Frequently Asked Questions

Note: This section is under construction. If you have recommendations for additional questions, please email them to the webmaster.

Membership questions

How do I join the MAS?

How do I renew my MAS membership?

Star party questions

I’m not a member yet. Can I attend star parties?

Do I need a telescope to attend?

What should I expect?

I recently attended an MAS star party, and no one else showed up! Why?

Beginners questions

I have a new telescope, or am considering purchasing one. Can someone answer my questions?

Membership benefits questions

I understand the MAS has telescopes I can borrow. How do I get one?

How do I get discounts for subscriptions and purchases?


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.

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How do I renew my MAS membership?

Answer:  Your membership card shows the date your current membership term expires.  Approximately two months prior to your current expiration date the Membership Coordinator will email you a reminder including a Word document of the renewal form.  If you have not yet renewed, we will send you during the month leading up to your expiration date a personalized Membership Renewal Form.  

You may either print and complete the Membership Renewal Form emailed to you or complete the paper form mailed to you, and return it to the MAS PO Box with your check.  Or you may visit the MAS web site Join or Renew Your Membership Now page and renew your membership online, paying via PayPal.  

At any time, if you wish to renew your membership but do not have a personalized renewal form available to you, you may also either renew online at the link above or put your name and renewal information on a Membership Application Form and mail it to us at the MAS PO Box.  

The publishers of Sky & Telescope magazine and of Astronomy magazine used to require subscriptions at astronomy club discount prices to be handled through the club or society when you joined or renewed.  With recent publishers’ changes in procedures this is no longer necessary. Instead, members may now subscribe (or renew existing subscriptions) at astronomy club discount rates by directly contacting the publisher’s customer service department for each magazine.  Directions for doing so are found here.

If you don’t receive a Membership Renewal Notice at least two weeks before your membership expires, please contact the MAS Membership Coordinator, Steve Emert, at membership-coordinator@mnastro.org for instructions.

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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.

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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.

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What should I expect at an MAS star party?

Answer: A lot of fun! For a complete description of star parties, please visit our ‘Star Parties‘ pages at http://www.mnastro.org/events/star-parties/.

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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.

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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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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I understand the MAS has telescopes I can borrow. How do I get one?

Answer: Loaner equipment reservations are managed by the Vice President of the Society. Information regarding equipment is available HERE.

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How do I get discounts for subscriptions and purchases?

Answer:  Discounted Sky & Telescope magazine and Astronomy magazine subscriptions are available to any current member by directly contacting the magazine’s customer service department.  Detailed instructions for subscribing (or renewing existing subscriptions) at astronomy club discount rates are found here.  

Sky Publishing Corporation (Sky & Telescope books, charts and merchandise) discounts are available simply by listing “Minnesota Astronomical Society” and the astronomy club discount code of 4CLB13 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 membership-coordinator@mnastro.org

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