Frequently Asked Questions
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Star party questions
Membership benefits questions
How do I join the MAS?
Answer: Information on joining the MAS, including membership levels and benefits is located at http://www.mnastro.org/members/join/. You can also join at any monthly meeting of the MAS.
How do I renew my MAS membership?
Answer: If you purchased a Sky and Telescope subscription with your membership, Sky Publishing will send you a renewal notice in the mail 6 – 8 weeks before your MAS membership expires. The easiest way to renew is to fill do it online at http://www.mnastro.org/members/join/. You can also print out the membership form and send it to the MAS Outreach Coordinator. Do NOT send your MAS or Sky and Telescope renewal to Sky Publishing, send it to the Membership Coordinator listed above who will take care of renewing both for you.
If you don’t receive a renewal notice at least one month before your membership expires, contact the MAS Outreach Coordinator for instructions.
I’m not a member yet. Can I attend star parties?
Answer: Absolutely. In fact, attending a star party one of the ways many members first learn about the MAS. Visit the ‘star party‘ section of the web for the current schedule of events and information regarding what to expect.
Do I need a telescope to attend a star party?
Answer: Not at all. In fact, attending star parties is a great way to ‘window shop’ before you make a substantial investment. Star party participants are usually quite willing to share both the good and bad aspects of their telescopes and to let you look through their scopes.
What should I expect at an MAS star party?
I recently attended an MAS star party, and no one else showed up! Why?
Answer: It is unusual that no MAS members attend a star party. But it sometimes does happen, even when the star party is announced as being ‘on’. If you require the company of others, either for security, camaraderie or to get your questions answered, you might want to consider attending a public event at our Eagle Lake Observatory. These are always staffed, even when weather conditions prevent observing with the telescopes.
I have a new telescope, or am considering purchasing one. Can someone answer my questions?
Answer: This is far and away the most frequent request we receive. Finding a specific individual to answer your questions can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately, there are four options you might consider:
Attend an MAS star party: As noted above, this is a great opportunity to see many types of telescopes in action and speak directly with their owners.
Visit a public event at the Eagle Lake Observatory: There are always MAS members available at these events to answer your questions about purchasing a telescope.
Join the MAS mailing list and post an inquiry: This is probably the best way to find someone willing to provide one-on-one assistance with the operation of your telescope.
Join the Beginner’s Special Interest Group of the MAS: If you are a member of the MAS, this is a fantastic way to learn the ins and outs of your newly purchased equipment or to learn about your options. The Beginner’s SIG regularly conducts observing sessions with the objective of helping each other out with equipment and observing questions.
I understand the MAS has telescopes I can borrow. How do I get one?
How do I get discounts for subscriptions and purchases?
Answer: Discounted Sky and Telescope magazine and Astronomy magazine subscriptions are available through the MAS.
Initial Sky and Telescope subscriptions at the discounted rate must be purchased through the club. You may purchase them when you submit your new or renewal membership application, or for existing members you can submit the subscription request separate from your membership renewal. Subsequent renewals at the member discount may be placed directly with Sky Publishing.
Astronomy Magazine subscriptions at the member discount rate must be processed through the MAS. As with S&T, you may purchase your subscription with your new or renewal membership application, or separately for existing members.
Subscriptions may be purchased either online through our PayPal process at the Join or Renew your Membership page at www.mnastro.org/members/join/ or by mailing your subscription request with check to the MAS PO Box accompanied by a membership form or other note with your full address and contact information for processing the subscription.
Sky Publishing Corporation merchandise discounts are available simply by listing “Minnesota Astronomical Society” in the appropriate place on the paper or electronic order form directly to Sky Publishing.
For information regarding discounts through the Astronomical League’s book service, please visit their web site at www.astroleague.org.
If you have any questions regarding magazine subscriptions, please contact Steve Emert, the MAS Membership Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org