• JMS Observatory The JMO

    Public Viewing at the JMO


    Open House Nights    

    Tuesday, 8/14, 8:30 - 10:30
    Thursday, 8/16, 8:30 - 10:30
    Monday, 8/20, 8:30 - 10:30


    Mars Opposition Open House - Friday, July 27, 9:00-12:00 midnight 

    In its path around the Sun, every two years, Earth catches up with Mars: the fourth planet. As we pass, Mars appears opposite the Sun in our sky. Seen from above our solar system, Mars, Earth, and the Sun, would make a straight line. This event is called opposition. Watch for Mars on the southeastern horizon, just after sunset.
    During opposition, Earth is at its closest to Mars - just 44 million miles away. Despite what you may see on the Internet (or that email from Uncle Don), Mars will NOT be as big as the full Moon. It will appear (as always) as a small, reddish star. Now, you may notice that it is brighter, but when did you last look at Mars? Through our telescope, however, the view improves dramatically. Come and see the surface features of the Red Planet during our open house night. We may even catch a glimpse of its polar cap, or a dust storm in its atmosphere!
    Stop by any time between 10:00 pm and 12:00 midnight to get a look. Remember that when the dome is open, we are essentially outside, so dress (and spray) appropriately. This program will cancel in the event of rain or cloudy weather and a message will be posted to this site. 

    Visiting the JMO

    Join us at the JMS observatory to look the Moon, planets, stars, constellations, and anything else we can find in space. Public viewings will be held at least twice each month, if clear, along with special event nights when something of interest is happening in the sky above.
    Each night starts with a little introduction to the sky. We will fire up our projectors to give you a guided tour of the events for the month and even teach you to use a star map that you can take home, to continue your exploration. Next, we'll head outside for a tour of the constellations, pointing out the North Star and the seasonal highlights overhead. Finally, we will head up to the dome and our 14" telescope, for an up-close tour of the cosmos. Use your phone to capture your very own souvenir photo of the Moon. There is just so much to see! 
     When visiting the observatory in public nights, DO NOT come through the school. 
     Park in the north lot, south of 111th Ave N, on Yates Ave N. 
    PLEASE NOTE: Weather is always an issue! If it is cloudy or raining, viewings may be canceled. Check the website before coming. Dress for the weather. The temperature of the dome is like that of the outdoors. Please check this website at 6:00 p.m. on viewing dates to make sure viewing has not been canceled.   


     Observatory Contact: 

    Ron Schmit

    Jackson Middle School Observatory Coordinator

    6000 109th Avenue N, Champlin, MN 55316

    Ronald.Schmit@ahschools.us  |  (763) 506-3940