Star Parties with MIfA

Star party

1st & 3rd Fridays
8 – 9:30 pm
Free and open to the public

Explore the sky with astronomers from the Bell and the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics. Our free telescope observing nights take place every month (weather permitting). Star Parties are very informal and family-friendly, and you can arrive and leave at any time.

Each evening will start with a special science presentation by MIfA graduate students in the Bell Museum's Auditorium. After the talk, the party will continue with telescope observing in the courtyard. We provide the telescopes and will guide you through observations of the same celestial objects that have inspired sky-gazers throughout history!

Upcoming Star Parties

September 16: Our Solar Neighborhood
October 7: Milky Way/Andromeda Merger

October 21: Galaxies
**Note: The UMN Homecoming Parade will precede this event. Traffic/parking may be congested.

November 4: Solar System
November 18: Einstein's Theory of Gravity
December 2: The Life of Stars
December 16: The Universe: From the Big Bang to Now


The science talks will go on rain or shine. The presentations take roughly 30 minutes, but can be slightly shorter or longer depending on the topic. Pending favorable sky conditions, observing should therefore begin by about 8:30 pm.

    If it is completely clear, observing will most likely happen.
    If there is precipitation or the skies are overcast, observing will not occur.
    If it is mostly clear, with only a few clouds (<50% cover), observing will likely occur with some interruptions
    If it is mostly cloudy (>50% cover), it is hard observe in such conditions and observing may not occur.

These are only general guidelines, and observing may not occur for other reasons like cold temperatures, threat of impending storms, high humidity, or the dominant cloud type (i.e. cirrus, cumulus, etc.). Conditions may also change quickly as the night goes on.

Check the museum's Twitter and Facebook pages for cancellation notices or call Visitor Services at 612-626-9660.