River Ridge Observatory Rules


Observatory privileges/gate codes and keys
River Ridge Observatory (RRO) Regular Member Access – The RRO is a key asset of CAAS and access to it is a principal benefit of membership. All members are entitled to use the RRO site and club house from the first day of membership, for observing with their personal instruments, once they become Observatory Qualified. Simply ask any member who is 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 a Qualified member. 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, and to help new members become qualified. Obviously, access codes should not be shared with people who are not members or not qualified to access the site.

Observatory Membership – A person must be a member for at least six months and pay observatory level dues to become an Observatory Member. 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).  Note, all members have access to and use of the observatory buildings and club instruments when these assets are opened for club events, or if opened for member use by an Observatory Member.

Robotic Research 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.  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(s). The open consumption of alcohol is discouraged at public events or on the observing field.

The Kitchen
Snacks and beverages are generally kept in the kitchen area. Help yourself, but try to put something in the little brown box on the wall next to the counter to help keep the kitchen supplied.

Observatory Procedures and Maintenance

Before Leaving
The last Observatory Qualified Member on site is responsible for closing the observatory as described below, but may leave the clubhouse and gate open for non-qualified members present if they are instructed on the need to secure these upon leaving and how to do so. Securing the observatory involves the following:

  • In winter, turn the water off outside the clubhouse, open the drain screw on the water valve, open sink water valve, and leave bathroom area heater set to lowest temperature.
  • Turn everything else off in all the buildings except the bat cave where the HVAC and central computer systems are always left on, and the heater in the clubhouse bathroom.
  • Lock all the buildings.
  • Securing the gate (close lock, then spin numbers, then tug on it to make sure it is secure).

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

  • With the exception of equipment associated with the operation of private observatories, personal property should not be left at the observatory without permission from the Observatory Chair(s) and must be labeled with the owner’s name.
  • Property not labeled as to ownership will be treated as club property and is subject to being sold or disposed of in accordance with the club’s In-Kind Gift and Abandoned Property Policy.
  • Do not leave items at the observatory with the intent of making an in-kind donation without first clearing the donation with the  Observatory Chair(s).

Observatory Committee Membership

Observatory Committee manages the maintenance and development of the RRO grounds, 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.committee@caasastro.org mailing list. Use that email address to contact the Observatory Chair(s) with problems, questions or to seek property permission.