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Last Updated:
December 27, 2007

 

 

About the Minnesota Astronomical Society

Frequently Asked Questions

[Note:  This section is under construction.  If you have recommendations for additional questions, please email them to the webmaster.]

Membership questions

How do I join the MAS?

How do I renew my MAS membership?

Star party questions

I'm not a member yet.  Can I attend star parties?  

Do I need a telescope to attend?

What should I expect?  

I recently attended an MAS star party, and no one else showed up!  Why?

Beginners questions

I have a new telescope, or am considering purchasing one.  Can someone answer my questions?

Membership benefits questions

I understand the MAS has telescopes I can borrow.  How do I get one?

How do I get discounts for subscriptions and purchases?

 


How do I join the MAS?

Answer:  A membership form is available here on the web at www.mnastro.org/membership.  Fill out the form, write a check for the appropriate amount and mail it to the address shown at the form.  You can also join at any monthly meeting of the MAS.

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How do I renew my MAS membership?

Answer: If you purchased a Sky and Telescope subscription with your membership, Sky Publishing will send you a renewal notice in the mail 6 - 8 weeks before your MAS membership expires.  Do NOT send your MAS or Sky and Telescope renewal to Sky Publishing.  Send it to the Treasurer of the MAS who will take care of renewing both for you. 

If you didn't purchase a Sky and Telescope subscription with your members, the Treasurer will send you renewal instructions in the mail when you membership is about to expire.

In either case, if you don't receive a renewal notice at least one month before your membership expires, contact the Treasurer for instructions. 

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I'm not a member yet.  Can I attend star parties?  

Answer:  Absolutely.  In fact, attending a star party one of the ways many members first learn about the MAS.  Visit the 'star party' section of the web (www.mnastro.org/starparties) for the current schedule of events and information regarding what to expect.

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Do I need a telescope to attend a star party?

Answer: Not at all.  In fact, attending star parties is a great way to 'window shop' before you make a substantial investment.  Star party participants are usually quite willing to share both the good and bad aspects of their telescopes and to let you look through their scopes.

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What should I expect at an MAS star party?  

Answer:  A lot of fun!  For a complete description of star parties, please visit our 'Star Parties' pages at http://www.mnastro.org/starparties.

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I recently attended an MAS star party, and no one else showed up!  Why?

Answer: It is unusual that no MAS members attend a star party.  But it sometimes does happen, even when the star party is announced as being 'on'.  If you require the company of others, either for security, camaraderie or to get your questions answered, you might want to consider attending a public event at our Onan Observatory.  These are always staffed, even when weather conditions prevent observing with the telescopes.

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I have a new telescope, or am considering purchasing one.  Can someone answer my questions?

Answer: This is far and away the most frequent request we receive.  Finding a specific individual to answer your questions can sometimes be challenging.  Fortunately, there are four options you might consider:

  1. Attend an MAS star party:  As noted above, this is a great opportunity to see many types of telescopes in action and speak directly with their owners.

  2. Visit a public event at the Onan Observatory:  There are always MAS members available at these events to answer your questions about purchasing a telescope.

  3. Join the MAS mailing list and post an inquiry:  This is probably the best way to find someone willing to provide one-on-one assistance with the operation of your telescope.

  4. Join the Beginner's Special Interest Group of the MAS:  If you are a member of the MAS, this is a fantastic way to learn the ins and outs of your newly purchased equipment or to learn about your options.  The Beginner's SIG regularly conducts observing sessions with the objective of helping each other out with equipment and observing questions.

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I understand the MAS has telescopes I can borrow.  How do I get one?

Answer:  Loaner equipment reservations are managed by the Vice President of the Society.  Information regarding equipment is available at http://www.mnastro.org/loaner.

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How do I get discounts for subscriptions and purchases?

Answer:  Discounted Sky and Telescope subscriptions are purchased when your submit your new or renewal membership application.  Astronomy Magazine subscriptions are taken once a year, usually in November.  Contact the Society's Treasurer for complete details regarding subscriptions.  

Sky Publishing Corporation discounts are available simply by listing "Minnesota Astronomical Society" in the appropriate place on the paper or electronic order form.

For information regarding discounts through the Astronomical League's book service, please visit their web site at www.astroleague.org.

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2003 by the Minnesota Astronomical Society. All content and design on this site is protected by copyright and  may not be copied, retransmitted or redistributed by any means without the prior express written permission of the Minnesota Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the content of this site  may be copied for the private use and may be copied and/or distributed at no cost for use in conjunction with the educational activities and programs of any school or non-profit educational organization.