Saturday May 11, 2019
Eagle Lake Observatory at Baylor Regional Park

10775 County Rd 33, Norwood Young America, MN


 

The Minnesota Astronomical Society would like to invite you to attend the Astronomical League’s Astronomy Day activities at the Eagle Lake Observatory in Baylor Regional Park. Speakers are scheduled throughout the day and will give talks on astronomy and what there is to see. Door prize drawing will be held Saturday evening and include MAS merchandise, astronomy books and telescopes. Weather permitting, the evening will conclude with tours of the night sky and of course stargazing.

Schedule of Events – Subject to Change

Saturday May 11, 2019

The observatory will open at 1:00 pm for some solar viewing as well as other bright daytime objects. Venus and Mercury will be visible in the early afternoon. Venus, The Moon, Dwarf Planet Ceres, and Jupiter after sunset.  

In the evening we’ll have some of the winter and early spring objects coming into view including the Orion Nebula, Crab nebula, the Sombrero Galaxy, the Whirlpool Galaxy, the Beehive Cluster, the Black Eye Galaxy and Hercules cluster among many others.

Scheduled Speakers

1:30

Speaker: Brad Nasset

Topic: Understanding the Solar System (On the Observing Plaza)
This is a demo out on the Observing Plaza using actual models of the Sun, Earth, and other planets to create a visual, interactive Solar System. You will be able to see how the orbits of the planets determine when and where we will be able to see the planets – Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter. This can be a lead-in to the presentation “ Where Do I Look?” where we will go beyond the Solar System and find the constellations.

In the classroom:
Where do I look? Finding the Constellations
Ever wonder where the constellations are, or notice that the night sky always seems to look different each time you look at it? Even the Big Dipper seems to be in a different place from when you last saw it. How do I find constellations anyway? There is a rhythm to all of this, and once you get the hang of it, it becomes pretty easy. With this knowledge, the star charts and apps will make a lot more sense, and you will be able to use them to better enjoy your night-sky adventures.

3:00

Speaker: Colin Kilbane

Topic: It is rocket science!  What can you make with some index cards, an easter egg, a paper towel tube. a bit of string and some foam?  Learn how you can build your own model rocket from these unlikely everyday materials.  You will also learn the basics of model rocketry safety and even launch a rocket if weather permits.

4:00

Speaker: Michael Kauper

Topic: Make and assemble your own star wheel to take home, plus Starwheel lesson. Learn to find constellations and stars in the sky, any time of night, on any clear night, all year round. If there is time, Michael will also present one or two constellation stories.

5:00

Dinner Break

6:30

Speaker: Steve Emert

Topic: Conspiracies – For some reason social media has spawned an increase in conspiracy theories – like “We didn’t go to the Moon in 1969” to “The Moon and the planets aren’t real – they are projections” to “The Earth isn’t a sphere, it is flat” and more.  We’ll talk humorously about some of these and even try to give you a little ammunition you can use to respond when you meet a “Flat Earther” or “Moon Conspiratist”.

7:30

Speaker: Dave Falkner, MAS Member and NASA Solar System Ambassador

Topic: The Mars Curse: The nations of Earth have sent more spacecraft to Mars than to any other object in our solar system.  Yet, over half of the 54 missions to the Red Planet have ended in either total or partial failure. Dave discusses why Mars is such an alluring target, the attempts at sending spacecraft to Mars, which nations have been hardest hit by the Mars curse, and what we’ve learned about the difficulties in sending humans to this forbidding world.

8:30

Door Prize Drawing

9:30

 Tour of the Sky on the Plaza: We will conduct a laser pointer tour of the constellations from the plaza in front of the Onan Observatory.  (If it is cloudy there will be a presentation in the classroom)

Evening Activities

The evening will continue with viewing through our array of telescopes.


Eagle Lake Observatory

Consisting of the Onan Observatory, the Sylvia A. Casby Observatory and the HotSpot Classroom, the MAS’ Eagle Lake Observatory is the regions premier all-volunteer public observing facility.

  • Two observatories with more than a dozen of the finest amateur telescopes available to view through.
  • Real-time video viewing capabilities for lunar, planetary and deep-sky viewing.
  • Solar filters allow safe viewing of the Sun’s surface, sunspots and solar prominences.
  • Mounted 15×80 binoculars for the ultimate “wide-field” stargazing experience.
  • A heated classroom to take the chill out of the cool spring nights.
  • Electrical outlets on the outside of the buildings for those who bring their own scopes.
  • Paved handicap parking adjacent to the wheelchair accessible observatory.

Additional information about our Eagle Lake Observatory, including the full public star party schedule, can be found HERE

Location

Baylor Regional Park is roughly 25 miles southwest of the Eden Prairie, MN and just north of Norwood-Young America. It is easily reached either by Minnesota Highway 5 or U.S. Highway 212. Click HERE for interactive map.

Event Cost

There is no charge to attend a public star party, however, Baylor Park will charge $6 for daily parking. If you have a Carver County Park sticker, this fee is of course waived. To help us maintain the observatory, purchase door prizes and to pay the bills, donations to the MAS are also welcome.


Astronomy Day

The theme of Astronomy Day is “Bringing Astronomy to the People”. This worldwide event invites astronomical societies, planetariums, museums, and observatories to sponsor public viewing sessions, presentations, workshops, and other activities to increase public awareness about astronomy and our wonderful universe.
Astronomy Day was born in California in 1973. Doug Berger, then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California, decided that rather than try to entice people to travel long distances to visit observatory open houses, they would set up telescopes closer to where the people were – busy locations – urban locations like street corners, shopping malls, parks, etc.

His strategy paid off. Not only did Astronomy Day go over with a bang, not only did the public find out about the astronomy club, they found out about future observatory open houses. Since the public got a chance to look through a portable telescope, they were hooked. They then wanted to see what went on at the bigger telescopes, so they turned out in droves at the next observatory open house.