Star Parties & Workshops
Our evening star parties are open to the public and equipment or knowledge of astronomy are not necessary.
At our evening star parties you will discover the many wondrous celestial objects that can be seen by the naked eye including; our cratered Moon, distant stars of beautiful colours, constellations that tell of ancient lore, and planets in our solar system that hold important lessons for life on Earth, and elsewhere in the cosmos.
We will use our telescopes to treat you to superb views of the Moon, planets, distant star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. We also occasionally host special "theme" nights, including public lectures on the latest developments in astronomy and space science, movie nights and an annual Hallowe'en party.
If you have your own binoculars or a telescope, bring it with you. We’ll help you learn about your equipment and show you around the night sky. If you’re an experienced astronomer, share your knowledge and passion for astronomy with budding astronomers.
Star parties are usually held about once a month, but we can't schedule these gatherings in advance, since good weather is important for star gazing. A tentative starry-night gathering is generally announced early on a day in which the weather forecast for that night looks promising. We generally avoid the two weeks each month when the Moon is between first- and third-quarter phases (that is, we avoid going out from about a week before full Moon, until about a week after), since the moon is so bright that its light overwhelms the stars.
We usually meet about an hour after sunset by the Trottier Observatory and Science Courtyard.
A tentatively scheduled gathering is subject to cancellation late that day, depending on how the weather develops. Final confirmation that we are "good to go", or not, will generally arrive by email around 4-5 pm the day of the tentative event.
To obtain the most up-to-date information on whether a Star Party will go ahead or not, please follow us on Twitter @sfutrottobs.
For a campus map with parking and directions, click here.
SFU is not responsible for the supervision of children at public events. Children should be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Astronomy Workshops for Elementary-School Students
These free, 90-minute workshops are held throughout the year during school hours and intermittently, evenings. Students receive basic instructions in the use of a telescope and will take part in an interactive multi-media presentation on the stars, planets, and other celestial objects currently in the night sky.
Students also receive and learn how to use a star wheel and "The Beginner's Guide to Astronomy" booklet provided by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).
Participation in this workshop is mandatory for children, families and clubs who want to qualify for a free telescope. To qualify for a telescope with a 50mm objective lens, a finderscope, tripod, and two eyepieces, students must attend four star parties and this workshop. Workshops are held when a class, or a group of approximately 20 homeschoolers or group members (i.e. Brownies, Cubs etc) are available. Once groups receive their telescopes, it is up to teachers and leaders to be responsible for loaning the telescope to individuals in a equitable manner.
To enroll your class or group in this workshop, complete the online registration form found here.