River Ridge Observatory Rules

Observatory privileges/gate codes and keys

River Ridge Observatory (RRO) Access.  The RRO is a key asset of CAAS and access to it is a principal benefit of membership.  All members (Regular and Observatory) are entitled to use the RRO site, to include the clubhouse, for observing with their personal instruments once they become Observing Grounds Qualified.  All you need to do to become Observing Grounds Qualified is ask any member who is already qualified to brief you on the procedures involved in opening and closing the observatory site.  These procedures are published above the water cooler in the clubhouse for reference.  Non-qualified members may use the site whenever it is opened by another member qualified to do so.  Qualified members are encouraged to announce their intent to open the site using the email list service caas@caasastro.org and/or on the group Facebook page.  Obviously, access codes should not be shared with people who are not members or not qualified to access the site.

Access to Observatory Buildings and Instruments.  In addition to access to the observing grounds and clubhouse, Observatory Members have access to observatory buildings and club instruments for personal use, with the exception of the RRT facility, which is a separate program, (see below).  A person must be a member for at least six months and pay observatory level dues to become an Observatory Member.  Observatory Members are encouraged to announce whenever they plan to open the grounds and to share club instruments when other members are present. All members have access to and use of the observatory buildings and club instruments whenever these assets are open for use at club events or when opened for personal use by an Observatory Member.

Remote Robotic Telescope (RRT).  The RRT is a joint venture with Arkansas Tech University.  It is a robotic imaging system employing a CCD camera on a 12” SCT.  Members can run imaging sequence on the RRT for a modest annual fee of $25.  Access to the building is not needed to use the system and is limited to those who have maintenance responsibilities.  You can learn more about the RRT here: http://rrorrt.caasastro.org

Observatory Use

Friends and family are welcome to share the observatory with you. However, after dark activities should have an astronomy connection and not interfere with observing activities of others. Please reference the notes on observing etiquette posted inside the clubhouse over the water cooler.  Private parties, involving significant activities other than observing, are not permitted without prior approval by the Observatory Chair. The open consumption of alcohol is discouraged at public events or on the observing field.

Before Leaving

  1. In winter, turn the water off outside the clubhouse
  2. All lights off
  3. Return key to the lockbox
  4. Secure gate (close lock and spin numbers)

Personal Property/Donations

The observatory has limited space. Items left at the property can become a storage and disposal burden. Therefore:

  1. Do not intentionally leave personal property at the observatory for an extended period of time without permission from the Observatory Chair. With the exception of equipment associated with the operation of private observatories, permission to leave personal equipment at the club will generally only be given if such property is available for the use of the club and/or the membership at large or storage fees are paid.
  2. Property not labeled (as to ownership) will be treated as club property and is subject to being sold or disposed of after reasonable notice is given via caas@caasastro.org, or the group facebook page.
  3. If you want to make an in-kind gift to the club, ask the Observatory Chair if the item would be welcome before you bring it to the observatory.

Observatory Committee Membership

Membership on the Observatory Committee is not necessary to use the observatory.

The committee is dedicated to the maintenance, development, and management of the Club’s property, observatory facilities, and equipment. Committee membership is open to anyone who is interested in helping the committee discharge its duties.

Committee Members are included on the observatory@caasastro.org mailing list, may participate in the committee meetings and discussions and receive a personal key to the club’s buildings.

If you would like to become a committee member, show up to a work party and you will be added.

Please pitch in and join!