"Star parties" to observe the night sky on Friday will kick off the second annual Bay Area Science Festival at observatories, schools and colleges from Santa Cruz to Santa Rosa.

Telescopes and astronomers will be available at several locations around the greater Bay Area, to guide viewing of the moon's craters, bright stars, galaxies and the rising of Jupiter. For information on star parties and the more than 70 events of the science festival, go to http://www.bayareascience.org/festival/bay-area-star-party.

Among star parties that are free and open to the public are:

* San Jose State University Physics and Astronomy Club, Tower Lawn, 1 Washington Square, San Jose, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Family-friendly activities and hands-on demonstrations. For information go to www.physics.sjsu.edu.

* Evergreen Valley College Montgomery Hill Observatory, 3095 Yerba Buena Road, San Jose, 7:30 p.m.: For reservations, contact celso.batalha@evc.edu.

* San Jose Astronomical Association, Houge Park on Twilight Drive, San Jose, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Star party. For information go to http://www.sjaa.net/.


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* Foothill College Observatory, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hill, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.: Peninsula Astronomical Society will hold a star party at the observatory. Go to http://www.pastro.org/dnn/Home.aspx.

* UC Santa Cruz, on the field behind the Music Center, 7:30 p.m.: Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics will host a star party. Go to http://www.astro.ucsc.edu/news-events/astro_club1.

* Cal State East Bay, in Hayward, Science East Lawn Picnic Area, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For information, contact gary.weston@csueastbay.edu.

* Chabot College Astronomy Department, 25555 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward: 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. free public planetarium show (reservations required); 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. free public viewing. Go to http://www.chabotcollege.edu/faculty/shildreth/basf2012.htm.

Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775. Follow her at Twitter.com/NoguchiOnK12.