Volunteer Opportunities


Updated September 13, 2014

The Observatory could not exist without the generous contributions of MAS member’s time and talents.  A variety of volunteer activities for all levels of skill and available time exist.  Use the contact information provided for more information or to volunteer.  If there is something you’d like to do that isn’t listed, please send an e-mail to OnanInfo@MnAstro.org, or post your request on the ELO Discussion Forums.


Public Event Staffing

Regularly scheduled public nights occur about every other Saturday night from March to November.  Special events are scheduled throughout the year as well. The full ELO Public Star Party Schedule can be found HERE.
With the additional equipment and buildings, there is a greater need to have an adequate staff to cover a public event. A nice number to have to properly staff a public night would be 8-10 key holders. Even if you’re a new keyholder, you can help control the crowd and take a turn at running one of the telescope platforms.
With the addition of the HotSpot Classroom, we can get back to giving a evening presentation during the public events. If you have a presentation to give, let us know and we’ll put it on the next public star party schedule.


Work Parties

There are several construction and maintenance items that should be taken care of before this winter.
Immediate needs include:


  • caulking along stub walls where gaps have formed
  • fix / replace exterior outlet covers
  • Perform scheduled maintenance on bi-fold door
  • seal interior walls of Onan


    Sylvia A. Casby

  • build up around doors, trim door interiors
  • collimate Mewlon
  • purchase new scope cover
  • seal interior walls & ceiling, dome ring – at least 2 coats (urethane)
  • trim exterior of doors
  • retaining block / caps


    HotSpot Classroom

  • make light valance for red / white rope lighting
  • trim doors (interior), vaulted edges, projector screen
  • seal interior walls & ceiling – at least 2 coats (urethane)
  • trim AC unit
  • install door thresholds & weatherstripping
  • trim exterior of doors
  • Exterior caulking of screw heads



  • Install rail around plaza & SA Casby
  • remove extra block, retaining wall materials behind baby bear
  • seal sidewalks


A complete list of work party items to be done can be found on the ELO Discussion Forums.


Observatory Cleaning

I like to do the major cleaning projects the week before Astronomy Day and Fall Astronomy Day. However, cleaning should also be done prior to a public event or WHENEVER you see that it needs to be done.  Tasks include verifying trash cans are empty, dusting the telescope platforms, cleaning spider webs and dead bugs of walls, fiberglass panels and light fixtures, and sweeping the floors.


Observatory Maintenance

Tasks include replacing burned out lights, performing safety checks on bi-fold door, restocking paper forms, brochures and hand-outs, recycling out of date materials, restocking batteries, greasing mechanical items, and performing general repair and maintenance as needed. If you notice ANYTHING that needs attention and you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, post your concerns on the ELO Discussion Forums.



Ongoing…  Construction and operating funds for the observatory are both ongoing needs.  Tasks include identifying potential funding sources, determining proposal formats and schedules, assisting with proposal preparation and follow-up on proposals submitted. If you have any fund raising ideas let us know on the ELO Discussion Forums.