Explore the wonders of the Universe
Astronomy Nights are free and open to all, no signup needed.
Welcome to the Mt. Tam Astronomy Program. This educational program is designed to give the public and students of all ages and backgrounds a better understanding of our universe by hearing about current theories and discoveries followed by an opportunity to observe through telescopes.
Evening programs are held each Saturday between the new and first quarter moon from April through October. A talk by a professional astronomer, physicist, or space scientist begins in the Mountain Theater (directions) near the end of twilight and lasts about 45 minutes. These presentations are typically enhanced by beautiful images projected on a large screen. The audience is invited to ask questions at the end.
Immediately following each month’s lecture, the audience is invited to remain in the Mountain Theater for a brief Night Sky Tour by theUrban Astronomer, highlighting the prominent constellations, stars and planets visible in the night time sky, before enjoying the observing session (starparty) conducted by the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers in the Rock Springs parking lot.
Following the lecture, audience members are invited to the Rock Spring parking area to view through telescopes provided by members of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers. The observing session (or “starparty”) lasts from 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the seeing conditions and the size of the crowd.
The observing sessions are courtesy of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers. The equipment is the personal property of the members. Please do not handle or adjust any equipment without the explicit permission of the owners. White light ruins dark adeptness, so please use only filtered (preferably red) light around the telescopes. (The greeters in the Mountain Theater have filters and loaner flashlights for those who do not bring their own.) The observing sessions last about 1 to 1 1/2 hours after the programs.
Volunteers are needed to keep these programs going. We need YOU to become a VIP (Volunteers In Parks, also Very Important Person). No experience is necessary. You can park cars, greet the audience, or help set up and take down our equipment, and still enjoy the speaker and observing session.
Volunteers are asked to attend a one-time, two hour orientation to become a State Park VIP. Call Tinka at 415.454.4715 and sign up now to ensure that our programs will continue.
A State Park Ranger will announce the park’s closing time for the evening. We ask that all guests vacate the premises promptly at the end of the viewing session that follows the lecture.
We thank and greatly appreciate the support of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, who conduct telescope clinics and provide telescopes for public viewing at Mt. Tam Astronomy events.
Check the Clear Sky Chart for Mt. Tam
Clear Sky Chart is the astronomer’s forecast for the next 48 hours. Read from left to right. Locate a column of blue blocks. That’s when the sky will likely to be clear and dark. Many thanks to Attilla Danko at Clearsky.com for this free service!