The Minnesota Astronomical Society owns a small parcel of land in
Goodhue County known as "Cherry Grove". It is the
Society's first "dark sky" site.
Cherry Grove is ideal for beginner to experienced amateur astronomers,
particularly those interested in observing projects or astrophotography
requiring darker skies. Cherry Grove offers nearly unobstructed views of the east,
south and western skies.
Observatory: Construction of a new roll-off roof observatory
began in the fall of 2012. The new observatory will be completed for the 2013
observing season which will feature a scope (to be determined) mounted
on a recently donated Mathis Instruments MI-500, German Equatorial mount along with
a 12" Meade SCT. The 24” B.A.D. Starmaster Dobsonian will also be stored within
the new observatory and is rolled out onto a concrete pad for use under the skies.
Also available are two additional “on-site loaner" scopes. There is an 8" Zhumell
and a 10" Meade Starfinder telescope for members’ use while at Cherry Grove. Both
scopes are equipped with optical finders and Telrads, a collection of eyepieces,
filters, star charts, planisphere and red flashlight.
Parking: There is parking space available on the east side of the
property. Overflow parking is also available on the shoulder of 520th St. (Dodge
County A), or members can park on the observing field when attendance is light
enough to allow it.
Warming House: There is a one-room warming house with
electric heat available to all MAS members. The warming house is equipped with
a coffee pot and microwave oven (bring your own water). To acquire a code to
the deadbolt lock, contact the MAS Secretary or Cherry Grove Site Manager listed
Restroom: There is a "rustic" outhouse west of the warming
house, near the storage shed.
Electricity: There are electrical outlets on the exterior
of the warming house.
Concrete Pads: There are two concrete pads available for use
on the west side of the property.  Both pads are equipped with electrical
Cherry Grove is located south of the Twin Cities in Goodhue County, about
20 miles south of Cannon Falls.
To reach Cherry Grove, head south on Highway 52. About
six miles south of Cannon Falls, turn right onto Goodhue County Rd. 1
"WEST". Follow County 1 straight south
for about sixteen miles until you arrive at a "T" intersection. The
is immediately at your right, nestled in the shoulder of the
The Cherry Grove address is 8485 520th St. Kenyon Mn
55946. (520th street is Dodge County A).  Be aware that most
GPS maps do not place you properly at Cherry Grove based on this address.
Click the link for a MAP to Cherry Grove. For an interactive
map, visit our MAS Facilities page via the link in the left hand column or the link
The Cherry Grove site is available 24 hours a day. The deadbolt
combinations, available to any MAS member, are required to use the observatory
building and the warming house.
Note: Visitors who have limited experience attending a star
in a "dark-sky" location like Cherry Grove should review the
MAS Star Party
Guidelines.Those who seek more
detailed advice or answers to their questions may be more comfortable
attending public viewing nights at our Onan
Observatory at Baylor Regional Park. The
observatory is always open on its scheduled public nights and staffed
with volunteers ready and willing to help.
Visit the Onan Observatory website
for public event schedule and directions to the observatory.
Site Manager Contact Information
For further information about Cherry Grove or to
help with its upkeep and development, contact MAS member Vic Heiner (HeinerV@aol.com), the location's site