Joining a local astronomy club and observing at their dark site is a good way to "keep going," but the local scene is not all there is. Throughout the United States and Europe, star partiesare incredibly popular. A "star party" happens when amateurs from a region, a country, or the entire world assemble at a remote and dark location for a few days to a couple of weeks, to do observing and share the fun. These events owe much of their popularity to the growth of light pollution. Beginning in the 1970s, the average amateur found it more and more necessary to travel to dark locations to do "real" deep sky observing. Those areas blessed with really dark sites began to attract amateurs from far afield. What began as semi-informal gatherings became more organized, offering convention-type activities as well as observing.
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