CCAS has resumed in-person star parties!
Our star parties are held on the weekend closest to the new moon (when possible) and in conjunction with certain holidays.
Our stargazing site is located in the parking lot of the marina and boat launch at Santa Margarita Lake Park (SMLP). The park is approximately 8 miles south of the town of Santa Margarita, off of Pozo Road.
Address: 4695 Santa Margarita Lake Road, Santa Margarita, CA 93453.
Please see their website for more information on the park: slocountyparks.com/camp/santa-margarita-lake/
Arriving at the park:
We highly recommend that you arrive before dark!
Once you arrive at the park entrance kiosk, inform the Ranger that you are a CCAS member arriving for our ”Star Party”. You will be given access at no charge (providing your arrival time is reasonably close to sunset.) Ask for directions or simply proceed straight ahead and down the hill 1/4 mile to where the road flattens out at the very wide marina parking lot entrance. Our star party will be located at the parking lot of the marina and boat launch.
The telescope area is at the south end of the parking lot beyond the San Luis Rowing Club building.
Telescope operators: Please park vehicles in two rows, ensuring that a clear lane remains open on either side of the equipment & vehicles.
Attendees not setting up telescopes: Please park in the northern half of the parking lot
with headlights facing towards the parking lot exit and away from the telescope zone.
Groups: If you have a group of eight or more people, instead of attending a star party, please consider Contacting Us to arrange a custom outreach event.
Star Party Etiquette and Guidelines:
We ask that everyone adhere to some basic CCAS and SLO County Parks Department guidelines:
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted at CCAS stargazing activities
- No smoking or vaping in the vicinity of the telescopes. Park rules prohibit smoking within 30 feet of any structure, parked boat, trailer, or RV. Fire danger due to dry vegetation can be extreme. Smoking materials must be completely extinguished and safely disposed of in a proper receptacle.
- It is imperative to avoid trip hazards around the telescopes and adjacent areas. Please stow loading ramps and equipment cases inside your vehicle or under tables and tripods. For the safety of your equipment and park visitors, we recommend marking tripod feet with glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark tape or subtle red illumination.
- No white lights after dark. Please use only the minimum dim red light necessary for safety or equipment adjustment. Computer screens should be covered with a red filter or completely shielded on all sides within a box-like housing.
- Please use laser pointers sparingly. Never point a laser at the ground, a person, or an aircraft. Prolonged use of lasers for pointing at objects in the sky or aiming optical equipment is bad star party etiquette and detracts from the enjoyment of the night sky by others.