UMN’s “Universe in the Park” Summer Telescope Observing Program Sets 2022 Schedule

The MnSGC helps support “Universe in the Park,” a summer telescope observing program that returned in 2021 after missing Summer 2020 due to concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics hosts the star-gazing evenings at Minnesota parks and nature centers in association with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Three Rivers Park District, and the Dodge Nature Center not-for-profit organization. The Institute, part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering, hopes to convey the excitement of astronomical research and amateur astronomy.

The Summer 2021 observing program included events at William O’Brien, Lake Maria, and Afton state parks, and at Dodge, Eastman, Lowry nature centers. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the presentations have been moved outside.

Universe In The Park
Summer 2022

Date Day Venue
July 1 Friday William O’Brien State Park
July 8 Friday Dodge Nature Center (West St. Paul)
July 9 Saturday Lowry Nature Center (Carver campground)
July 16 Saturday Eastman Nature Center
July 22 Friday Afton State Park
July 23 Saturday Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
July 29 Friday Dodge Nature Center (Cottage Grove)
July 30 Saturday Eastman Nature Center
August 5 Friday William O’Brien State Park
August 6 Saturday Lowry Nature Center (At the nature center)
August 12 Friday Gooseberry Falls State Park
August 13 Saturday Tettegouche State Park
August 19 Friday Mille Lacs Kathio
August 20 Saturday Father Hennepin
August 27 Saturday Afton State Park


Each viewing evening begins with a short talk and slide show. Questions from the audience are encouraged. After the presentation, if weather allows, attendees are able to view the sky through multiple 8-inch reflecting telescopes. Free star maps from are provided.

Presentations cover a wide variety of astronomical topics including the history of matter, the solar system, galaxies, and how astronomers “see” outside the visible spectrum.

Universe in the Park is headed by University of Minnesota faculty member Evan Skillman and graduate student Nico Adams.

Universe in the Park presentation

“Universe in the Park” website
“Universe @ Home” website
Public Telescope Viewing website

“Universe @ Home” YouTube Channel

Dodge Nature Center
Three Rivers Park District
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

July 21, 2020 – Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics
Introduces “Universe @ Home” –

University of Wisconsin “Universe in the Park”