Long Lake Conservation Center

eagle lake observatory

Scheduled LLCC Events

Location Information

Location:
Two hours north of the Twin Cities.

Latitude: 46.6470
Longitude: -93.4650
Altitude: 1,275 feet

28952 438th Lane, Palisade, MN 56469

LLCC website: www.longlakecc.org
E-mail: info@longlakecc.org
Phone: 218-768-4653

Overview

Located deep within Aitkin County, Long Lake Conservation Center (LLCC) boasts some of the darkest skies in the state of Minnesota.

A legal agreement between LLCC and the Minnesota Astronomical Society allows MAS members (and their immediate family members) to use LLCC facilities and grounds for astronomical observing on scheduled weekends.

Member use of LLCC facilities is controlled by rules jointly developed by LLCC and the MAS. The remainder of this page summarizes these rules and procedures. View the full set of rules »

Any MAS member intending to observe at LLCC must review the full ”Rules of Use” document prior to their visit.

Facilities

Parking: All member vehicles must display an MAS-supplied parking permit placard on the dashboard while on-site at LLCC.

Parking permits are available from the MAS LLCC Site Coordinator.

Parking, with care, is available on the observing field continuously during an event. If ground conditions on the observing field are unusually soggy parking will be limited to the overflow parking lot west of the observing field.

Parking in front of Marcum House housing is only allowed when there are no non-MAS activities are occurring at LLCC. In the event non-MAS events are taking place, MAS members may only park in front of Marcum House when loading or unloading, and parking will only be allowed on the observing field or in the overflow parking lot.

(Parking restrictions will be posted on the MAS LLCC Forum)

Observing Field: The LLCC orienteering field is the observing field. MAS members may park on the observing field, but please take care not to damage the property. Driving on the orienteering field may be restricted when conditions are wet.

Electrical: Several electrical outlets are available at the site on a wooden post near the north end of the observing field, and on both the north and south sides of the garage. Members need to provide their own extension cord (at least 100′ recommended).

Lighting: LLCC will extinguish unnecessary outdoor lights during MAS star parties.

Concrete Pads: None.

Restrooms: Restroom facilities are available in the dining hall near the observing field and in the bunk rooms provided in Marcum House.

Sleeping/Warming: A maximum of three rooms, typically in the Marcum House building are available during star parties for MAS member and immediate family use as overnight accommodations on a first-come, first-served basis. Each room contains four bunk beds (total of eight beds per room) and includes a toilet and shower. Members must supply their own towels, toiletries, sleeping bags, and pillows.

Lodgers are required to leave the facilities at least as clean, or cleaner than found. Basic camping is only allowed during Northern Nights Star Fest.

Changes in accommodation availability are posted on the MAS Forum.

Other: No alcohol consumption is allowed at LLCC.

Smoking is only allowed outdoors, at least 25 feet away from any building and must not be overtly visible to children visiting the site.

The MAS agreement with LLCC includes volunteer outreach activities, teaching astronomy to children visiting LLCC. If you would like to volunteer your assistance in outreach activities, please contact the MAS LLCC Site Coordinator.

Observatory & Equipment

Observatory

The observatory is the north side of the storage garage on the observing field. Keyholder entry is by keycode only.

The garage houses the MAS largest aperture telescopes: the 25″ Obsession and 30″ Obsession dobsonian telescopes. The Obsession scopes are wheeled out of the garage on custom built carts. A few 8″ telescopes are also available for member use.

In addition to the telescopes, the observatory is used for accessory storage, and has a coffee pot, refrigerator, and microwave oven available for member use.

25″ & 30″ Obsession Dobsonian Telescopes

These telescopes can provide breathtaking views of many deep sky objects. Both telescopes are equipped with the Argo Navis ServoCat systems that drive the scope and give them go-to capability for ease of finding very dim objects.

Additional Equipment

In addition to the main telescope platforms mentioned above, LLCC also has portable equipment for MAS members and guests to use, which include: An Orion 8″ solid tube Dobsonian telescope and 15×70 Orion Resolux Binoculars on a parallelogram mount for the ultimate wide field experience in Minnesota’s darkest skies.

Access

Located deep within Aitkin County, Long Lake Conservation Center (LLCC) boasts some of the darkest skies in the state of Minnesota.

A legal agreement between LLCC and the Minnesota Astronomical Society allows MAS members (and their immediate family members) to use LLCC facilities and grounds for astronomical observing on scheduled weekends.

Member use of LLCC facilities is controlled by rules jointly developed by LLCC and the MAS. The remainder of this page summarizes these rules and procedures. View the full set of rules »

Any MAS member intending to observe at LLCC must review the full ”Rules of Use” document prior to their visit.

LLCC Events & Star Parties

MAS Member Weekend Star Parties

Designated Star Party Weekends are the only time that MAS members are allowed to observe at LLCC. The observing weekends typically are Friday and/or Saturday evenings. Several bunkhouse-style rooms are made available for members at no cost, typically in the Marcum House.

As a courtesy, please register in advance by posting in the MAS Forums that you plan on attending, so that LLCC will insure that rooms are open.

LLCC keyholders can open up the observatory and use the Obsession 25″ and 30″ telescopes.

Northern Nights Star Fest

Northern Nights Star Fest (NNSF) is a regional star party designed to meet the needs of serious observers and astrophotographers. This is an event that one must register and pay for through LLCC.

Informational lectures and other events are tailored to interest experienced amateur astronomers. Participants bring their own telescopes, or after successful completion of training, use the large scopes belonging to MAS.

All are welcome to register, but should understand that people are paying for and driving hundreds of miles for this event under some of the darkest skies in Minnesota. Avoid anything (lights, equipment, or behavior) that detracts from the dark sky experience. Flashlights must be dim and red, laptop or camera screens must be dimmed with a red filter (laptops ideally enclosed in a box or other light shield), and equipment with indicator lights other than dim/red should be covered or subdued.

Directions

From the Eastern Twin Cities

Go north on I-35 to Finlayson/Exit 195. Turn west/left and go one mile to County Road 61 and MN 18. At stop sign, turn right/north and go two miles. Follow MN 18 west/left and continue 19 miles to MN 65. Turn north/right on MN 65 and proceed 30 miles to McGregor. Intersect with MN 210 and follow 210 west/left (through McGregor) for seven miles. A large green highway sign marks the turn off MN 210 to Long Lake Conservation Center. Turn north/right on County Road 5. After three miles, turn east/right on gravel County Road 88. It is approximately one mile to the LLCC gate.

From the Western Twin Cities

Take I-94 west to Rogers/MN 101. Go north/right on MN 101 through Elk River, where MN 101 becomes US 169. Continue north on US 169 approximately 90 miles to Aitkin. At stoplight in Aitkin, turn east/right onto US 169/MN 210 and go out of town eight miles. Then turn east/right, following MN 210 toward Duluth. Proceed seven miles. A large green highway sign marks the turn off of 210 to Long Lake Conservation Center. Turn north/left on County Road 5. After three miles, turn east/right on gravel County Road 88. It is approximately one mile to the LLCC gate.

LLCC Weather

Long Lake Conservation Center

Check out the Weather Page for other detailed forcasts.

Contact

If you have a question about the observatory that’s not answered here, please send an e-mail to LLCC Site Coordinator, or post a message on the MAS LLCC Forum.   We hope you can visit us soon.