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.
2013 MAS Board Election - Thursday December 5th
Nominations are in for the following MAS Executive Board positions:
1) Vice President - Steve Baranski and Ric Heins
2) Treasurer - incumbent, Chris Hansen
3) Board Member at Large - John Hill and Wayne Boline
Election will take place during the December 5th general meeting, or you can request an absentee ballot from the election chair via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Requests for absentee ballots must be received by November 15th and returned to the election chair by November 30th to be counted.
Additional information about the candidates can be found on the MAS Discussion Forum HERE
Comet ISON Update
What had been the remains of comet ISON has dimmed. It is now believed to have disintegrated into millions of fragments. More info can be found HERE
That's the bad news, the good news is comet Lovejoy is alive and well. If you have your heart set on seeing a very good comet, there is still the possibility of doing so.
I'll post comet Lovejoy viewing updates on the MAS Discussion Forums HERE
Planet Update (rev. December 3, 2013)
is visible in the morning sky, currently less than 10 degrees in altitude at sunrise. Mercury will become more difficult to view in the coming weeks as it gets closer to the sun. Mercury returns to the evening sky on December 29, but being below the ecliptic won't become ''easily'' visible until the second week of January.
(magnitude –4.65) is low in the South-Southeast in the evening sky, currently more than18 degrees above the horizon at sunset and showing a crescent phase of 40 arc seconds. Venus is past greatest elongation and moving westerly toward the setting sun. Venus reaches inferior conjunction and returns to the ''morning' sky on January 10th next year, but being more than 5 degrees above the ecliptic, it will be visible both before sunrise and before sunset for a few days after the 10th.
, (magnitude 1.2) is visible in the early morning sky, currently rising about 1:00 am and nearly 50 degrees above the horizon at sunrise. Mars is moving east through the constellation Virgo. Currently 5.8 arc seconds in diameter, Mars is beginning to quickly grow in apparent diameter and brightness. By the first week of January, Mars will be 7 arc seconds and approaching .5 magnitude, by the end of January it will be nearly 9 arc seconds in diameter and nearing zero magnitude in brightness. Mars reaches opposition in mid April of 2014.
, (magnitude –2.6) currently rises about 7:00 pm and has an apparent disk size of 45 arc-seconds. An unmistakeable object in the constellation Gemini, Jupiter reaches opposition in early January when it peaks at –2.7 magnitude and 47 arc-seconds in diameter.
, rising about 5:00 am, is visible in the morning sky, about 20 degrees in altitude at sunrise. Saturn is gaining altitude in the morning sky, rising before 4:00 am and more than 28 degrees in altitude at sunrise by the end of December.
at 5.7 magnitude, is past opposition and is at its prime viewing location, at the meridian (due south), at about 8:00 pm. Look for Uranus in the constellation Pisces, with an apparent disk size at 3.6 arc-seconds.
at magnitude 7.9, is past opposition and is at its prime viewing location, at the meridian (due south), at about 5:30 pm. Neptune is in the constellation of Aquarius, about 35 degrees to the west of Uranus.
Star Party Update
Next Eagle Lake Observatory Public Nights
Upcoming Star Parties at Cherry Grove (CGO) & LLCC
The ''All-Weather'' Star Parties at the Eagle Lake Observatory have concluded for 2013. However, there are several Special Events scheduled for viewing comet ISON in November and December. These are ''Cancelled if Cloudy'' events with special start times of 4:00 pm.
Check the MAS home page and >Discussion Forums for go / no-go information regarding upcoming comet ISON special events.
Saturday, November 30, 4:00 pm Eagle Lake Observatory Public Star Party. Comet ISON Cancelled if cloudy
Saturday, December 7, 4:00 pm Eagle Lake Observatory Public Star Party. Comet ISON Cancelled if cloudy
Saturday, December 21, 4:00 pm Eagle Lake Observatory Public Star Party. Comet ISON Cancelled if cloudy
For more information of the Eagle Lake Observatory Comet ISON Public Star Parties, please click HERE
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 full 2013 Eagle Lake Observatory Public Star Party Schedule has been posted HERE
There are no more Official Star Parties scheduled at either CGO or LLCC for the rest of this year.
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!
Here's to hoping for better skies in 2014!!!
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.