On behalf of the Minnesota Astronomical Society, welcome to
our web site! Please
accept our invitation and join us in our explorations of the
cosmos, either as a visitor to one of our many events or as a
member of the Society.
Over the past several years, MAS members have worked very hard to improve,
expand and care for the facilities at all of our sites. The number of public viewing
opportunities have also expanded and been enhanced with new equipment and capabilities
being utilized by our ever increasing membership and guests.
B-SIG meeting - March 15th
The March meeting of the Beginners Special Interest Group (B-SIG) will be held on Saturday, March 15, 10:30 to noon at the Champlin Library
, 12154 Ensign Ave N, Champlin, MN 55316.
The topic this month is ''All About Telescopes.'' Whether you are a newbie or not, if you are contemplating buying a telescope, may be buying one in the near future or just want to know more about the various kinds of telescopes and mounts then feel free to attend. I will also talk about telescope collimation, alignment devices and techniques. I hope to have a couple different types of telescopes and mounts on display.
Get ready for the observing season with this informative presentation.
Dave Falkner and Ric Heins
2014 Star Party Schedules
The schedule of Star Parties for the year have been posted on the website. Links to the list of events can be found in the left hand column ''MAS Events & Star Party Schedules''.
It's never to early to start planning for upcoming events. Public events at the Eagle Lake Observatory begin on March 8th, less than 6 weeks away. On April 14-15 we are hosting a public event featuring the total lunar eclipse - which should be one of the best we've had in a while. May 10 brings us to Astronomy Day and the 7th annual Camping with the Stars begins on August 1st. Baylor Park is taking camping reservations
now for these and other events.
The Cherry Grove Observatory and LLCC will begin their viewing season March 28th with the Messier Marathon.
This year marks the 15th annual marathon at CGO. The 12th annual Virgo Venture
is scheduled for May 30th. The new observatory is operational and with some ''horizon modifications'', the site lines have improved. Again, it is never to early to prepare for these upcoming events… making sure your equipment is in order, charts are in hand, batteries replaced, you have plenty of warm cloths, coffee and ''dew control''.
Be sure to take advantage of these and many other viewing opportunities offered by the MAS. Here's hoping for GREAT skies in 2014!!!
Planet Update (rev. February 11, 2014)
(magnitude –0.9) Mercury will be returning to the morning sky on February 15. Mercury reaches greatest elongation in mid March, but will remain below 10 degrees in altitude at sunrise. When Mercury returns to the evening sky, in late April, it will quickly gain altitude and be very well placed for spring viewing.
(magnitude –4.6) is in the Southeast morning sky, currently 20 degrees above the horizon at sunrise and showing a thin crescent phase of 42 arc seconds in diameter. Venus passed inferior conjunction on January 10th and is quickly gaining altitude in the morning sky. Venus reaches greatest elongation in mid March. Venus will be occulted by the moon on February 25th, unfortunately it won't be visible from here.
, (magnitude 0.0) is visible in the morning sky, currently rising before 11:00 pm and 25 degrees above the horizon to the southwest at sunrise. Mars is moving east through the constellation Virgo. Currently 9.8 arc seconds in diameter, Mars is beginning to quickly grow in apparent diameter and brightness. Mars reaches opposition in early April, reaching 15 arc-seconds in diameter at a magnitude of -1.5.
, (magnitude –2.5) is past opposition, rising before sunset and visible all night. Jupiter's apparent disk size of 44 arc-seconds makes this the best time to see the Jovian giant.
, rises about 1:00 am and is visible in the morning sky, about 27 degrees in altitude in the south-southwest at sunrise. Saturn is gaining altitude in the morning sky, rising before midnight in early March and by 10:00 pm on April 1st. Saturn reachs opposition in early May, 2014
at 5.9 magnitude, is about 35 degrees above the horizon at sunset in the southwest. Uranus sets about 9:30 pm and is still in a good viewing position in the early evening. Look for Uranus in the constellation Pisces, with an apparent disk size at 3.4 arc-seconds.
at magnitude 7.9, is less than 10 degrees above the horizon at sunset in the south-southwest and sets just after 6:30 pm. Neptune is in the constellation of Aquarius, about 35 degrees to the west of Uranus. Neptune moves into the morning sky on February 23.
Star Party Update
Next Eagle Lake Observatory Public Nights
Upcoming Star Parties at Cherry Grove (CGO) & LLCC
The ''All-Weather'' Star Parties at the Eagle Lake Observatory:
March 8th, 2014
March 22nd, 2014
Public Star Parties at the Eagle Lake Observatory usually begin at 7 pm and last until 10 pm or possibly later. Public Observing Nights are held whether it is clear or cloudy, with the possible exception for hazardous weather conditions** (see below). There is no fee for attending and members, guests and visitors are all invited. Please note that Carver County parks may charge a nominal parking fee. For additional information or directions, click the link below or visit the Eagle Lake Observatory web page.
Friday, March 28th Messier Marathon at CGO
More details to follow.
If you are planning to spend time observing at any of our observing sites - Casby, CGO, or ELO - consider placing a note on the observing forum (HERE) to let others know of your intentions. Who knows, you may get visitors!
For Additional information on our observing sites, visit the MAS Facilities page HERE or select a link below.
Directions to Eagle Lake Observatory and the Onan Observatory
Directions to J. J. Casby Observatory
Directions to Cherry Grove
Directions to Metcalf
Directions to LLCC
Please note, all Eagle Lake Observatory public star parties are ‘’all weather’’ events (unless otherwise noted). Even if it is cloudy, someone will be there to show a video, give a presentation, give a tour of the observatory or answer any astronomy questions you may have. However, there may be a need to cancel due to **hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorm, tornadoes and/or snow storms. If any of these conditions are threatening, please check the MAS website homepage and/or the MAS info line at 952-467-2426, after 4:00 pm the day of the event for cancellation notices.
Unlike Eagle Lake Observatory Public Observing Night events, attendance at MAS Star Parties at Cherry Grove and LLCC is entirely optional. As a result there could be dozens of people also with you at the star party, or there is a remote chance you could find yourself alone! MAS Star Parties at Cherry Grove are generally Friday night events, with Saturday being the backup night. LLCC star parties are both Friday and Saturday night. All MAS Star Parties are ''clear weather'' events and would be cancelled if cloudy.
Star parties at Cherry Grove and LLCC are no longer officially called ''ON'' or ''OFF'' based on the weather. The use of Eagle Lake, Belwin and Metcalf are left up to the observer's discretion.
Click on Wunderground box below for Minneapolis weather forecast.
Clear Sky Charts for MAS Observing Sites. Click banner for added detail.