Star Gaze XXV Star Party

The Delmarva Stargazer Society is pleased to announce our Star Gaze XXV (25th for non-Romans) Star Party at Trap Pond State Park


Banner for Stargaze

When: Thursday May 10, 2018 through Sunday, Sunday May 13, 2018.
Where: Trap Pond State Park near Laurel, DE.
Contact: Lyle Jones at, 302-382-3764

Center of Observing field close to  N 38° 31′ 30″ W 75° 28′ 05″ (N38.5250, W75.4667) Altitude 40′ (10m). The eastern end rises to a magnificent 45′ – the view of the field is stunning from there.

Join us at our dark sky location at Trap Pond for our signature spring Star Gaze star party.

During recent star parties the Sky Quality Meter has been it’s two darkest readings at 20.87 and of 21.00. These are indeed dark skies for the Delmarva Peninsula. To get better you’ll have to travel 150 miles further to Almost Heaven (at 21.3) or Cherry Springs at about the same. There are some sites claiming Cherry Springs at 23+ but the darkest skies on the earth have measured around 22 (E.G. Mauna Kea at  21.45).  You can easily get these darker readings when it’s overcast at night – perhaps that’s the reason.

For our low, low prices we include camping by your telescope, dinner for three days, the sky for three nights, Cypress Lake for kayaking, birding, hiking, all night Stargazer coffee, 50 cent hot dogs and camaraderie with members,  other astronomers and guests. There are usually snacks at night.

Astro-photographers do well here. You will find astronomers of all types from novices to experts, those with large telescopes, small telescopes, binoculars and even no telescopes (sharing scopes is common).

Star parties are the best places to try out different telescopes and equipment  before you buy something!

Park Information

Trap Pond State Park features the northernmost natural stand of bald cypress trees in the United States. The pond was created in the late 1700s to power the sawmill during the harvest of large cypress from the area.

Hiking trails surround the pond, providing opportunities to glimpse native animal species and many flowering plants.  The Park is scenic and there are countless opportunities to take pictures.

We also provide early evening star programs to campers who may not be careful with their car and flashlights. Fortunately this does not go on very late leaving use plenty of time to observer. If you don’t enjoy this camaraderie please set up in the middle of the field or further East. If you are inclined to help set up a telescope close to the entrance.


Trap Pond State Park PDF map.

The map shows the normal campgrounds which you may disregard. Our campground is located just before Cypress Point in the light green area to the right of Cypress Point partly covered by the sign.

Observing field camping map. This is the observing field with the camping and non-vehicle areas shown. You set up your tent and telescope on the red hatched area. You park your vehicle  outside the red hatched are next to your ten and telescope(s). Or set up your equipment anywhere in the red hatched area.

Other Activities

During the Party attendees can take a Pontoon boat into the cypress for nominal fee with Park staff, hike the park’s trails, visit the Ward Museum (carved birds and decoys) in Salisbury, MD, travel to the Rehoboth to enjoy the beaches or shopping at the malls.

 Included with registration

  • Camping fee for the observing area (campers are encouraged to park by their telescopes)
  •  Star Gazer Coffee continuously day and night
  • Soup or chili on Thursday and Friday dinner
  • Our Famous Fish Fry on Saturday afternoon
  • Hot dogs will be available at minimal cost (50 cents)throughout the day and night
  • Door Prizes
  • There is 110V power available for charging batteries and other tasks at the south west end of the field
  •  Flush bathrooms are within a short walk
  • Showers are in Park camp grounds about a half mile away

Door Prizes

Prizes received to date.
  1. Sky and Telescope’s Pocket  Sky Atlas (Jumbo Edition)
  2. Vixen 10X 50 Binoculars
  3. Orion 10×50 Binocular Stargazing Kit
  4.  Orion Star Target Planisphere 
  5.  Orion Deep Map 600 Folding Star Chart 
  6.  Orion Moon Map
  7. Orion Jupiter Map & Observing Guide
  8.  Orion Mars Map & Observing Guide 
  9.  Orion Saturn Map & Observing Guide
  10.  Orion Solar System, Moon, and Meteors Poster Kit 
  11.  Orion Binocular Astronomy Field Guide 
  12. Orion Telescope Observer’s Guide 
  13.  Orion Exploring the Cosmos: An Introduction to the Night Sky 
  14. Tele Vue Visionary Plossl 32mm
  15. Bob’s Knobs  certificate

Vehicle Movement

Vehicle movement will be restricted in the observing area after dark as a courtesy to those who are observing.

Where to Park

There are certain areas of the observing field designated by corner fences that vehicles & trailers/RV’s may not enter. However you may park just outside these areas and may place your tent and telescope inside. You just can’t park or drive your vehicles within these areas. So you may camp and use your telescope anywhere on the field and only your vehicle is restricted by the borders indicated by the corner fences. Please do not block these access paths along the exterior of these fences. You’ll see exactly how this work once you arrive. Like most star parties you will be camping right beside your telescope and vehicle.

There is a large mound on one long side of the ‘cultivated lawn’ which marks the North side. Setting up about 50′ out from the mound anywhere along the North side offers Polaris for alignment and give the best view of the Southern sky. The North-West corner provides the best and longest track of Southern objects for astro-photographers. Food and power is available at the South-West corner.

This is the observing field with the camping and non-vehicle areas shown. You set up your tent and telescope on the red hatched area. You park your vehicle  outside the red hatched are next to your tent and telescope(s). Or setup any where in the red hatched area. Observing field camping map 

Bring Mugs

The Delmarva Stargazers do not provide disposable drinking cups (they tend to accumulate everywhere). We ask that you bring a travel mug(s) for coffee, water and drinks. We take this approach to reduce the amount of total waste and the non-recyclable (Styrofoam) waste we generate.

Red Lights & Green Lasers

You probably know the drill. Red lights only on the observing field after dark when observing is possible. Obviously this does not apply when overcast. Green laser pointer may be used in the early observing hours since we may have park visitors who enjoy being shown the sky.


See below for pricing for the entire star party.  Sorry, there will be no refunds, but you can transfer your registration. For individuals that wish to camp in the Park camping area which has water and electricity contact the Delaware State Park Reservation system at  For those staying at the Park’s camp grounds, the dump fee for your waste water is included in  camping fee. Dump fees are not included for those camping on the observing field and are paid at the park office.

Minors, i.e., anyone under 18 years old, must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian while they are at Star Gaze. “Family” definition is intended to be parent(s) and their children less than 18 years of age or members of the same household…i.e., husband, wife, partner.

All attendees are encouraged to register in advance for this event. This is our first Star Gaze at Trap Pond and you can help us with logistics by emailing your intent to attend if you will not be preregistering.

Vendors: there is no special high pricing for you.  Just pay the regular price and set up.



person on Observing Field
Family on Observing Field
Per Person in Park camp grounds $35
Per Family in Park camp grounds $49
Per person on Observing Field Saturday Night Only
Per family on Observing Field Saturday Night Only $35
If you are camping on
the observing field your camping fee is included in registration.
If you choose the
Park Campground you must pay the Park to camp – the registration
fee does NOT include this
camping fee. This is precisely the set up we used at the
Equestrian Center at Tuckahoe.
RV’s camping on the observing field at Cypress
Point may dump their waste water at the Park’s facility for
$7.  This fee must be paid at the Park’s Camping Office.


Registration links

Use one of these links below to complete the registration process.

Registration form (PDF)

On-Line Registration


Lyle Jones, 302-382-3764