Star Parties

 

2.4-meter Telescope starry night picture #MRO/MROI/mro

Due to COVID-19 restrictions all public outreach activities are temporarily suspended.

Magdalena Ridge Observatory hosts a number of star parties throughout the year for community members. Join us on the first Saturday of every month at the Etscorn Campus Observatory, at the annual Enchanted Skies Star Party, or become a member of Friends of MRO and schedule your own private star party!

Monthly Star Party


There is a star party at New Mexico Tech’s Etscorn Campus Observatory on the first Saturday of every month. The event starts an hour after sunset. If the skies are clear, attendants will get the chance to peer through a variety of telescopes at stars and planets with one of our guides helping to point you in the right direction (literally!). If weather conditions aren’t favorable, we have an indoor classroom perfect for listening to lectures or watching videos on astronomical topics.

Map to Etscorn Observatory


Driving Instructions


Coming North on I-25 to Socorro, NM Use exit 147 to California street, proceed North to Bullock Blvd., turn left. Follow Bullock Blvd. to Olive lane. Turn right onto Canyon Drive, proceed up the hill to the stop sign at Buck Wolfe Drive, turn right and follow signs to Etscorn Campus Observatory.
Coming South on I-25 to Socorro, NM Use exit 150 to California street, proceed South to Bullock Blvd., turn right. Follow Bullock Blvd. to Olive lane. Turn right onto Canyon Drive, proceed up the hill to the stop sign at Buck Wolfe Drive, turn right and follow signs to Etscorn Campus Observatory.
Coming East on Highway 60 to Socorro, NM At California street turn left, proceed North to Bullock Blvd., turn left. Follow Bullock Blvd. to Olive lane. Turn right onto Canyon Drive, proceed up the hill to the stop sign at Buck Wolfe Drive, turn right and follow signs to Etscorn Campus Observatory.

Annual Events

Enchanted Skies Star Party

The Enchanted Skies Star Party is a five day event held every October and located at Star Village (about five or six miles Northwest of Magdalena, NM). This event usually hosts over 100 people of all ages. There are tours of the Very Large Array and the Magdalena Ridge Observatory, guest speakers, star gazing, and several events in and around the town of Magdalena.

Friends of MRO

Seasonal private day tours and star parties are held for members of Friends of MRO.

Request A Star Party

If you are interested in either star parties or classroom presentations at New Mexico Tech or your location please contact the MRO Assistant Director of Outreach and Communications, Colleen Gino at (575) 835-6782.

Star parties at New Mexico Tech will be hosted at the Etscorn Campus Observatory by the New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club. Visitors will be treated to a view of the night sky using several optical telescopes designed for direct viewing.
local map

Driving Instructions

Coming North on I-25 to Socorro, NM
Use exit 147 to California street, proceed North to Bullock Blvd., turn left. Follow Bullock Blvd. to Olive lane. Turn right onto Canyon Drive, proceed up the hill the stop sign at Buck Wolfe Drive, turn right and follow signs to Etscorn Campus Observatory.
Coming South on I-25 to Socorro, NM Use exit 150 to California street, proceed South to Bullock Blvd., turn right. Follow Bullock Blvd. to Olive lane. Turn right onto Canyon Drive, proceed up the hill the stop sign at Buck Wolfe Drive, turn right and follow signs to Etscorn Campus Observatory.
Coming East on Highway 60 to Socorro, NM At California street turn left, proceed North to Bullock Blvd., turn left. Follow Bullock Blvd. to Olive lane. Turn right onto Canyon Drive, proceed up the hill the stop sign at Buck Wolfe Drive, turn right and follow signs to Etscorn Campus Observatory.


Star parties at your location are also an option. We will bring the telescopes to you and provide information about the objects that are viewed. Might as well have a classroom presentation while you are at it.

Classroom presentations are suitable for grades 4 through 9 and can be upgraded to include high school classes as needed. The currently available presentations include:

  • “Scale model of our Solar System” – A self-consistent model of both the sizes of and distances between the objects within our solar system.
  • “The making of a comet” – A discussion of the nature and origin of comets, including a hands on model of what a comet looks and feels like.
  • “Meteor impacts on the moon” – Demonstration of creation of lunar craters and factors that determine the size of lunar craters.
  • “Phase of the moon and Lunar and Solar Eclipses” – Hands on exercises that demonstrate the phases of the moon and the reasons for lunar and solar eclipse.

Any one of these presentations can be completed in standard classroom period of 40 – 60 minutes. If we come to your location a star party would be a natural follow up.

For more information, please contact:

Colleen Gino
Magdalena Ridge Observatory
New Mexico Tech
801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801