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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Andreas Observatory

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Andreas Observatory

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Andreas Observatory
Summer 2006

Andreas Observatory — named for Lowell and Nadine Andreas of Mankato, MN — was established in 1990 to provide the MSU astronomy program with a modern observing facility. This observatory has three basic functions:

  • To train students majoring in astronomy in the use of a modern telescope
  • To provide a telescope capable of supporting student and faculty research projects
  • To offer opportunities to the public for viewing the night skies through a research-quality telescope

The February 2010 decision to eliminate the Astronomy BS affects all three of these functions. Without a major program in astronomy, there will be no students to train in the operation of the telescope and no students with sufficient interest or knowledge to support observational research efforts. And without a supply of trained students to help staff the observatory, public viewing sessions at Andreas Observatory will have to be curtailed.


Andreas Observatory DomeAndreas Observatory is located on the southern edge of the MSU campus approximately 550 yards beyond the Lot #1 gate -- about 150 yards east of Standeford Observatory.

Maps to Andreas and Standeford Observatories

Coordinates of Andreas Observatory:

  • Longitude: 93o 59' 49" West
  • Latitude: 44o 08' 18" North
  • Elevation: 990 feet


Equipment and Facilities


Andreas Observatory TelescopeThe principal telescope at Andreas Observatory is a 0.5-meter (20-inch), f/13.5 Cassegrain telescope, manufactured by DFM Engineering, Inc. of Longmont, Colorado. This computer-controlled telescope has several hundred pre-programmed objects available for easy access during public viewing sessions.

The smaller black scope mounted on the side of the main telescope is the DFM finder scope (a 5-inch, f/9 refractor), which has a wider field of view and is useful in pointing and aligning the main telescope.

Mounted piggyback underneath the main telescope is a Takahashi BRC-250M – a 10-inch, f/5 Baker Ritchey-Chretien telescope that offers wide-field visual and photographic images of the sky.

Andreas Observatory Telescopes


Instrumentation at Andreas Observatory includes two SBIG CCD cameras, an SBIG spectrometer, photographic cameras and photometers. These can be attached to the telescopes for use by astronomy majors in their observing courses and for student and faculty research projects.

Andreas Observatory Telescopes

Observatory Building

The main telescope is housed in an 18.5-foot Ash-Dome; the attached observatory building includes a control room, presentation room, work room, and storage areas.

Andreas Observatory Dome

Public Events

Open House

Andreas Observatory SignMonthly open house events are held at Andreas Observatory.

Group Tours

Groups wishing to arrange tours of Andreas Observatory should contact Dr. Steven Kipp at (507) 389-5912.

Special Events

Special public viewing events at Andreas Observatory are held occasionally during the year, often in conjunction with Standeford Observatory. Targets of these events in the past have included Comet Hale-Bopp, Comet Hyakutake, the Moon, various planets, and other interesting celestial objects. Announcements of special observing events will be made through the local news media and on these web pages.


Parking for public viewing sessions is usually available in the south end of Lot 1, near the Gage dormitories. Visitors will generally need to walk the last few hundred yards to reach the observatory.

A sign on the gate at the south end of Lot 1 will indicate whether Andreas Observatory is open to the public.

Sky Conditions at Andreas Observatory


Auriga over Andreas Observatory
Auriga over Andreas Observatory, in moonlight; 4/2/93;
ISO 400, 28mm f/3.5, 3m