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Mount Tam Public Nights

From April to October, the SFAA offers public viewing in Marin along with public lectures organized by the Friends of Mt Tam (formerly the Mount Tamalpais Interpretive Association). This lecture series is currently being reorganized, so check back here for updates.

Mount Tam Members-Only Nights

Join us every month for Members-Only viewing atop Mt Tam.  The State Parks have granted the SFAA a ‘Special Use Permit’  (SUP) allowing us to meet on the Saturday night closest to the new moon for viewing from sundown until 2am.

New members must submit their online application at minimum 10 working days prior attending a members-only star party to allow for processing and mailing of an SUP.

Private viewing nights like this are one of the great benefits of SFAA membership, offering peaceful viewing, with no street lights, great range of visibility from the site, (bathrooms!) and the opportunity to network with fellow astronomers.

This venue is truly wonderful because it is almost always ‘above the fog’, making viewing especially perfect when the city lights are blocked by the marine layer.  Many nights we can see the Milky Way in all its glory!

Check out our calendar for the next Mt Tam Members-Only Night.

Special Instructions:

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the CA State Parks has limited the total number of people we are allowed to have at our star parties. This limit, 50 people, will be the biggest change. This change will also mean that our members are limited on bringing guests. Individual Memberships can only bring themselves. Family Memberships and Supporting Members can bring themselves and one guest (two people, TOTAL). That guest must arrive in the same car as the member. If two members arrive together, both members' Tam parking permits must be displayed on the dashboard. There is also no transferring of parking permits. The named member is the only one that is allowed to use it.

Due to popularity, Member's-Only star parties now require prior signup. All members should receive an email when the RSVP window is open prior to each star party.

The SFAA will require all members read and sign a waiver. All members attending a star party will have to check in with the lead and sign the waiver. Members will need to also provide their printed name and contact info. This information will be kept confidentially by the board and only used in the event we need to contact all those that attended an event.

Waiver: SFAAwaiver.pdf

Members must check in with the event lead by the posted arrival time, no later than 30 minutes before sunset. We will continue the group huddle with the event in the center of the parking lot at sunset. This huddle will now be mandatory for all those that attend. This is to help the members meet each other but to also go over leaving procedures and any news/rules.

All members must follow CA State Park rules and SFAA rules. We are fortunate to be able to resume our members-only star parties, and we do not want to jeopardize our relationship with the State Parts and rangers or cause them to revoke our permissions to hold our events on Tam in the future. The board feels it is important to prioritize strict compliance with these rules so that we can continue to enjoy this special benefit of membership in the months and years to come. If any member (or a member’s guest) does not follow these rules, the board reserves the right to revoke the member’s parking permit and permission to attend members-only star parties on Tam for the rest of the year.

Rules: TamRules.pdf        FAQ: TamFAQ.pdf        Link: Star Gazing Tools/Weather Conditions

If any of our star parties are cancelled (weather, red flag warning, park closed, etc), the SFAA will update the information on this website. Sometimes park closures happen close to the start of the event, please remember to check the CA State Park Mount Tamalpais website before heading up the mountain as reception is very spotty at Rock Springs Lot.

All members must arrive at least 30 minutes before sunset.

Please arrive before dark at the Rock Springs Parking Area because the access road gate will be locked when the park closes at sundown.  If you arrive and find the entrance gate closed, the rangers have asked that you stay by the gate and wait for the ranger to arrive rather than driving around the gate.  (This allows to make sure non-SFAA’ers are not in the park while they are closing it.)  New members beware that the gate gets locked with a code for the club, and in order to depart the star party, you may need to ask around to find the senior members of the club who’ve got the code for gate access for the night.

Bring layers…it can get cold.  Please also remember your red lights and plan to dim your car lights if you arrive in the dark or leave early, and familiarize yourself with our Star Party Etiquette Guidelines.

Special Use Permit (SUP) Required.

Email if your SUP needs to be updated.  Rangers check all cars and you must have your SUP card displayed on your dashboard or you could receive a citation.

Hope to see you there soon!

Rock Spring Parking Area
Mt Tamalpais State Park
West Ridgecrest Blvd @ Pan Toll Road
Stinson Beach, CA 94970