General Info

Nightfall Star Party & Imaging Conference 2017

When & Where
October 19 – 22

Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort
221 Palm Canyon Dr.
Borrego Springs, CA 92004
(760) 767-5341
(800) 242-0044

See it on Google Maps

Star Party Admission
Nightfall is a different kind of star party. To attend, simply contact the Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort (contact info is above), tell them you want to attend the Nightfall Star Party, and complete your reservation with them. We add a nominal charge for each night of your stay, which helps us offset our expenses. Other than that, there is no separate fee to attend the star party. Once the hotel confirms your reservation, you are confirmed to attend Nightfall (assuming your hotel reservation dates coincide with the Nightfall dates, of course).

If you want to attend just for the day to look around, no problem—show up and do just that! Stay into the night* to get spectacular views of the planets, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies—all for free! Please keep in mind that this is a hotel and RV resort. You are not permitted to stay over night unless you have made a reservation with the hotel and paid for a room or RV space.

The only fees associated with Nightfall are for lodging (hotel room or RV space) and the premium workshops.


Reservations & Lodging
Call the Palm Canyon Resort directly (at the number shown above) and let them know you’re reserving a room and/or RV spot for the Nightfall Star Party. Be sure to mention Nightfall to avoid being told everything is already reserved. Hotel rooms for Nightfall go quickly. We highly recommend that you reserve your accommodations prior to June or July, if not sooner.

Lodging options include: staying in a hotel room, camping in your RV, tent camping, staying at a nearby hotel or RV park, or attending just for the day. All lodging and/or RV camping fees are the responsibility of the attendee and are paid directly to the resort. If you decide to attend Nightfall but wish to lodge elsewhere, you may still setup your equipment at Nightfall. Its security is your responsibility as the RAS and the Palm Canyon Hotel take no responsibility for any damage or theft to your unattended equipment.

You may attend Nightfall for just 1 night* or up to 5 nights*. Or, as mentioned above, you can just stop by for the day and into the night for no fee.* Many people make Nightfall an annual vacation and stay from Wednesday through Sunday or even until Monday. Nightfall typically offers sunny, autumn days with mild temperatures—great for exploring the surrounding Anza-Borrego Desert State Park or just hanging out at the hotel’s pools and hot tubs.


Tent Camping
Tent camping is permitted in the RV spaces. You must reserve an RV space to setup a tent. The RV spaces are level, hard-packed dirt/sand. As with RV camping, a power outlet and water spigot are available to you. Be sure to bring an outlet adapter if you plan to use electricity at your campsite. It’s also a good idea to bring an outdoor extension cord and a surge-protected power strip.


Information Packets & Communication
Since your room or RV space reservation is your Nightfall “registration,” the Riverside Astronomical Society will not send you any emails, snail mail, or any other communications regarding your reservation at the Resort. Again, please call the Resort directly to make your reservation, and be sure your reserved dates coincide with the dates of the Nightfall Star Party.

This website will be updated with information regarding workshops and presentations once it becomes available, so be sure to check the Workshops page often, especially as the Star Party dates get closer.


While there is a saloon and a restaurant on the grounds of the Palm Canyon Hotel, it’s operational status varies from year to year. Please check the Latest News page for any updates about the upcoming Nightfall. Other dining arrangements include bringing your own food and/or visiting one of the many dining establishments in Borrego Springs.


Activities & What to Expect
Nightfall is held in autumn each year on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, typically around late October or early November. Thursday is usually arrival day for those who want an early start. On Friday there are more arrivals and we have a welcome gathering on the porch of the main building in the early evening. By Saturday, most people have arrived or are arriving. We host a beginner’s sky tour that evening along with some other presentations and announcements at the outdoor amphitheater. Other activities include a potluck BBQ dinner on Saturday evening, astronomy-related presentations throughout Friday and Saturday, and we might even have an ice cream social Saturday night.

The Riverside Astronomical Society hosts a premium workshop on astro-imaging during the day on Saturday. There are also several free workshops and presentations throughout Friday and Saturday. Check the workshops page frequently for updated information on presenters and topics.


Setting Up Your Astronomy Equipment
One thing the Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort does not lack is space! There is plenty of room for you to set up your telescope equipment in your RV space, if you reserved one, or in one of the common areas. Once setup, be diligent when it comes to securing your equipment, be it from weather or theft. Although we’ve never had a problem with theft at Nightfall, a small, easily-swiped piece of equipment left in plain view might be tempting to an unsavory passerby. It’s best to cover your scope during the day and to move smaller items when they’re not in use to your tent, RV, car or hotel room. Get to know your neighbors and ask if they’re willing to keep on eye on your things when you have to step away. A “neighborhood watch” policy is the best defense against theft.


Have Questions?
If your question about Nightfall wasn’t answered in the above text, please contact us via email. or leave a question on the Latest News page.

* There may be a two-night minimum for room reservations during Nightfall. A five-night stay is possible if you arrive on Wednesday and check out on Monday. Check with the resort about Wednesday arrivals and/or Monday departures for resort readiness in terms of red light conversion, etc. Visitors are welcome during the day and at night during the star party. Please note that the rooms, pools, and all other resort facilities and amenities are intended primarily for paying guests. You must reserve a hotel room or RV space to stay over night.