(Updated 13 August 2006)


The Salt Lake Astronomical Society, or SLAS, is a nonprofit corporation formed in the state of Utah, composed of about two hundred members wishing to enjoy "the pleasures and benefits of an association of persons interested in astronomy; promote the science... ;" and "encourage and coordinate activities with professional research" The Society was first organized on July 29, 1971 and reorganized in 1979 and is governed by a constitution and yearly elected Board of Directors consisting of a president, vice president, secretary/treasurer, and two members at-large.

To become a member of SLAS, a yearly fee is paid to the secretary/treasurer. Activities and resources are available to current members. Membership includes a bimonthly newsletter and membership in the Astronomical League. Members may also enjoy discounts on magazine subscriptions, and other astronomy items through SLAS.

Meetings are held monthly, and are open to the public. General Meetings are held the fourth Tuesday of each month. They begin at 7:30 p.m., ending at approximately 9:00 p.m. A topic and speaker or other activity is held each month except December, when the annual Solstice Celebration/Party replaces the meeting. Meeting are currently held at the Salt Lake County Goverment Center 2001 South State Street, SLC, UT in the North Building on the 1st floor where the Salt Lake County Council meets.  Look for the room with the large glass windows.   There is plenty of free parking in the parking terraces on the east side of the complex. The Board meets 45 minutes prior to the general meeting.


The NOVA is a publication of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society. It is a bimonthly newsletter which contains minutes of General and Board Meetings, Board member names and telephone numbers, activities, reports, calendars, and new member information. It also announces special events and dates such as speakers, field trips and conventions. The Nova may contain advertising of equipment for sale, etc. The deadline for submitting information or articles to the newsletter is usually the last week in February, April, August, October, and December.

The editor(s) of the NOVA is (are) appointed by the Board and may serve until replaced or resignation. The editor(s) may be Board members, and publication of the NOVA lies within the responsibility of the vice president.  If you wish to help with publication, or have suggestions or submissions, please contact the vice president, a Board member, or the NOVA Editor(s).

Members are encouraged to contribute items and participate in publication.


Advance Training or Social Hour
At the conclusion of each General Meeting and most other SLAS events a social hour is held at a designated site (usually a nearby restaurant). This activity is called by various names depending on the occasion, for example, "Truckstop" or "advanced training", and often takes place after meetings, star parties or other events. ALL MEMBERS are WELCOME. Dutch treat of course.

Mini Classes

At times, expert members of the Society offer to teach others selected or specific information and skills pertaining to amateur astronomy.  This may include astrophotography, CCD imaging, mirror grinding, or other basic skills. These classes may be offered in private homes or other facilities, and are free in most cases. The classes are advertised in the NOVA and announced at meetings. Reservations may be required.

Shared Resources and Lending Program

Members of the Society may enjoy the privilege of shared ownership in numerous telescope and astronomy assets. A yearly fee and completion of a training program prepares members to use the observatory and telescope at Stansbury Park or the solar filter. Use of other portable telescopes and equipment are free to members provided they bring them to public star parties. A waiting period is required of all new members before lending.

Assets of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society:
Members of SLAS enjoy the privileges of shared ownership for many items:

Telescopes (Use privileges available to members of at least 30 days):  contact Roger Butz
(4) 8" Dobsonian telescopes
(2) 6" Dobsonian telescopes

Equipment and accessories (Available to members, special training, conditions and fees apply.)
H-Alpha Solar Filter, metal carrying case, tripod, mount and misc. accessories. Contact Ron Ford
Stansbury Park Observatory Complex with 32" (under construction) and 16" telescopes  Contact Bruce Grim

Slide projectors, banners, traffic reflectors, and misc. small items.


Public Star Parties
Public Star Parties are scheduled throughout the year at various sites, and are a regular tradition and activity of SLAS. Members are urged to attend, operate a telescope and answer questions whenever possible. Consult the NOVA, the SLAS web site or the SLAS Star Party brochure for dates and times. A tentative schedule is drafted at the December transitional Board meeting and then presented to the membership for approval at the January General Meeting.

