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Star Parties

From common astronomical occurrences to rare cosmic phenomena, join us to learn about our solar system and beyond.

Join SCI staff and volunteers to observe celestial objects, colorful double stars and star clusters, meteor showers and more through high-powered telescopes! Engage with stargazing guides to investigate the science of our solar system and beyond. Each event has a unique focus!

2024 Solar Parties

SCI Solar Parties are held during the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market on the north side of the Science Center near the SCI main entrance. Tickets and registration are not required to take part in the Solar Party activities. 

  • Monday, April 8: 2024 SOLAR ECLIPSE PARTY, Noon—2:30 p.m. @Drake Municipal Observatory
  • Saturday, May 4 from 9:00—11:00 a.m. 
  • Saturday, June 1 from 9:00—11:00 a.m. 
  • Saturday, July 6 from 9:00—11:00 a.m. 
  • Saturday, August 3 from 9:00—11:00 a.m. 
  • Saturday, September 7 from 9:00—11:00 a.m. 
  • Saturday, October 5 from 9:00—11:00 a.m. 

2024 Star Parties

Each SCI Star Party is held at a different location around the Des Moines Metro. Tickets and registration are not required to take part in the Star Party activities. See below for the dates, times and locations for this year's schedule.

  • Saturday, May 18: Galaxies, Clusters, and Nebula @ Ashton Observatory (8717 W 122nd St N, Mingo, IA, 50168) from 8:00—10:00 p.m.
  • Friday, June 28: The Moon, Stars and Constellations @ SCI from 8:00—10:00 p.m.
  • Friday, July 19: Planets – A Chance to See Mercury through a Telescope @ Drake Municipal Observatory from 8:00—10:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 10: Perseids Meteor Shower @ Ewing Park from 6:00 p.m.—Midnight
  • Thursday, September 19: The Moon (Full and Super Moon) @ Des Moines Forest Avenue Library from 7:00—9:00 p.m.
  • Friday, October 18: Double/Binary Stars @ Drake Observatory from 8:00—10:00 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: Solar & Star Parties are weather dependent and are subject to cancellation. Check the SCI website and Facebook for updates on the event.

Star Parties are offered through a partnership with Des Moines Parks & Recreation. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact volunteer@sciowa.org.

This project/material is based upon work supported by the Iowa Space Grant Consortium under NASA Award No. 80NSSC20M0107.

Upcoming Events

  • Jun 1 2024 | 9:00AM – 11:00AM

    Solar Party at SCI

  • Jun 28 2024 | 8:00PM – 10:00PM

    Star Party at SCI

  • Jul 6 2024 | 9:00AM – 11:00AM

    Solar Party at SCI

  • Jul 19 2024 | 8:00PM – 10:00PM

    Star Party at Drake Municipal Observatory

  • Aug 3 2024 | 9:00AM – 11:00AM

    Solar Party at SCI

  • Aug 10 2024 | 8:00PM – 10:00PM

    Star Party at Ewing Park: Perseids Meteor Shower

  • Sep 7 2024 | 9:00AM – 11:00AM

    Solar Party at SCI

  • Oct 5 2024 | 9:00AM – 11:00AM

    Solar Party at SCI

  • Oct 18 2024 | 8:00PM – 10:00PM

    Star Party at Drake Municipal Observatory