MAS  Observing  Sites & Facilities

Observing in all its forms is the heart and soul of amateur astronomy. To meet our membership’s diverse observing needs we maintain five unique regional observing sites, four with observatories. Each site includes observing amenities, ranging from a simple warming structure and concrete pads to a fully-equipped observatory housing multiple telescopes.  Star parties take place at each site on a rotating basis.  Four are also available to MAS members for private use.

For complete information on each of the Society’s sites — directions, descriptions and information regarding accessing the facilities and equipment — click on the location of interest on the map below or on the site name in the “Observing Site Summary” that follows.

 

View MAS Observing Sites in a larger map


Click the site name on the map to see that facilities web page.

Observing Site Summary

[Click on a site name for complete information.]

Cherry Grove Observatory Eagle Lake Observatory LLCC Joseph J. Casby Metcalf
Site Summary New roll-off observatory became operational in 2013 Sylvia A. Casby Observatory and HotSpot Classroom added in 2013 New storage garage for telescopes completed in 2009 The first MAS domed observatory
completed in 2010
Original MAS observing site. In use since the 1970’s
Map Location CGO map ELO map LLCC map JJ Casby map Metcalf map
Access 24/7 24/7
(Requires pre-arrangement if after normal park hours)
MAS Members only
Limited schedule
(See LLCC Events Calendar)
24/7
MAS members who have attended Belwin Orientation
24/7
Annual Events Messier Marathon
Virgo Venture
Mini Messier Marathon
Astronomy Day
Camping with the Stars
Fall Astronomy Day
Northern Nights Star Fest Belwin Conservancy
Member Events
None
Public Star Parties Generally, near 3rd Quarter Moon 1st & 3rd Quarter Moon phases from March – November
Public S. P. Schedule
Only when registered for
Northern Nights Star Fest
None None
Star Parties Generally, near 3rd Quarter Moon
CGO event schedule
None
Member use at their discretion
Member use only on designated weekends
LLCC event schedule
None
Member use at their discretion
None
Member use at their discretion
Telescope pads Yes  (2) Yes
(Observatory Plaza)
No Yes  (3) Yes  (3)
Electricity Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Equipment 24″ StarMaster
12″ Meade LX200
8″ & 10″ loaner Dob’s
Onan Observatory: 16″ LX200, C-14, SV152, 20″ Obsession & more.
Sylvia A Casby: 8” TMB, Takahashi Mewlon 300 & 4” Stellarvue
30″ Obsession
25″ Obsession
10″ TMB refractor, TMB 130,
ST120 & 80mm Lunt Solar
None
Nearest major town Cannon Falls Norwood-Young America Aitkin / McGregor Woodbury Woodbury
Observatory Yes Yes  Yes Yes No
Parking Shared with observing field Separate from observing field and observatory On or adjacent to observing field Room for 5-6 cars near observatory Shared with observing field
Telescope Piers No No No No Yes
Privacy Off the beaten path, but on intersection of two county roads Public park Conservation Center Private land Private land
Restrooms ”Rustic” Outhouse Nearby seasonal indoor at beach, year-round indoor at park entrance & Outhouse Yes – In nearby Dining Hall Yes – In nearby classroom, requires code for access ”Rustic” Outhouse
Security Yes, key-code required Park closed to public after dark;  Gated with security alarm, Caretaker on site Caretaker on site Gated with security alarm,
Caretaker on site
Fenced and gated
Sky quality Very Dark
Twin Cities light dome to N, minor to SE; Scattered small town light domes around horizon
Dark
Twin Cities light dome to E and NE; Scattered small town light domes around horizon
Extremely dark Moderately polluted by St. Paul, Woodbury and surrounding communities Moderately polluted by St. Paul, Woodbury and surrounding communities
Sleeping Bunks in warming house
(Requires combination)
Two bunks in observatory
(Keyholder access only)
Accommodations available to MAS members None Bunks in warming house
(Requires combination)
Warming facility Yes
Combination Lock
Yes
Keyholder access only
Yes
Accommodations available to MAS members
Yes
In nearby classroom, requires code
Yes
Combination Lock
Other   Regular Public Star Parties held from March – November
Public S. P. Schedule
MAS-provided parking permit required
Review Rules of Use
Review observatory
Guidelines / Procedure
and Visitation Rules
Contact Info [MAS Outreach Coordinator] [MAS Outreach Coordinator] [MAS Outreach Coordinator] [MAS Outreach Coordinator] [MAS Outreach Coordinator]