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Museum of Space History’s Great Southwest Star Party 2023 — Free Event

October 14, 2023 @ 9:30 am - 9:00 pm

NM Museum of Space History -- Great Southwest Star Party

The Sun to Put on Special Show for Great Southwest Star Party!

Photo of Annular Eclipse at the NM Museum of Space History
Annular Eclipse at the NM Museum of Space History

What: The sun is scheduled to put on a special annular eclipse to kick off the Great Southwest Star Party, featuring a deep partial eclipse with over 90% of the sun’s surface covered by the moon. Organizers of the Star Party were delighted to hear of the sun’s participation in the event and noted that it’s unusual for the sun to take part in a Star Party, even though it’s the largest star around.

Even with the sun mostly hidden behind the moon, it’s still dangerous to look directly at it, so the Museum of Space History will be providing free eclipse glasses to the first 1000 attendees.

Astronomy League members will have telescopes with solar filters to view the annular eclipse and a special telescope inside the League’s new observatory will show the sun in Hydrogen-alpha, which is a specific wavelength of visible light. Those images will be broadcast live on a large screen monitor at the observatory.

When: Saturday, October 14, 2023, beginning at 9:00 am. Maximum obscuration (when the annular eclipse is at its peak) in the Alamogordo area will be at 10:39 am, although it begins at 9:14 am. The sun is scheduled to end its show at roughly 12:13 pm.

Where: At the Museum of Space History in Alamogordo. Activities will be held at the museum’s new observatory complex, which is in the upper parking lot below the main building. The observatory is expected to be opened later that afternoon.

Why: The Great Southwest Star Party (and eclipse viewing!) is a great way to learn more about the skies above us. Viewing the annular eclipse at the museum offers an opportunity to see it in a whole new light, through the lenses of specially equipped telescopes.

Sponsored by the Museum of Space History’s Astronomy League, the all day and into the night Great Southwest Star Party continues throughout the day with speaker sessions, special planetarium programs, and an evening star party. All events are free to the public, including admission to the museum and planetarium.


Date of event: Saturday, October 14th, 2023
Location: The New Mexico Museum of Space History


The Great Southwest Star Party 2023 will take place on the campus of the New Mexico Museum of Space History on Saturday, October 14th. This year’s event will feature viewing of the annular eclipse, speakers, the opening of the new observatory complex, and an evening star party. Come join us for a day of observing, learning and comradery. This year’s event will be hosted by the Museum, the Museum’s Astronomical League, and NMSU-A. The event is free and open to the public, including Museum admission and special planetarium features in the New Horizons Theater.  A food truck will be on hand throughout the day. 

Saturday, October 14th

9:00 am – 11:30 am
Public viewing of the annular eclipse at the observatory complex.

10:00 am -5:00 pm
Astrophotography gallery open, 2nd floor

12:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Astrophotography Tips and Tricks presented by Astronomy League members Museum 2nd floor 

12:30 – 1:15 pm
“Astrophotography for Beginners” Speaker Tony Gondola

1:30 – 2:15 pm
“Cell Phone Astrophotography” Speaker Mike Atkins

2:20 – 3:15 pm
“Capturing the Milky Way” Speaker Cheryl Wiggins

3:30 – 4:15 pm
“The Space Program and Me” Speaker Carol McLean Wright

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Opening of the new Observatory Complex.

6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Public star party in the Museum parking lot.

9:30 pm– Sunrise
Private star party for League members only.

About the New Mexico Museum of Space History: www.nmspacemuseum.org

The New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. A Smithsonian Affiliate, the museum showcases the significant role New Mexico has played in the development of the U.S. Space Program and features the International Space Hall of Fame, and New Horizons Dome Theater.


October 14, 2023
9:30 am - 9:00 pm
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NM Museum of Space History
(575) 437-2840 x 41132
View Organizer Website


Large parking lot above the Tombaugh Education Building
3198 State Route 2001
Alamogordo, 88310 United States
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