Family stargazing outside with a telescope

Bell Museum Hosts Minnesota’s First ‘Statewide Star Party’

Join in free telescope observing at sites across the state Nov. 8–11, 2019

Published10/07/2019

The Bell Museum invites stargazers across the state to participate in Minnesota’s first Statewide Star Party during the weekend of Friday, November 8 through Monday, November 11, 2019. As a continuation of the museum’s yearlong celebration of the Apollo 50th anniversary, the theme of this inaugural telescope observing event is “Moon & Beyond.”

“Free telescope observing nights take place regularly at the Bell and in communities across Minnesota,” said Denise Young, Bell Museum executive director. “We want to showcase the people and places right in your own backyard where you can engage your cosmic curiosity.”

There are 28 host sites throughout the state that will be participating in this year’s Statewide Star Party. Hosted by schools, colleges, libraries, museums, parks, and other local organizations, all events are family-friendly and include free outdoor skywatching. The Bell Museum also developed kits for host sites, which include hands-on science and astronomy activities for a variety of experience levels, reading lists, and other resources.

“Anyone who has spent time looking up at the night sky, either with their naked eyes or a telescope, will tell you that it’s one of their most mesmerizing experiences,” said Nadia Abuisnaineh, Statewide Star Party coordinator and NASA Solar System Ambassador. “We want our friends, families, colleagues, classmates, teachers, and neighbors to spend the weekend looking up at the sky, learning about the beauty and wonder of our Moon—and ultimately our universe!”

Weekend celebrations extend into Monday, November 11, thanks to a rare event: the planetary transit of Mercury. Mercury and Venus are the only planets that can be seen transiting the Sun from Earth, because they are the only planets that orbit inside Earth’s orbit. Events on Monday will take place in the morning so attendees can watch the transit with telescopes safe for solar viewing.

Click here for event locations around the state.