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Star Party Planning Guide

Find out when the Space Station is flying over your town by going to .

When to plan your Star Party
An evening with nice weather, few clouds and a Space Station sighting opportunity is best. Check for the best International Space Station sighting opportunities in your area and plan your party around that opportunity.

Where to plan your Star Party
A local museum or observatory, a park or an open field, or even your own backyard are good places to throw a party. Have a facility available to go inside, and enough activities to entertain the kids if the weather turns bad. You can always go back outside when the weather clears. You may also want to check weather related Web sites for forecasts of your area.


Viewing the Stars
Even though you want the highlight of your party to be the International Space Station passing overhead, you also want to allow plenty of time for stargazing. Rent or borrow a telescope and be sure to have a constellation map nearby.

You could allow the following time for each activity for a 2 hour party agenda
20 minutesGreet arrivals, socializing for adults, free play time for kids
20 minutesRefreshments
30 minutesArts and crafts for kids
30 minutesOrganized games, activities and space trivia
30 minutesStargazing and watching the Space Station fly overhead
20 minutesSocializing for adults, free play time for kids

Star Party Planning Schedule

4-6 weeks in advance
Select date and time for party
Choose location for party and make reservations, if necessary
Develop party agenda (arts and crafts, refreshments, etc)
Book entertainment, if any
Don't forget to run the Skywatch applet and check the weather forecast

3-4 weeks in advance
Purchase invitations
Mail invitations (2 weeks before party)
Plan games and activities

2 weeks in advance
Purchase party supplies (decorations, favors and activities) Be sure to buy extra in case additional people show up
Plan menu and make grocery shopping list
Arrange help to set up, clean, prepare & serve food & coordinate games
Check sightings times again

1 week in advance
Gather tables and chairs, toys, coolers, serving dishes, and other supplies you'll be using at the party
Follow up with the invited guests who have not yet RSVP'd to determine final head count
Order cake and balloons
Prepare any foods that can be frozen for the following week

2-3 days in advance
Charge video camera battery and make sure cameras are working
Do grocery shopping (don't forget film)
Get cash for paying helpers

1 day in advance
Prepare remaining food, including cake or cupcakes
Clean and child proof party area

Party day
Finish last minute food preparations
Pick up cake and balloons (day before if Mylar balloons)
Set up and decorate party area
Set up games and prizes

Star Party Supply Checklist

Party WareTablecloths, plates, napkins, cups, utensils (forks, spoons, knives)
DecorationsBalloons (helium or regular), banners, signs, streamers, confetti
FavorsFavor bags, items to go in bag
FoodCake, cupcakes, ice cream, candy, drinks (juice, soda), ice, snacks
Misc.Serving dishes (trays, platters, baskets), serving utensils, camera, film, video camera, videotape, tables, chairs, ice chest
ActivitiesGames, arts and crafts

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer

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Updated: 05/18/2010