1. Don't use white lights. Use red lights! They allow everyone to keep their night vision. You can easily find red LED flashlights, or make a red filter for a regular flashlight with colored acetate. If for some reason you MUST use a white light, shout out a warning and give people a chance to protect their night vision and cameras.
2. Make sure you car doesn't violate the light rule above. Backup lights and even interior lights can ruin someone's night vision. If you're planning to leave before dawn, park away from the observing field, so as to be able to leave without using your lights.
3. If you come to a star party without a telescope, please park some distance away from the observing site. Leave the closer parking spots for those with heavy equipment to carry.
4. Looking through telescopes is why we're here, but please, do not touch anyone else's equipment without permission. Please ask politely if it's OK to look. Never touch any of a telescope's glass parts (lenses or eyepieces). Be doubly careful when astrophotographers are doing their thing. Please don't ruin a long exposure, carefully timed picture.
5. Don't litter. It's even nicer if you help pick up the area afterward.
6. Drive slowly so as to avoid kicking up dust if near any telescopes.
7. Safety first! Watch your step (but don't use a flashlight). Be especially careful of wires on the ground. Some scopes require power, and some folks use their car's battery. If your scope requires power, try to make the wires as safe as possible.
8. If you're a visitor or a newbie, try not to monopolize another person's time. The astronomers are there to enjoy the sky. Of course, when the star party is specifically organized for the public or newcomers, ask questions and discuss. Remember, you will not become an expert over one night of stargazing.
9. If you have no interest in stargazing, please don't attend a star party!
10. Children -- some folks welcome them, others don't. If you do bring children make sure that they are quiet, careful and act like adults.
11. Pets -- some star parties ban pets, some allow them. If you bring your pet, make sure it is on a leash and under control. Pick up after you pet, of course!
12. Music -- some star parties ban music altogether, some are less strict. Just remember that music that you love may be extremely irritating to others. Please use a headset or earbuds.
13. Alcohol -- If you do drink (at a party that allows it) make sure you don't violate the "loud and boisterous" rule. And be aware that alcohol may adversely affect your night vision, body temperature and ability to drive home.
14. Smoking -- smokers should stay downwind of non-smokers and their telescopes. Just because you're outdoors doesn't mean your smoking isn't annoying, disrespectful and unhealthful to others. Also the smoke residue will form on the high quality optics of the telescopes.
15. Be nice. If you’re being disruptive or disrespectful, expect to get it "dished back" from SALSA members. We are a very fun loving bunch, but we do not tolerate problems if you cause them knowingly. You quite possibly will be made to leave the event.
16. Last but not least, enjoy yourself and the event. Sadly, some of these rules do sound a bit draconian and sarcastic. Please understand that they are here because someone, sometime in the past, made then necessary.
Star Party Etiquette
When attending a star party, there are a few guidelines to follow, out of respect and courtesy for others. These may be small gatherings, or a large organzied events, but they are always great opportunities to view many wonderful things in the night sky.