Star Gaze XXVI

are pleased to announce our Star Gaze XXVI (26th for non-Romans) Star Party at Trap Pond State Park

Scenes from Star Gaze

Our original dates for the star party will/were clouded out so it has been rescheduled for these new dates.

Our new dates have been largely clouded out so there are no more dates - the Star Gaze for 2019 has been cancelled and refunds will be made.

When: Thursday, May 30, 2019 through Sunday, June 2, 2019.

Where: Trap Pond State Park near Laurel, DE.

Center of Observing field close to  N 38° 31' 30" W 75° 28' 05" (N38.5250, W75.4667) Altitude 40' (10m)

Join us at our dark sky location at Trap Pond for our signature spring StarGaze 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 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.

Astrophotographers 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 telescope before you buy one!

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 (as a service to the park) to campers who may not be careful with their 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.


Trap Pond State Park PDF map.

Trap Park State Park is along Route 13 at exit Route 24 East. After a drive that seems longer than it should be you will see a small sign on your right for Trap Pond State Park. Go right - speed limit will be 35mph shortly so you'll know you are on the right road.

You want the first exit to the park which is a right turn just beyond a dilapidated store. Then look for a larger park sign sending you to the right. Check in at the office. Continue straight down the road you are on passing through a gate and look left as you go around the bend. If you make to the large parking lot you have gone a bit too far. We will probably have signs out with 'Star Party' on them.

Observing field camping map. This is the observing field with the camping and non-vehicle areas shown.

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

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 place your tent and telescope inside the red zones. You just can't park or drive your vehicles within these marked 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 picture may be worth a couple of hundred words:  Observing field camping map

Don't want to camp

There are several hotels and motels in Laurel just north of the park about 15 minutes north - a Relax Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and a Days Inn and possibly more along 13 Northbound out.

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 pointers may be used in the early observing hours since we may have park visitors who enjoy being shown the sky. We don't have a lot of rules because people are courteous at our star parties. We like these rules on the Shallow Sky website - short, simple, and concise.


See below for pricing.  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.

(  For those staying at the Park’s camp grounds, the dump fee for your waste water is included in  camping fee. It is not included for those camping on the observing field.

 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.





Per person on Observing Field $56
Per Family on Observing Field $70
Per Person in Park camp grounds or off site $35
Per Family in Park camp grounds or off site $49
Per person on Observing Field Saturday Night on or off site
Per family on Observing Field Saturday Night on or off site

If you are camping on the observing field your camping fee is included in registration.
 If you volunteer for something we need done your fee will be waived like helping with registration or directing traffic and other things. Contact me at the mail link at the bottom before the Star Party starts.
If you choose the Park Campground you must pay the Park to camp - the registration fee does NOT include this camping fee nor if you are staying in a hotel.
If you are in a hotel the offsite rates apply.
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.

Follow the links below to complete the registration process

Star Gaze Star Party

Registration form Adobe PDF image.

PayPal Acceptance Mark

On-Line Registration by PayPal


Host: Michael Lecuyer 302-284-3734 (Pro-tem)