The Salt Lake Astronomical Society is extending an open invitation to anyone wanting to attend any of its 37th season of free star and sun parties with the 2008 season starting this weekend.

Participants can look through the three massive telescopes in the society's observatory and the many personal telescopes provided by society members. Participants may also bring and use their own observing equipment and receive assistance if desired.

Highlights for this year include stunning views of Saturn and Jupiter and incredibly detailed views of countless galaxies, nebulae and star clusters.

In addition to the nighttime offerings, special solar telescopes will give amazing views of our sun at daytime sun parties.

The star parties will alternate among the society's Stansbury Park Observatory Complex (SPOC), the parking lots of various Harmons grocery stores in the Salt Lake valley and, for the first time, This Is the Place Heritage Park.

SPOC is located at 15 Plaza in Stansbury Park and can be reached by taking I-80 west from Salt Lake City to the Stansbury / Tooele exit and then following the signs, first to Stansbury Park and then to the observatory.

This Is the Place Heritage Park is located at 2601 E. Sunnyside Ave.

This year's sun parties will be in Winchester Park, 1250 W. Winchester, Salt Lake City.

The evening events will run from dusk to 11 p.m. while the sun parties will run from 10 a.m. to noon. All events are held weather permitting.

Additional information can be found on the society's Web site, slas.us, or by calling the observatory at 435 -882 -1209.

The 2008 Star / Sun Party schedule for April and May is as follows, while other events scheduled throughout the year can be accessed on the society's Web site:

• Today, Star Party, This is the Place Heritage Park

• April 19 Sun Party, Winchester Park, 1250 W. Winchester

• April 26 Star Party, Stansbury Park Observatory Complex

• May 9 Star Party, Harmons, 3200 S. 1300 East

• May 9 Star Party, Harmons, 10507 S. Redwood

• May 10 Star Party, Stansbury Park Observatory Complex

• May 10 Star Party, This is the Place Heritage Park

• May 17 Sun Party, Winchester Park, 1250 W. Winchester

• May 24 Star Party, Stansbury Park Observatory Complex