On behalf of the Minnesota Astronomical Society, welcome to
our web site! Please
accept our invitation and join us in our explorations of the
cosmos, either as a visitor to one of our many events or as a
member of the Society.
Over the past several years, MAS members have worked very hard to improve,
expand and care for the facilities at all of our sites. The number of public viewing
opportunities have also expanded and been enhanced with new equipment and capabilities
being utilized by our ever increasing membership and guests.
ELO SPECIAL EVENT
Join us at the MAS Eagle Lake Observatory for the Total Lunar Eclipse, this Monday, April 14, 2014. The observatory will open at 7:00 pm, with the eclipse starting just before midnight and lasting into the morning of April 15. Detailed info about the eclipse can be found on the ELO Special Events
Note that this Special Event is a ''Cancelled if Cloudy'' event. Right now the weather looks promising with clearing skies forecast form Monday night. Be sure to dress warm as temperatures will be in the low to mid 20's with a brisk wind of 5 - 15 mph from the NW. Check the MAS home page for the latest information and updates about this event.
Information about the Eagle Lake Observatory, as well as directions to get there, can be found HERE
Planet Update (rev. March 24, 2014)
(magnitude –0.9) Mercury is past greatest elongation in the morning and moving toward the rising sun. It will remain very low in altitude at sunrise, less than 6 degrees.
When Mercury returns to the evening sky, on April 26, it will quickly gain altitude and be very well placed for spring viewing. By May 1st, Mercury will be more than 5 degrees above the horizon at sunset, by May 6th more than 10 degrees and by May 12th more than 15 degrees. May 24th Mercury reaches greatest elongation, attaining an altitude at sunset of nearly 18 degrees and will begin moving west towards the setting sun again.
This will be one of the best times ever to see Mercury. If you've ever wanted to see Mercury for yourself, this spring will be a great time.
(magnitude –4.3) is in the Southeast morning sky, just past greatest elongation, currently 16 degrees above the horizon at sunrise and showing a quarter phase of 23 arc seconds in diameter. Over the next several months Venus will be moving east towards the rising sun until it reaches superior conjunction on October 23, becoming an evening object again. Watch for the very close conjunction with Jupiter on the morning of August 17 and 18 when the two planets will be less than 1 degree from each other.
, (magnitude -1.1) rises about 9:00 pm. Currently 14 arc seconds in diameter, Mars reaches opposition April 7, rising at sunset and being visible all night. Mars will be 15 arc-seconds in diameter and at -1.5 magnitude, outshines everything in the constellation Virgo.
This is the best Mars will be this year and the closest it's been to the Earth since 2007. Mars won't be this close to us again for more than 2 years (April of 2016). Don't miss the 2014 Mars Opposition!!!
, (magnitude –2.25) is past opposition, rising before sunset and visible until it sets after 3:00 am. Jupiter is very well placed for evening viewing right now and over the next few months will be the main planet to see. Jupiter's apparent disk size is 39 arc-seconds, slightly smaller than at opposition in January, when its apparent diameter was 47 arc-seconds. By mid July Jupiter will start to become washed out by the setting sun as it approaches superior conjunction on July 24 and moves to the morning sky.
, (magnitude 0.3) rises about 11:30 pm. Saturn is moving through the constellation Libra and rising earlier each night. Saturn reaches opposition in mid May, 2014 with a disk size of 19 arc-minutes and 0.1 magnitude. About the time we'll lose Jupiter to the glare of twilight, Saturn will be at it's best for the year.
at 5.9 magnitude, is currently washed out by the setting sun. Only 6 degrees above the horizon at sunset Uranus passes behind the sun on April 2nd and becomes a morning object. By mid May Uranus will be more than 15 degrees above the horizon at sunrise at it works its way west. By the end of July Uranus will rise before midnight and will reach opposition on October 7. Uranus will spend the year in the constellation Pisces
at magnitude 7.9, is less than 10 degrees above the horizon at sunrise in the east-southeast. Neptune is also moving slowly to the west, rising earlier each night. By mid June Neptune will rise before midnight and on August 29 reach opposition. Look for it in the constellation of Aquarius throughout the year.
Star Party Update
Next Eagle Lake Observatory Public Nights
Upcoming Star Parties at Cherry Grove (CGO) & LLCC
The ''All-Weather'' Public Star Parties at the Eagle Lake Observatory:
Saturday, April 5th
Monday, April 14th - ELO Public Star Party - TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE
Eclipse begins at 11:00 pm.
The ELO Eclipse Public Star Party will be cancelled if cloudly (although the eclipse will still occur!)
Saturday, April 19
Public Star Parties at the Eagle Lake Observatory usually begin at 7 pm and last until 10 pm or possibly later. Public Observing Nights are held whether it is clear or cloudy, with the possible exception for hazardous weather conditions** (see below). There is no fee for attending and members, guests and visitors are all invited. Please note that Carver County parks may charge a nominal parking fee. For additional information or directions, click the link below or visit the Eagle Lake Observatory web page.
The Messier Marathon for Friday, March 28th has been CANCELLED due to snow conditions at all three observing sites as well as the inclement weather.
The Messier Marathon has been RESCHEDULED for Friday, April 25th at CGO with Saturday, April 26th as the alternate night.
If you are planning to spend time observing at any of our observing sites - Casby, CGO, or ELO - consider placing a note on the observing forum (HERE) to let others know of your intentions. Who knows, you may get visitors!
For Additional information on our observing sites, visit the MAS Facilities page HERE or select a link below.
Directions to Eagle Lake Observatory and the Onan Observatory
Directions to J. J. Casby Observatory
Directions to Cherry Grove
Directions to Metcalf
Directions to LLCC
Please note, all Eagle Lake Observatory public star parties are ‘’all weather’’ events (unless otherwise noted). Even if it is cloudy, someone will be there to show a video, give a presentation, give a tour of the observatory or answer any astronomy questions you may have. However, there may be a need to cancel due to **hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorm, tornadoes and/or snow storms. If any of these conditions are threatening, please check the MAS website homepage and/or the MAS info line at 952-467-2426, after 4:00 pm the day of the event for cancellation notices.
Unlike Eagle Lake Observatory Public Observing Night events, attendance at MAS Star Parties at Cherry Grove and LLCC is entirely optional. As a result there could be dozens of people also with you at the star party, or there is a remote chance you could find yourself alone! MAS Star Parties at Cherry Grove are generally Friday night events, with Saturday being the backup night. LLCC star parties are both Friday and Saturday night. All MAS Star Parties are ''clear weather'' events and would be cancelled if cloudy.
Star parties at Cherry Grove and LLCC are no longer officially called ''ON'' or ''OFF'' based on the weather. The use of Eagle Lake, Belwin and Metcalf are left up to the observer's discretion.
Click on Wunderground box below for Minneapolis weather forecast.
Clear Sky Charts for MAS Observing Sites. Click banner for added detail.