Star Parties

If you would like to be on my Star Party e-mail list, send me a note saying so. Just put Star Party in the subject line. I tend to not plan star parties more than a few days in advance

Friday, August 30, 2019: I will be hosting a star party in Gabriel Park. (Basketball Court in NE Corner. Full details below.) Sunset is about 7:50 pm, so that is when I will show up and start setting up. It will be dark enough to see Jupiter and Saturn by 8:30 pm or so. 

UPDATE 6:45 pm: Well, it looks OK for a star party right now. I am going to give it a GO. (The forecast calls for high clouds coming in just after dark, but we will give it a try. If it clouds up I will not stay long.)

Is it Clear Enough for a Star Party?

Here is the Clear Sky Chart for Portland. The clear sky chart is an astronomer’s weather forecast. The chart forecasts the quality of night sky observing for the next 48 hours.

If you are planning a trip, go to the Clear Sky Chart Home Page to get a forecast for wherever you are going.

General Information About Star Parties


  1. Star parties are primarliy for students in the Wilson High School Earth and Space Science classes.
  2. But they are also for other Wilson High School students.


  1. Star parties are for Lewis and Clark graduate students in education.
  2. Star parties are for friends and neighbors of mine.
  3. Star parties are for you, if you are interested, but understand that they are primarily for my students.
  4. Feel free to bring along family and friends. But we want this to be a quiet, thoughtful study of the night sky. Don't bring children who are too young to understand this. Don't bring rowdy people. Don’t bring dogs!

Where: Star Parties are usually at Gabriel Park.

Gabriel Park

  1. We will meet on the basketball court in the northeast corner of Gabriel Park.
  2. From Vermont Street, turn south on SW 37th Avenue. Go down the hill to about SW Texas Street. Park along the road. Walk west onto the basketball court.


  1. Enter Gabriel Park from the SW 42nd Street entrance off Vermont Street. Park in the lot near the park shop, basketball court, bathroom, playground, etc. Walk east past the bathroom and to the basketball court or up the hill to the baseball field.
  2. Here is a link to a Google Map.

Wilson High School: Star Parties are occasionally at Wilson High School.

  1. We will meet just west of the flagpole near the main entrance off Vermont Street. Park on Vermont or in the Wilson Faculty lot on the north side of the building. (Since star parties are usually when school is closed, parking is not a problem.
  2. If you are bringing a heavy telescope, contact me for further insturctions.


  1. I do not plan Star Parties much in advance due to weather concerns, the Moon, and my schedule.
  2. E-mail messages will be sent out when the star parties are planned. If you would like to be on my Star Party e-mail list, send me a note saying so. Current students are automatically on the list.

What to Bring:

  1. Dress appropriately. Wear good shoes. You may wish to bring a blanket or pad to lay on.
  2. Red flashlight. No white lights please!
  3. Planisphere (star wheel) if you have one.
  4. Binoculars or telescope. Check in with me ahead of time if you plan to bring a telescope.

Rules, Safety, etc:

  1. Star parties are hosted by me, Joe Minato, private citizen and Friend of the Universe. They are not hosted or endorsed by either of my employers (Portland Public Schools, Lewis and Clark College), nor are they a project of the City of Portland. They are just something I like to do. And you are invited. 
  2. I strongly recommend coming with another person. You will be in a park in the darkness. Use good judgment regarding safety.
  3. Absolutely no alcohol, drugs, tobacco etc. Treat it like a school or family event.
  4. Drive safely!

© Joseph Minato 2019