Nova East Star Party

August 21–23, 2020

Atlantic Canada's Longest-Running Star Party

Organized by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Halifax Centre and the Minas Astronomy Group


Posted: May 2, 2020:

Because of the uncertainty of the progress of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia and the Province’s phased-in recovery plan, and because the schedule and rules of opening Provincial Parks are unknown, the 2020 Nova East Star Party is cancelled as a camping event held at Smileys Provincial Park. 
However, the Nova East Planning Committee is in the process of planning virtual sessions over the summer that will be of interest to members. We will keep you posted. We won’t be in the Park, but Nova East will still be Smiley!

Location: Smileys Provincial Park, Hants County, Nova Scotia

Please note that some of the menus displayed at the top of the page have nested sub-menus (+). On smaller screens (e.g. phones or tablets) the menus are hidden underneath the  icon at the top left of the page.

Group Photos

UPDATE: We had a great weekend!

Watch a time-lapse of the telescope field.

2019 Photo Contest Winners viewable in the Photo Contest section:  

Deep-Sky: Jeff Donaldson (M27 Narrowband)
Solar System: David Hoskin (Mare Nubium’s Straight Wall)
Wide-Field: Jerry Black (I feel like a spot of tea. Where’s the Teapot?)
People’s Choice: Barry Burgess (Balancing Rock)

See you all again in 2020     Aug. 21st - 23rd.

Astrophotos taken at Nova East 2019

Nova East M20 

What follows is the previous content of the home page of Nova East 2019.

NOTE: We are updating these pages for 2020 as the info is available. 

Nova East was originally established as the camping and observing weekend for the Halifax Centre and has grown to include participants from many other astronomy clubs in the Atlantic region, and a number of attendees from the northeastern United States. All participants come to enjoy dark skies. A limiting magnitude of +6 is the norm. Nova East occurs on a weekend near the new Moon phase towards the end of summer.

Nova East registrants have access to all events, including all talks, workshops and presentations, three nights of observing (weather permitting!), the potluck BBQ, the astronomers' breakfasts and the door prizes draw. When attending the talks, bring a folding chair for comfort. Nova East Registrants have onsite parking (if camping) or adjacent site parking (if not camping). Due to our fixed costs, refunds on shirts and registration will not be available.


Mail-In Registration - August 9, 2020

Email Registration - midnight, August 20, 2020

Shirt Order - July 3, 2020

Submissions to Astrophotography Contest - July 1, 2020 - August 1, 2020

The 2019 CONTEST ENTRIES are viewable in the Photo Contest section

Features of the 2020 Nova East

Public Talk:

Andrew Fazekas will present the public talk on Saturday evening - Backyard Astronomy in the 21st Century.


Many qualified speakers from near and far will address topics suitable for both the novice and the more experienced amateur astronomers.

Saturday Evening BBQ:

All welcome! You will not go away hungry from this delicious BBQ prepared by our Nova East Chef Andy Hasler with contributions from all participating Nova East registrants. Be sure to bring your plates and utensils to enjoy this veritable feast!


What better way to start the morning after a night of observing than with the astro-breakfast. It surely will brighten your morning.

Door Prizes:

One door prize ticket per registration will be issued during the registration process. There will be some "right some good" prizes to be won again this year! Note: Must be present to win.

Astrophotography Contest:

Nova East will host the annual award ceremony for the RASC Halifax Centre astrophotography contest. This year will again include the People's Choice Award. Don't be shy—submit your favourite astrophotograph.

The 2020 CONTEST ENTRIES are viewable in the Photo Contest section

Public Observing:

Friday and Saturday evenings from 9:15 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

Quiet Hours:

Registrants will be asked to respect a quiet time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m.


Green Laser Pointers and Maglites:

Green Lasers can be used only by designated Nova East speakers who have completed the RASC training. Other registrants are not to use GLPs at any time.

Maglites are not to be used after 11:00 PM on Friday and Saturday nights, and not at all on Sunday night.

Nova East 2019 Promo Video

Sunrise. Sunset. Moon.

To assist you in planning your astronomical observations, we have provided the times of sunrise and sunset as a guide.

Friday Evening, Aug. 21, 2020

Sunset: 8:11 p.m.
End of Civil Twilight: 8:43 p.m.
End of Nautical Twilight: 9:21 PM
End of Astronomical Twilight: 10:02 p.m.
Moonset: 9:58 p.m. (Waxing Crescent, ~11.1%)

Saturday Morning, Aug. 22, 2020

Start of Astronomical Twilight: 4:36 a.m.
Start of Nautical Twilight: 5:18 a.m.
Start of Civil Twilight: 5:55 a.m.
Sunrise: 6:25 a.m.
Moonrise: 10:32 a.m.


Saturday Evening, Aug. 22, 2020

Sunset: 8:10 p.m.
End of Civil Twilight: 8:41 p.m.
End of Nautical Twilight: 9:19 p.m.
End of Astronomical Twilight: 10:00 p.m.
Moonset: 10:24 p.m. (Waxing Crescent, ~19.6%)

Sunday Morning, Aug. 23, 2020

Start of Astronomical Twilight: 4:38 a.m.
Start of Nautical Twilight: 5:19 a.m.
Start of Civil Twilight: 5:57 a.m.
Sunrise: 6:26 a.m.
Moonrise: 11:50 a.m.


Sunday Evening, Aug. 23, 2020

Sunset: 8:08 p.m.
End of Civil Twilight: 8:39 p.m.
End of Nautical Twilight: 9:17 p.m.
End of Astronomical Twilight: 9:57 p.m.
Moonset: 10:51 PM (Waxing Crescent, ~ 29.7%)

Monday Morning, Aug. 24, 2020

Start of Astronomical Twilight: 4:39 a.m.
Start of Nautical Twilight: 5:21 a.m.
Start of Civil Twilight: 5:58 AM
Sunrise: 6:27 a.m.
Moonrise: 10:25 a.m.

Photography at Nova East

Throughout the weekend during Nova East, pictures and video will be taken as means of recording events. By registering for Nova East, you have agreed that RASC Halifax Centre may use your voice, likeness and/or photograph for inclusion in the Nova East Star Party website and for use in communications to advertise the Star Party.

Want to extend your stay in Nova Scotia?

Why not make Nova East part of your vacation time in Nova Scotia? If you enjoy camping, you can extend your stay at Smileys Provincial Park or visit campgrounds in other areas of the province.


Wonder what's exciting to do, sights to see, restaurants to enjoy our East Coast flavours, and places to stay in our Atlantic playground? Nova Scotia Tourism can help provide the answers.