General Information

Location and Arrival

Since 1995 the Star Party is held on the Gurnigel Pass in the Bernese Alps. The Gurnigel lies south of Bern and west of Thun.

Roadmap

We recommend you travel by car and take the highway A6 from Bern towards Thun/Interlaken, exit Thun-Nord, through Seftigen, Riggisberg and Rüti b. Riggisberg to the restaurant "Berghaus Gurnigel". There is a mail bus from Bern to Gurnige but only twice a day. We do not give a shuttle service to those who want to come with the public transportation system.

Important: Please plan your travel that you arrive before dusk. If this is not possible then please take care of observing amateur astronomers (park light, drive slowly and find a pilot who guides you through the telescopes). This is in interest of all people. We don't want to play policemen because we think everybody is old enough to behave correctly.

Observing Site

Observing Site

The observing site which we use to set up our telescopes is a giant concreted shooting place for tanks (see picture). There is plenty of space for everybody. This site lies in a distance of approximately 500 meters away from the restaurant and therefore well protected from artificial lights. There is no electricity (despite some cow wires) on this place but you can charge your batteries in the restaurant.

View Conditions

Light Pollution Map of Switzerland

The Gurnigel is one of the favourite observing sites for the stargazes in the environment of Berne. In normal nights the limiting visual magnitude is approximately 6.5 mag - in extremly seldom and very clear nights it can be up to 7.0 mag! Because Gurnigel is a pass and exposed sometimes it can occur that cloud patches are passing by and one stands in thick fog for a short period of time. In hazy nights one can see the light dome of Thun in the east. Berne and Fribourg are almost invisible. In the south the sky is very dark because there are just small dwellings in the Valais valley (see light pollution map. Unfortunaltey a small mountain chain (see picture above) cuts the southern sky a bit but the Teapot is still well visible. One cannot have everything.

Accomodation

We recommend the hotel Berghaus Gurnigel. There are single rooms, double rooms and several dormitories (don't forget ear plux!). Please book in advance with the note "Star Party Guest". The personel will appreciate it. During day or when the weather is bad we prefer staying in a hall in the hotel. If you want to camp be aware that there are almost no plane meadows in the close environment to set up tents. Sanitary facilities can be found in the hotel. At the observing site there is just a fountain with cold water for the cows.

Berghaus Gurnigel

Schlafsaal Waschgelegenheit Massenlager
Dormitory bedsWashing facilityDormitory rooms

Reservation

A reservation is required when you want to have bed and breakfast in the hotel "Berghaus Gurnigel" so that the hotel personel is prepaired for the flood of people. There is plenty of space! Please call/write/fax directly to the hotel and indicate that you are a Star Party guest. The address is below:

Berghaus Gurnigel (1594 m.ü.M.)
Ueli + Anita Thierstein-Moser
CH-3099 Rüti/Gurnigel
SWITZERLAND
Tel.: +41-31-809 04 30
Fax.: +41-31-809 14 97
Email: berghausgurnigel (at) bluewin.ch
Website: http://www.gurnigel-berghaus.ch/

Many thanks to the personel of Berghaus Gurnigel!

If you just want to observe and take your roof and food with you there is no reservation required. There are no entry fees for the Star Party itself.

Organization

This event is organized as a good will by Swiss amateur astronomers. Peter Stüssi founded it in 1989 and organized it in the first years. At the Star Party there is no strictly organized program. It is a happening and meeting of amateur astronomers for observing the stars, talking, comparing telescopes and sharing experiences. For further information please contact us:

Radek Chromik
Föhrenweg 71
CH-3095 Spiegel
SWITZERLAND
Tel.: +41-31-971 85 03
Email: radek.chromik (at) starparty.ch
(Snail mail: Please enclose a stamped and self-addressed envelope.
Phone calls: Sorry, we won't call you back)