There’s nothing quite as romantic as gazing up at the night sky with your partner. Take it one step further by learning about what exactly you’re looking at during the FREE Central Florida Star Party at the Seminole State Planetarium this Saturday, September 23, 2017, from 6-10pm.

The Emil Buehler Planetarium at Seminole State College is already a local go-to for all things astronomy, thanks to the lineup of telescope observations, space dome video presentations, community events, and educational presentations.

Now, they’re opening their doors for a one-night-only community event that’s completely free to the public and celebrates the best of the night sky.

The Central Florida Star Party will combine the best of all the planetarium’s offerings: telescope observations, space dome presentations, and the flagship “Central Florida Nights” presentation, for this must-go stellar event.

The idea for the event came as the planetarium brainstormed what they could do for the community post-Hurricane Irma. The star party was the answer: a night of free fun and sharing of resources to bring Central Floridians together.

Image credit: Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College

Did we mention there will be on-site food trucks and vendors, too? Nosh on food truck fare from Treehouse Truck or munch on something sweet from Three Girls Bakery throughout the evening. There’s even a special event-themed playlist, which you can listen to now on Spotify.

For the space-obsessed, it doesn’t get much better than this for a nerdy date night under the stars.

The event schedule is as follows:

  • 6-10pm: Telescope observations in the Star Party area
  • 6:20, 6:40, 7:00, 7:20, and 7:40pm: “Your Universe in 15 Minutes” in the planetarium dome
  • 8:10pm: “Per Latrina Ad Astra: To the Stars Through the Toilet” in the planetarium dome
  • 8:40pm: “To The Planets Through the ISS” in the Star Party area
  • 9:30pm: “Central Florida Nights” (weather permitting) in the Star Party area


Get an up-close view of objects in the night sky by peering into the planetarium’s telescopes alongside amateur astronomers from the Central Florida Astronomical Society. Parking lot lights will be turned off from 7:30-10pm for optimal viewing.

Weather permitting, here’s a glimpse at what you’ll be able to see:

  • Sun: 6-7pm
  • Moon: 6-9:15pm
  • Sunset: 7:20pm
  • Jupiter: 7:30-8pm
  • International Space Station: 7:58-8:03pm
  • Saturn: 8-10pm

You’ll also be able to observe several deep-sky objects including M13, the Great Hercules Cluster; M22, the Great Sagittarius Cluster; and M31, the Andromeda Galaxy.

Image credit: Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College


The evening will feature two planetary presentations in the planetarium dome, including multiple presentations of “Your Universe in 15 Minutes” and special speaker presentations.

Viewable at 6:20, 6:40, 7:00, 7:20, and 7:40pm, “Your Universe in 15 Minutes” will take you on a galactic adventure through the universe. Starting with planet Earth and expanding outward to the edges of our known universe, this presentation is the perfect abbreviated tour of the Universe.

Brendan Bryne, space reporter for 90.7 WMFE and host of the Are We There Yet? Podcast, will present “Per Latrina Ad Astra: To the Stars Through the Toilet” at 8:10pm. The presentation will answer all your burning questions about how human waste is processed in space, and describe how this technological advance is imperative to space exploration.

The evening's second presentation will be from Dr. Dan Batcheldor, head of Physics and Space Science at the Florida Institute of Technology. His presentation, “To the Planets Through the ISS” will cover the history of planet observations, and what the future holds for observations as new technology emerges. This presentation will be outside in the Star Party area at 8:40pm.

Image credit: Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College


Enjoy a special edition of “Central Florida Nights” (weather permitting) outdoors at 9:30pm.

This flagship presentation will teach guests to locate seven or eight prominent constellations in the night sky while also exploring the locations of visible planets and celestial happenings.


What: The Central Florida Star Party
Where: Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College (100 Weldon Blvd, Sanford)
When: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 6-10pm
Cost: FREE

Telescope viewings won’t be offered in the event of cloudy or inclement weather, but there will still be loads of informative presentations offered inside the planetarium.

For details and more information, visit the Facebook event page or

Parking for the Star Party is marked in BLUE.
The Star Party area (outside) is marked in GREEN.
The planetarium is marked in WHITE.
Closed areas of campus are marked in GRAY.

Central Florida Star Party event map Seminole State Planetarium

All images courtesy of the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College