Star Parties

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This is the page for our popular Friday Night Star Parties. To learn about our Sunday Night Star Parties for people with disabilities click here.

The Star Party on March 31, 2017 will be rain or shine.

The weather this Spring has been awful cloudy.  So we are going to have the Friday Star Party scheduled for March 31, 2017 as an open house (8pm-10pm) independent of the weather.  If it is clear or even partly clear we will open the telescopes and do our best for viewing through them.  If its cloudy we will let people on the roof to see the scopes (as long as it is dry and safe) and also peruse our displays and ask questions.

Follow us on twitter (@UISObservatory) for updates and information.

Star Parties For 2017.

Star Parties are 8pm-10pm on the following Friday nights in 2017:

Spring 2017

March 17, 24, and 31

Fall 2017

September 8, 15, 22, and 29

October 6, 13, 20, and 27

What is a Star Party?

Since 1980 , more than 120,000 people of all ages have come to the UIS observatory for Friday Night Star Parties, as well as for special astronomical events such as lunar and solar eclipses and comets.

At a typical Star Party, vImage taken from hubblesite.orgisitors learn about galaxies, the sun, stars,
and stellar evolution, as well as star and constellation identification
prior to using the telescopes. These discussions take place in the stairway
gallery of astronomical pictures on the way to the rooftop observation
deck atop Brookens Library. Then, the observatory director and qualified
volunteers help visitors use each of the telescopes.

Over the years, stargazers have seen many celestial objects, including the moon and planets, deep-sky objects such as the Orion Nebula and other fascinating star systems, the beautiful yellow-blue double star Albireo, and the open star cluster called the Pleiades.

The Astronomy Program also offers Sunday Night Star Parties for the disabled and their friends and families.

How do I get more information?

For general questions about Friday Night Star Parties call 217-206-8342.

What do you do if it is cloudy?

In order to learn if the weather is suitable for viewing, please call 217-206-8342 at 7:00 PM on the night of the Star Party.

Or you can get information on when the observatory is open from our twitter feed:

Is there elevator access to the Campus Observatory for a Friday Night Star Parties?

No. Not during a Friday Night Star Party. Visitors to a Friday Night Star Party must be able to climb up and down four flights of stairs AND climb a short 5 ft ladder up to the main telescope dome. If you or a loved one that wants to attend a Star Party has trouble with stairs or ladders you should call 217-206-8342 and ask about our Sunday Night Star Parties for people with disabilities. Those Star Parties are fully accessible and require no stair or ladder climbing.

Where is the UIS Campus Observatory?

The Campus observatory is on the roof of Brookens Library. The door for the observatory is on the southeast corner of the library (side opposite the UIS fountain) and the door is marked “Observatory.” You have got to go all the way round the corner to see the observatory door. The observatory is through that door and up five flights of stairs to the roof. We appologize for the deplorable lack of signage. We are working on it. On that map below the library is building #7 and the door for the observatory is on the lower right corner of the outline of the building. Map to Campus Observatory