star parties are held twice each month, March to November, on Saturdays, and are scheduled around the lunar calendar - so check the HAL Calendar for upcoming dates.

Before You Head Out

If you are not sure if the weather is cooperating, check the top of the home page for the latest news.  If you are on the Howardastro Yahoogroups list also check for notification e-mails there. Be sure to bring an extra layer or two of clothes just in case temperatures drop more than you expect. You can't have fun if you're cold! For public star parties the show goes on - rain or shine. If the weather is cloudy or worse, the observatory will still be open and presentations will be provided on our large flat panel screen.

What is Expected Of You At A Public Star Party?

Absolutely nothing. Whether you own a telescope or not, we encourage folks of all ages to come on out, bring your friends and family, and let us share with you the beauties of one of our most precious natural resources - the night sky - in Howard County's very own public parks. HAL's amateur astronomers come from all walks of life and have a wide range of astronomy experience. We all share a passion for the sky's most stunning sights and love nothing more than to share those sights with others.

Impromptu Sessions at Alpha Ridge or Carrs Mill
(For HAL Members only. Carrs Mill only until further notice!)

HAL members are fortunate to have access to both Alpha Ridge and Carrs Mill parks.  When select members with gate keys plan to open up one of the parks, they post an e-mail on the Members Only "HAL_Impromptu" e-mail group so that others may join.  Gate keyholders are encouraged to post the e-mail announcement as early as possible prior to the viewing session. When first joining HAL, all members are Opted-in to the impromptu notification list which is set up using a Google Group called hal_impromptu. Existing members that are not interested can log into their HAL accounts and Opt-Out. You can either reply to an existing impromptu list e-mail or initiate a new one using e-mail address If you are an opted-in HAL Member but not a gate keyholder and want to attend impromptu viewing sessions, keep your eyes peeled for e-mail announcements.

2020/2021 Regional Star Parties & Astro Events

Regional Star Party Info
(Last updated on 9/20/2020)
Clear Sky Clock
(click for full CSC)
Winter Star Party
WSP FacebookPage
Feb 8-14, 2021
Southern Cross Astronomical Society
Camp Wesumkee on Scout Key, Florida
Chaos Spring Star Party
Staunton River State Park

TBD 2021
Near Scottsburg, Virginia
Texas Star Party
TSP Facebook Page
TBD 2021
Astronomical League Southwest Region
Prude Ranch near Fort Davis, Texas
The Cherry Springs Star Party
Cherry Springs Facebook Page
June 10-June 13, 2021
The Astronomical Society of Harrisburg
Cherry Springs State Park near Coudersport, PA
Green Bank Star Quest and Conference
GBSQ Facebook Page
June 7-10, 2021
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Greenbank, WV
Stellafane Convention
Stellafane Facebook
August 5-8, 2021
Springfield, VT Telescope Makers Annual Convention
RAC Summer Star Party
TBD 2021
Rockland Astronomy Club and Sky & Telescope

Peppermint Park Camping Resort (in the Berkshires)
Plainfield, Massachusetts, United States
NOVAC Facebook (Closed Site -You Will Need to Join)
Sept 3-7, 2021
Spruce Knob Mountain Center, WV
TBD 2021
Rockland Astronomy Club and Sky & Telescope
Rockland Community College, Suffern, New York
York Co Star Party (2020 CANCELED)
OCTOBER 6-10, 2021
York County, PA Astronomical Society
Susquehannock State Park
1880 Park Dr., Drumore, PA
Black Forest Star Party
BFSP Facebook
TBD 2021
Central Pennsylvania Observers
Cherry Springs State Park,
Potter County, PA
Chaos Fall Star Party
Staunton River State Park
Oct 12-Oct 18, 2020 ???
Near Scottsburg, Virginia

© 1999-2020 Howard Astronomical League
All Rights Reserved