Star Party Introduction
Leaving the Visitors Center
Gift Shop access during the Star Party
Cloudy/Partly Cloudy conditions
Reschedules & Refunds
Introduction: The Star Party host welcomes our guests and provides a short introduction in the outdoor Amphitheater at the Visitors Center. They explain the flow of the program, highlight objects we'll view, and provide important information about restricting various sources of lights during the program. White-light flashlights, camera screens and flash, phone screens, and shoes with bright flashes are all discouraged as they interfere with your and others' vision adjustment and enjoyment of the night sky. The introduction is ~15 minutes.
Constellation Tour: Visitor Center staff point out brighter stars and constellations, relating some of the practical uses of the stars, the mythology of some constellations, and the scientific understanding of various patterns and objects in the night sky. These constellation tours serve as an orientation to the night sky and add meaning to the telescope viewing to follow. The constellation tour is about 25-35 minutes.
Telescope Viewing: For our current reduced-capacity Star Parties during the COVID19 pandemic, participants will not be viewing directly through our various telescopes. Instead, we will use the Visitors Center's telescopes, combined with specially-designed astronomical cameras, to provide views to the group on a large screen on our Visitors Center Patio. For most objects, this method will actually give a brighter and more detailed view (and in color, where appropriate) than would a direct view through a telescope with your eyes.
Gift Shop and Restrooms Access during the Star Party: The gift shop will be available for one hour. The Visitors Center doors will open one hour before Star Party start time, and program participants can shop during this time. Social distancing requires a maximum of eight (8) persons in the Gift Shop at one time. The Gift Shop selections will include only one of each item in our inventory for representational purposes. Each shopper will pick up a clipboard upon entry and will make a detailed list of the items that they wish to purchase. When finished, shoppers will bring their list to the counter, and staff will pull the requested items from our inventory. Shoppers will be paged when their order is ready. Shoppers are encouraged to wait in the Lobby, Exhibit Hall or outdoors while their orders are being assembled so that other shoppers may enter the store.
Restrooms remain open during the Star Party, but at this time we only allow one person (or family group) in either restroom at a time.
Cloudy/Partly Cloudy conditions: Unfortunately, not every night is clear. For our current reduced-capacity Star Party program, we will assess the weather throughout the day and, to the best of our ability, make a judgement call on the likely weather that evening. If inclement weather is expected during the program, we will cancel the Star Party and attempt to contact (phone, text message, email) you approximately three hours before program start time. In this case, you would receive a full refund for your program.
If it turns out that our weather forecasting isn't accurate and we end up with rain/hail/lightning/high winds/high dust during the program, that will bring an end to the program and visitors must shelter in their cars. If we end up with merely cloudy skies, then we may offer alternative programming in lieu of live views of astronomical objects.
Cancellation / Reschedule / Refund Policy:
What if I need to cancel?
If you need to cancel your plans for any reason, please do so at least 3 days before your scheduled star party. We will refund the cost of your reservation, minus a $3 processing fee. The processing fee is applied per order, not per individual ticket. If you cancel less than 3 days prior to the star party, we are not able to offer a refund. You may contact the visitors center at email@example.com or 432-426-3640 (Tu-Sa 10am-5pm). If you or anyone in your party are not feeling well, please DO NOT visit. Contact our reservations team and we will be happy to assist you.
Can I transfer my ticket to a different date and/or time?
If you need to reschedule, please let us know at least 3 days in advance of your scheduled program. We are able to reschedule to another date within our reservation system if there are sufficient passes available to accommodate your request. Otherwise, we will be happy to process a cancellation and refund, less a $3 processing fee.
What if my program is canceled due to bad weather or other reasons?
In the event your program is cancelled by the Visitors Center, we will waive any processing fee and refund your full reservation amount.
No-shows of those with a reservation for a scheduled program will neither be refunded nor rescheduled.
*The Observatory reserves the right to ask unruly visitors (regardless of age) to leave the program venue if their behavior becomes disruptive.