Every August, amateur astronomers gather at Indian Trail Spring in the Ochoco National Forest, located 45 miles east of Prineville, Oregon, for the Oregon Star party. We go to this remote location for the very dark skies, low humidity, and wonderful nighttime viewing.
In partnership with Ochoco National Forest, Oregon Star Party is a nonprofit organization staffed entirely with volunteers. Operating under a permit issued by the US Forest Service, Oregon Star Party is spread across 40 acres at Indian Trail Spring. This is a primitive site with an elevation of over 5,000 feet and an unobstructed 360 degree horizon. Oregon Star Party is considered to have the darkest skies of any major star party in the continental United States.
Each year, OSP’s volunteer planning committee plans youth and adult activities, secures door prizes, and arranges for vendors to sell their wares during the week-long event. Onsite amenities include hot showers, portable toilets, a chuckwagon, and the ever-popular espresso cart. Volunteers staff the entire event, including a first aid crew.
On August 21, 2017, a total eclipse of the Sun will cross the United States from coast to coast, giving tens of millions of people in a 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina a chance to see the solar corona and experience “darkness at midday.” Outside the path of totality, all of North America will experience a partial eclipse. This event, the first total solar eclipse to touch the US mainland since 1979 and the first to span the continent since 1918, presents a unique opportunity to excite people about science and connect them personally to the cosmos, as well as to conduct several important scientific observations.