As COVID-19 vaccines start to get administered to the general public, it will take some time for star parties to get up and running. Every club and group will have their own ways of determining how many people can attend, how to run the star party, and more. However, there are some great lessons and methods that can be taken from our experiences running astronomy club meetings during COVID-19 that can be applied to star parties as well!
Here are our tips for extending what worked during COVID-19 to help keep the public engaged and extending them to star parties. We cannot provide guidance for when in person star parties will return, as that is best left to health officials. Herd immunity, or proving when everyone attending is not sick is not our speciality nor is it something that we will provide guidance on.
As many astronomy clubs are providing access to their meetings online in real time via zoom or uploading a recording to YouTube, this same philosophy can extend to star parties in several ways. Online meetings and offerings has been one way that many clubs and organizations have realized is a new avenue to provide more resources to existing members and new resources to new members. Therefore, these same tactics can be extended to star parties in a few specific ways.
Live Streaming Presentatons
For events in which there are presentations by club members, there are opportunities for these presentations and resources to be streamed to their members live. These presentations can not only help those members who can’t make the star party live to learn some information. Plus, it can help draw others who wouldn’t otherwise join to join because of the club resources and club members. There are ways for clubs to make these resources available for everyones benefit.
Live Streaming Telescopes
Another option would be to have a stream from a telescope at the site, which would be a great way for those who can’t attend in person view the sites! It is common for famous observatories to have live streams for eclipses and transits. So why not have a similar stream for viewing the moon and planets at a location such as Stub Stewart State Park! Put some nice music over the views of the celestial sights, and it would be a nice stream for all!
If you’re interested in learning how amateur astronomy clubs are handling meetings during COVID-19, check out our article on the subject. Make sure to keep checking in with CosmosPNW to find out about more cool information!