The Riverside Astronomical Society (RAS) star parties are held within the borders of the town of Landers, California, which is about 15-20 minutes north of Yucca Valley, California. Landers is about 40 miles (64 km) north of Palm Springs, California. The RAS website says its star parties are usually scheduled around weekends nearest the new moon (holidays and special events may cause that to shift now and then). They typically run from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning at the club’s dark sky site in Landers. The site itself is known as GMARS, which stands for Goat Mountain Astronomical Research Station. The RAS website says, “That may sound a bit intense and serious, but it’s the dark-sky site where we have our ridiculously FUN monthly star parties! Over the years it has been developed into a full-fledged star party mecca, for both members and non-members alike.” A member wrote to EarthSky, “You do not need to be a member of the RAS or even own a telescope to attend any of the RAS star parties. At our regular monthly star parties, there’s always a telescope to look through and there’s never a fee.” Look for more details on the website.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.