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SKY'S THE LIMIT
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Where is Sky's the Limit Observatory located?
A: Sky's the Limit Observatory is located at 9697 Utah Trail, Twentynine Palms. Just outside of the North Entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.
Q: Where can I find a listing of your free public Star Parties?
A: On our events page: http://skysthelimit29.org/events.html, or our Facebook Event Calendar: https://www.facebook.com/pg/skysthelimit29/events/
Q: Will you have public star parties on any other night besides Saturday?
A: No, Sky's the Limit is only open to the public for our star parties on Saturday nights.
Q: I am visiting the area during the week, will the observatory be open?
A: Unfortunately, Sky's the Limit is only open to the public on Saturday nights.
Q: Why are no star parties on some Saturday Nights?
A: Sky's the Limit does not have star parties on the Saturday where the moon is full, or very close to full. The bright moon washes out the sky and detracts from observing the stars.
Q: What can I expect at a Sky's the Limit star party?
A: You can expect about five telescopes set up outside on our concrete walkway, each viewing a different object in the night sky. If the Moon is out or there are planets in the sky, you can be sure we will be viewing them. If you would like to look through a telescope, simply approach the astronomer and ask what they are looking at. Each astronomer will explain in detail what we are viewing and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Some astronomers will have green laser pointers and will be pointing out constellations and asterisms in the sky. Most guests are satisfied with 1 to 1.5 hours of telescope viewing.
Q: Is there a set program to your star parties? Do I have to stay for the entire duration?
A: There is no set program for our events, you may come and go as you please at any point during the night.
Q: What is the cost of your events?
A: Star Parties at Sky's the Limit Observatory are Free of Charge.
Q: I couldn't figure out how to sign up or register for the star party event on your website.
A: No registration or sign up is required for our free public star parties.
Q: What are the Hours of the Sky's the Limit?
A: Sky's the Limit is open to the public every Saturday from 10am - 2pm, and an average of three Saturday nights per month, from approximately sunset to 4 hours after sunset (Please note, our evening hours change throughout the year.)
Q: What time do the star parties start?
A: There is no definite start time for our star parties. The viewing starts approximately 30 to 40 minutes after sunset.
Q: What time should we plan on arriving to a star party?
A: You may arrive at any time during the estimated event times.
Q: What are the Star Party Rules?
A: No smoking or alcohol on the premises.
No camping or overnight stays.
No white light or flash photography...red light only.
Do not touch the observing equipment.
Not Recommended for Children under 12.
Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Q: Are Dogs and Pets Allowed at Your Events?
A: No, Dogs and Pets are not allowed at any Sky's the Limit event.
Q: Do we have to bring our own telescope?
A: No, you are not required to bring your own telescope to participate in our events. We have several telescopes that we use and allow guests to look through.
Q: Are Your Events Good For Children? Are there activities for kids at your events?
A: Star Parties at Sky's the Limit are not recommended for Children under 12. There are not any specific activities for children.
Q: Is the dome open to the public?
A: The observatory dome is not open to the public at this time. The dome does not hold a large telescope and is currently not used for any astronomy activities. All telescopes are set up outside on our concrete walkway. Setting up our telescopes outside give guests a true "star party" experience.
Q: Are the star party events normally crowded? Is there a limit to group size?
A: Typical star parties at Sky's the Limit have approximately 50-100 guests in attendance. The maximum number of guests at one time we can handle is 150.
Q: Can I Camp overnight at Sky's the Limit?
A: Camping is not permitted on the Sky's the Limit Campus.
Q: Can I stay in my RV or Trailer overnight at Sky's the Limit?
A: Sleeping overnight in a RV or Trailer is not permitted on the Sky's the Limit Campus.
Q: Are you open to the public for special celestial events, like meteor showers, supermoons or eclipses, that don’t take place on Saturdays?
A: No, Sky's the Limit does not regularly schedule events around meteor showers, supermoons or eclipses.
Q: Can we touch the telescopes?
A: No, please refrain from touching our telescopes. Sky's the Limit equipment and can only be handled by our staff of astronomers.
Q: Can I take a picture through the eyepiece with my camera or iPhone?
A: Sky’s The Limit telescopes are set up for viewing only at our free events. A camera requires a special kind of mount that requires taking the eyepiece set up off the telescope, and would take away from the viewing experience of others. Sky's the Limit astronomers are the only ones allowed to take smartphone photos through our equipment. The only object that shows up on a phone without special equipment is the moon. If an astronomer has the moon in their telescope and you’d like a picture with your phone, please ask them to take one for you. Do not try and take one yourself as the eyepiece is very fragile and expensive.
Q: I brought my telescope and I don't know how to use it, can you help?
A: Not usually at regular events. Sky's the Limit hosts a telescope clinic during mid-summer, for those that have telescopes sitting around, but just need to be taught how to use them. We would be happy to help at this event. Please note: We not be setting up Sky's the Limit Telescopes for public viewing at the telescope clinic.
Q: I am an amateur astronomer with a telescope, can I observe at Sky's the Limit during the week?
A: Yes, Sky's the Limit is always open to fellow amateur astronomers who wish to use the campus as a dark sky site.
Q: Why do we have to use red lights?
A: Red lights do not upset people’s night vision, and when we are outside in the dark it is important that we do not disturb others’ night vision. All of the volunteers use red flashlights and we encourage guests to do so at well.
Q: I see clouds in the sky, will the star party still be taking place?
A: If you look up on a Saturday that we have an event scheduled and see clouds, we will most likely cancel our star party. Please look for a post on our Facebook or Twitter pages for day-of updates if the weather is questionable.
Q: Is the Observatory affiliated with Joshua Tree National Park?
A: Sky's the Limit is not directly affiliated with Joshua Tree National Park, nor the City of Twentynine Palms. We are an independent organization founded and run by volunteer astronomers.
Q: We are looking for a venue for a wedding, birthday or graduation party? Do you rent your facility for parties or private events?
A: The observatory is not available for rent for parties or non-astronomy events of any kind.
Q: Is Sky's the Limit a good place to photograph the Milky Way?
A: Yes, Sky's the Limit is a fantastic place to view and photographed the Milky Way. The Milky Way is well placed in the months between June and March.
Q: I am looking to by a telescope. Can one of your astronomers recommend a first telescope?
A: Our astronomers would be happy to recommend a telescope. Expect to spend around $500 for a quality piece of equipment you can enjoy. Avoid telescopes priced under this minimum. Several brands make quality telescopes in this price range, such as; Orion, Celestron and Meade.
Q: Is it ok if I sit and by myself and just gaze up at the stars?
A: Yes, absolutely, sitting on one of our benches or picnic tables is a fine way to enjoy the night sky.
Q: I want to schedule a private star party at my campground in Joshua Tree National Park, can you come do a show at my campground?
A: Sky's the Limit is unable to do run-out star parties at campgrounds or private residences.
Q: I am looking to get my scout group an Astronomy Merit Badge, can Sky's the Limit provide this service?
A: No, Sky's the Limit cannot provide the teaching necessary for scouts to earn their Astronomy Merit Badge.