Whether you take 'astronomical' literally, or figuratively, his place rocks if you're an astronomy geek like me. Or, if you just enjoy marveling at a pristine, star lit, night sky.

Photo: 'Train Wreck' ~ Z-Rock Weekends

The Sola Fide Observatory is owned and operated by the Hormel Nature Center. It is typically staffed by volunteers who pick easy to identify night sky features like the moon, planets, or even an occasional comet if one is visible. In addition to Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, last night the volunteers, directed by Will Bjorndal  pointed the massive telescope towards our closet galactic neighbor, the Andromeda spiral nebula M-31.

Often astronomy clubs, or other seasoned astronomy fanatics set up shop here with their own telescopes and add to the overall viewing experience. The open-to-the-public viewing sessions are structured to last just a few hours, starting just after sunset.

Photo: 'Train Wreck' ~ Z-Rock Weekends

The observatory is open to the public on specified Saturdays throughout the year. Admission is FREE! For more information on Sola Fide, or to see the open-to-the-public viewing schedule, go to their website!

Tell us on the Z-Rock Facebook Page if you have ever visited Sola Fide yourself, or if you plan to do so in the future! I asked lead volunteer Will Bjorndal on how to go about becoming a 'volunteer' myself. Perhaps we could do an unofficial Z-Rock Night viewing session if there was enough interest. Hit me up via my BIO-PAGE if interested.

'Train Wreck' ~ Z-Rock Weekends

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Resources
Local weather
Satellite images
Infrared satellite images
Comet observation page
Harvest Moon Observatory (Northfield, MN)
Sky and Telescope — Guide to Astronomy
Astronomy Magazine

Photo: 'Train Wreck' ~ Z-Rock Weekends