The Eldorado Star Party restricts activities and bans all lights after sundown. This provides a unique opportunity for you to become fully dark-adapted and remain so while observing under the dark skies. The Ranch will be dark from Monday night through the Saturday night, giving six nights with no lights on the Ranch. The following rules will be strictly enforced. Help us to enjoy this special dark environment, by cooperating fully so that everyone is guaranteed “star party dark skies”.

If you are a newcomer to star parties, please read  Star Party Etiquette   (courtesy of Fort Worth Astronomical Society).


Lighting Restrictions

  • Vehicle headlights, parking lights, tail and brake lights, and interior dome lights must remain extinguished.
  • All RV, trailer, and camper lights must be extinguished, unless proper shielding is installed on all windows and doors to prevent light escaping.
  • Coleman-type lanterns, campfires, grills, and outdoor lighting are NOT permitted.
  • All flashlights must be equipped with red filters and should be pointed toward the ground at your feet. Red cellophane or fingernail polish is useful. Dim RED lighting for reading starmaps and equipment illumination is allowed.
  • Laser pointers and any other form of lighting is not permitted during dark out, as these interfere with the observing/astrophotography by other attendees.
  • In the event you must give off some light, give a yell! A precious photograph could be saved with a little warning.

The lighting ban will be in effect when the sky is more than 10% clear. If it is raining, the ban will be lifted. If it is cloudy with the potential for clearing or there are some holes in the clouds, please keep white lights to a minimum to protect other people’s dark adaptation. Drive only if you must and use normal headlights.

Exceptions to the ban may be provided to certain persons or vehicles only by consent of the ESP staff. Please understand that Ranch employees have business to conduct from time to time, but will keep driving to a minimum to avoid disturbance.


No Driving On Ranch at Night

Driving in the dark is dangerous and can injure or kill people, damage telescopes and other property, none of which is yours to risk.
Normal headlights are justified in true medical emergencies.

For Late Arrivals and Non-Ranch Guests: The front gate to ESP is open at night, to allow for safe and convenient parking in the main parking lot. There is a large light fence between the main parking lot and the observing/camping fields. The road from the main parking to the observing/camping areas is closed at 8 PM – 6 AM to restrict traffic and minimize disturbance to observers. DO NOT plan to drive to/from the observing/camping area after dark. Park your car in the main parking lot if you plan to arrive/leave during the night.


Electricity Use Rules

Due to heavy demand in the telescope fields, we are limiting the use of electricity by providing top priority to telescope and computer equipment. The following rules are in effect at all times, day or night:

  • Only telescope drive equipment, anti-dew gear, drive correctors, 10 watt or less bulbs, and computers may be connected to ESP power outlets.
  • Appliances such as hot-plates, coffee pots, fans, heaters, and refrigerators are NOT to be connected to ESP power outlets.
  • Use LOW-HEAT setting on hair-dryers and avoid running yours when you hear another one being used nearby.

These rules do not apply to personal RV electric connections.


Computer Display Rules

If you are going to bring a Personal Computer to use at ESP during “blackout”, the following rules apply:

  • Display screens must be used at very low intensity.
  • Display screens should be covered with red material or sufficiently shielded so light from them will not disturb neighboring observers.
  • If you plan to operate your PC or viewer from inside your tent or trailer, install proper shielding to prevent light from escaping.

Observing Field Guidelines

 Tents (sleeping or storage or Observa-tents) are not allowed within the observing fields.

We want to maximize the amount of telescope space available, prevent tents from blocking the horizon for telescopes, and to limit the possibility of injuries caused by tripping on tent/awning support ropes and spikes.


No smoking on the main observing field.  Smoking is permitted in nearby areas, including camping.

No Pets (including dogs), please. Guide animals are the only exception.