In the fading light of a clear evening, we watch the stars appear. One by one they fill the night sky. Before long, the heavens are filled
with innumerable points of ancient light. The stars appear to be grouped into patterns; the Big Dipper, Orion the Hunter, Cygnus the
Swan, and more.
A telescope can take us further. Craters and mountains on the Moon, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and the rings of Saturn fill us with awe and
wonder. Much more distant are the deep sky objects; star clusters, nebulae, and the galaxies. They all await you at the
Kalamazoo Nature Center
The Kalamazoo Astronomical Society (KAS) invites you to witness nature’s grandest spectacle - the universe itself! From April through October
the KAS welcomes the general public to join us under the stars for a night of stargazing.
Telescopes of all shapes and sizes will be set up for your viewing pleasure near Owl Observatory
, located on the grounds
of the Nature Center. The observatory itself, featuring our new 16-inch Leonard James Ashby Telescope
also be available for use.
Do you have a telescope that you would like to learn how to operate or get help with setting up? KAS members will be on hand at the start of
each session to give you a one on one tutorial. Learn how to properly assemble and balance your telescope, align the finderscope and
computer, and choose the appropriate eyepieces. We can even help you learn how to find objects in the sky!
KAS members assist guests with their telescopes.
Please arrive as soon as the gates open, so we can help you set up and use your telescope before it gets too dark. Consult the schedule below for
Would you like to learn how to identify bright stars and major constellations? During each observing session, one of our veteran stargazers
will teach participants to find those elusive patterns in the sky with a simple monthly star map, which will be provided by the KAS. A green
laser pointer that projects a visible beam into the sky will be used to trace out the constellations and asterisms. Just like at a planetarium -
only under the real night sky!
Red Lights at Night
Visitors should bring a flashlight with RED
light to use for the walk from the parking lot
to the observatory and for reading star maps. This can be as simple as covering the front of a regular flashlight with several layers of red
plastic. Free apps are also available for download that turn your smart phone screen RED
No white lights or automobile lights are allowed near the observing area after dusk. Use RED
flashlights to preserve night vision and please keep them pointed downward! Flashlights can be purchased from
Orion Telescopes & Binoculars
Directions to the Nature Center
__From US 131:
Exit at D Avenue (Exit 44) and travel approximately 4 miles east on D Ave to North Westnedge. Turn right on North Westnedge and go approximately one
mile and turn left at the Kalamazoo Nature Center sign.
__From Interstate 94:
Exit at US 131 North (Exit 74) and follow the above directions.
__From downtown Kalamazoo:
Park Street north through downtown Kalamazoo. Park Street will turn into Business Loop 131. Follow the sign to the right directing you to
North Westnedge Avenue and the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Follow North Westnedge approximately 3 miles and turn right at the Kalamazoo Nature
Center sign, just past E Avenue.
Rules of Conduct
Public Observing Sessions are held to promote astronomy and for your enjoyment of the sky. In order to insure safety, protect equipment and to enhance
everyone's enjoyment, we ask that you follow the Code of Conduct:
- Pets are not permitted on the Nature Center grounds.
- Smoking and alcoholic beverages are never permitted within the Kalamazoo Nature Center.
- Minors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.
- Aerosol bug spray repellent may only be applied away from the telescopes. (Sprays produce a fine mist which can settle on optical surfaces and is very difficult to clean.)
- Remove any trash and keep the premises clean.
Once you reach the Nature Center you'll drive past the main gate to the parking lot at the end of the long driveway. (Look for our
signs to guide your way.) Only members or visitors with heavy equipment and handicap individuals are allowed to drive down the dirt service road
leading to the observing field and observatory. All others must park in the main lot and walk down (north) the service road towards the
observatory. This rule will be strictly enforced as space around the observing area is limited.
The KAS does not charge for its Public Observing Sessions. However, the Kalamazoo Nature Center does reserve the right to collect an admission fee. They have not chosen to
do so for the past several years. KAS and KNC members are always guaranteed free admission with their membership cards.
You can view images from past sessions in the Observing Session Gallery