6 Special Stargazing Events That Include October 14’s Solar Eclipse

6 Special Stargazing Events That Include October 14’s Solar Eclipse


On Saturday, October 14 a “ring of fire” annular solar eclipse will surge across nine states in the U.S. Southwest. Everyone in the Americas will see a partial solar eclipse.

Many events being staged for the eclipse—either for the ring or merely for a small partial—are just for a few hours. However, October is a fabulous time for stargazing when many annual star parties are held.

If you’re just as interested in dark skies and stargazing as you are in the eclipse, these five star parties—some heavily themed by the eclipse and others that merely have it as a side-show—could be for you.

1. Dark Sky Festival, California (78% eclipse)

When: October 12-15

Where: Death Valley Starcamp, Indian Ranch Road, Panamint Valley, California

Held between October 12-15, the annual California Dark Sky Festival features three nights of telescopes, astronomy lectures by professional astronomers, nightscape photography workshops, afternoon demonstrations, giveaways, camping, a food truck and a 78% partial solar eclipse on October 14.

2. Heart of America Star Party, Missouri (63%)

When: October 12-15

Where: Butler, Missouri

Hosted by the Astronomical Society of Kansas City and aimed at both beginners and experienced astronomers, the annual Heart of America Star Party will feature guest speakers, a solar filter-making workshop and eclipse-viewing. It’s held south of Kansas City near on a 40-acre dark sky site near Butler, Missouri.

3. Dark Skies Star Party, Illinois (50% eclipse)

When: October 12-15

Where: 10149 County Highway 11, Chandlerville, Illinois

Stargazers and amateur astronomers will descend on the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area for the annual Illinois Dark Skies Star Party, three days of sky-gazing with University speakers on both Friday and Saturday. A 50% partial solar eclipse will be visible on Saturday. Hosted by the Sangamon Astronomical Society, there’s lots of room for tent camping and RVs.

4. Solar Eclipse Village, Texas (‘ring of fire’)

When: October 14-16

Where: Garner State Park, Concan, Texas

Solar Eclipse Village will feature an astrophotography session and a guided stargazing tour on Saturday, October 14, but not until visitors have witnessed a “ring of fire” solar eclipse at 11:49 a.m. CDT for 4 minutes 35 seconds. Expect eclipse lectures, science experiments, activities and guided eclipse viewing, with Sunday featuring a lengthy preview of April 8’s total solar eclipse, which remarkably will occur in exactly the same place.

5. Boulder Mail Trail, Utah (‘ring of fire’)

When: October 10-14

Where: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

If you’re a more active type and want dark skies and a lonely eclipse amid incredible surroundings, consider this last-minute Boulder Mail Trail backpacking trip ($1,675 per person) through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Hosted by Wildland Trekking, this guided four-day trek through canyon country will encounter the “ring of fire” while hiking out of the lower Escalante River Canyon east of Escalante, Utah.

6. Eclipse Into Nature Star Party, Oregon (‘ring of fire’)

When: October 13-14

Where: Running Y Resort, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Held at the Running Y Resort in Klamath Falls, Oregon is a one-off two-day event called “Eclipse Into Nature,” but featuring a star party on October 13. Expect an evening of stargazing with telescopes and lectures, with a “ring of fire” solar eclipse visible on Saturday. Eclipse day will start at 6:00 a.m. PDT with live music and a breakfast buffet before the event. Solar eclipses glasses will be provided.

I’m an expert on eclipses—the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and author of The Complete Guide To The Great North American Eclipse of April 8, 2024. For the very latest on the “ring of fire” solar eclipse—including travel and lodging options—check my main feed for new articles each day.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.