the southern star party

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The SSP is a star party held in South Africa, somewhere in the Western Cape, twice a year.

Events and activities include talks, workshops, guided observing sessions, astrophotography practicals, the famous SSP AstroQuiz, and lots of opportunity to socialize and share the night sky.

Spring 2016 Southern Star Party

Spring SSP: extended dates

The Spring Southern Star Party — the 12th SSP — will be held at Night Sky Caravan Park, Bonnievale, from 26 to 31 October 2016.

Due to popular demand, the next SSP has been extended by several days to allow for more personal observing time. The formal programme runs from the 28th to the morning of the 30th of October, but everyone is encouraged to spend some more time under the stars - from Wednesday October 26 to Monday, October 31.

• Wednesday Oct 26 — observing on your own
• Thursday Oct 27 — observing on your own
• Friday Oct 28 – Sunday Oct 30 — SSP programme
• Sunday Oct 30 — observing on your own
• Monday Oct 31 — late departures

Don't forget to make your early-bird booking!

Autumn 2016 Southern Star Party

11th SSP - Autumn 2016

The Autumn Southern Star Party was held at Night Sky Caravan Park, Bonnievale, from 05 to 07 February 2016.

Photos, reports and other goodness after the jump.

In the meanwhile, to avoid disappointment, now is a good time to pre-book for the Spring SSP, to be held 2016 October 28–30.

Spring 2015 Southern Star Party

10th SSP - Spring 2015

The Spring Southern Star Party was held at Night Sky Caravan Park, Bonnievale, from 06 to 08 November 2015.

Enjoy some pics from the 10th SSP after the jump.

Summer 2015 Southern Star Party

2015 Summer SSP

The Summer Southern Star Party was held at Night Sky Caravan Park, Bonnievale, from 20 to 22 February 2015.

Over 60 people attended the 9th SSP – and it was a blast! Photos and feedback after the jump.

Spring 2014 Southern Star Party

2014 Spring SSP at Bonnievale

The Spring Southern Star Party was held at Night Sky Caravan Park, Bonnievale, from 21 to 23 November 2014. Photos and a write-up after the jump

Autumn 2014 Southern Star Party

2014 Autumn SSP at Bonnievale

The Autumn Southern Star Party was held at Night Sky Caravan Park, Bonnievale, from 25 to 28 April 2014.

Southern Star Party

2013 Spring SSP at Bonnievale

The 2013 Spring Southern Star Party (2013 Oct 04–06) was held at Night Sky Caravan Park, Bonnievale.

Two great days of astro-chat and socializing - follow the link for a summary and photo gallery.

Southern Star Party

New venue for the SSP

Bergwater Lodge outside Montagu has been selected as the venue for the next Southern Star Party, to be held on 2013 March 14–17.

Bergwater Lodge has a number of advantages over Night Sky when it comes to hosting a deep-sky event or any other event. The accommodation is good, the rooms are large with one double and two single beds, the bathrooms are more than adequate and all bed linen, towels and toilet paper are supplied.

ELF Astronomy does the catering for all meals and also supplies the all night coffee/rusks and soup/bread in the winter, so attendees only have to pack their clothes, toothbrushes and telescopes.

The only disadvantage of Bergwater compared to Night Sky, especially as far as the Southern Star party is concerned, is that the number of people that can be accommodated is limited. Night Sky is a caravan park and can easily handle 70 and possibly even 100 people but Bergwater can only take a maximum of 36 people if attendees are prepared to share rooms but, if people do not share, that figure could drop down as low as 12. The unfortunate implication of this limitation is that attendance for all future events at Bergwater will be capped.

Find out more about Bergwater Lodge in a post by Edward Foster on ELF Astronomy.

Southern Star Party

New AstroQuiz champion

The reigning SSP AstroQuiz champion is Evan Knox-Davies, who reclaimed his title as Celestial Wise-Man at the recent Spring Southern Star Party.

After lunch on Saturday, Ed Foster ran a new format pubquiz which left a victorious team consisting of Iain Finlay, Paul Kruger and Evan Knox-Davies. In the final round, Evan took first place. Paul commented that this was the second time he was runner-up. Third time's a charm, Paul!

Southern Star Party

Autumn 2012 SSP

"What a wonderful weekend we had!"

The Autumn star party took place on the week-end of April 20-22 at Night Sky Caravan Park. Despite less than ideal weather, it was a thoroughly enjoyable gathering of astronomy enthusiasts.

Read the report and enjoy the pics here.



The SSP is a gathering of stargazing enthusiasts in the Western Cape, South Africa, for a weekend of observing, sharing and socializing.



mobile: 083 787 0792 (Ed)

mobile: 084 512 9866 (Lynnette)

mobile: 074 100 7237 (Auke)

AstroQuiz Champion

The reigning SSP AstroQuiz Champion is James Smith.

Observing Challenges

Challenge yourself! See how many selected deep sky objects you can observe while at the SSP.

Karin de Bruin and Pierre de Villiers earned Deep-sky Challenge badges at the Autumn 2016 SSP.

Alan Cassells has earned an ASSA Deep-Sky Certificate for his observations made during several SSPs.

Spring 2011 Challenge certificates were awarded to Pierre de Villiers, Andre de Villiers & Wim Filmalter.

Honourable Mentions go to Jaco Wiese and Henry Oliver for their observations during the Spring 2012 SSP. Congratulations!