Public Sun Parties
Public Sun Parties may be scheduled throughout the year at various locations published in the NOVA, the SLAS web site and Star Party brochure. Special equipment is necessary for solar observing. Contact a Board member for more information.

Private SLAS Star Parties
SLAS members plan private star parties for members and their families. These may be overnight camping or late night star parties. No public announcement is made. Location and directions are decided upon at the General meetings before the event. When possible, information is also published in the NOVA and posted on the SLAS web site. The date and length of parties vary, but always occur around new moon.

Special Star Parties
Special star parties for schools, groups, and special events are arranged through the Board of Directors.  A Board member is assigned to coordinate volunteers and arrangements. Contact the designated Board member or check the NOVA or SLAS web site for information. Dates are announced at meetings and volunteers are always needed! For requests, contact the Board representative. Donations accepted.

Summer and Winter Solstice Parties (Socials)
A summer party is often held at SPOC. The Star-B-Q is announced in the NOVA and at meetings.

A Winter Solstice party is held in December. The time and place are announced in the NOVA and at meetings.  Reservations are required.  Funding comes in part from membership dues. Contest prizes are awarded and entertainment provided.  The Solstice party committee oversees the event.

Field Trips and Conferences
Riverside Telescope Makers Conference (RTMC).  Other field trips and conferences announced in the NOVA, on the SLAS web site and at meetings.

Yearly Events, Programs, and Activities

An Astronomy Picture Contest is sponsored yearly and open to members. Rules and categories are announced in the NOVA and a contest chairperson is appointed.  A monthly astronomy picture contest is also held at each general meeting.

The Messier Marathon is held during the month of March on or near new moon, the best time to observe all Messier objects in one night.  The event is generally held at SPOC, and those wishing to participate sometimes observe until sunrise. The 16" telescope is sometimes utilized. Members are encouraged to use private telescopes as well.  An alternate evening is chosen in case of poor weather. This is a private SLAS event and is not advertised to the public.

Slastrofest may be held yearly at a remote site and is primarily organized for new members who get basic instruction in general astronomy, telescope and equipment usage, astrophotography, and other elements of amateur observing from experienced members. This helps make star gazing more fun.

National Astronomy Day is held in April or May. Activities may be planned as a daytime event for the public, and is generally followed by an evening star party. Contact the Board for more information.

Space Week is a yearly event celebrating the Lunar Landing in 1969. When activities are planned, members may be asked to assist with public information or a booth at a designated site.

Miscellaneous other events may be planned by SLAS  or science organizations when astronomical events take place (such as eclipses, comets, impacts and grazing events).


Each year the Society sponsors an astronomical contest for members, and occasionally permit entries from nonmembers as well. The rules are distributed in the NOVA or at meetings toward the beginning of the observing season (March), and members are encouraged to participate. No registration is required until submission of entries, usually in November. There may be an entry fee, based on the yearly budget and at the discretion of the contest chairperson.

Prizes in various categories are awarded at the December Solstice party, and include a certificate of award.  Depending on the budget, the party chairperson may also award gifts or cash. Participants are encouraged to display entries for the Society at the party or the November meeting prior to the ceremony. Contestants need not be present to win.

Various categories are decided upon prior to the beginning of the contest. Participants may enter more than one category, and may wish to advise the contest chairperson of special arrangements that are needed for display or return of entries. Categories in the past have included colored and black-and-white astrophotography of stellar or planetary objects; astronomical art; observing program; telescope or equipment design and construction, etc.

NEW MEMBER SURVEY  - Please note this survey will be available to fill out online soon.

To better serve the membership of SLAS, please complete the following survey and return it to:

Attn: Board President, New Member Survey
P.O. Box 26114
SLC., Utah

* What was the main reason or reasons you joined the organization? (Use 1 for the most important, 2 for next important, etc. Fill in "other" if not listed.
___Learn more about astronomy             ___Share knowledge with others
___Companionship and mutual interests     ___Utilize or share resources
___Expand present scientific knowledge    ___Socialize or meet people

* What are your main interests as an amateur astronomer. (Use 1 for the most important)
___Meetings and speakers ___ Star parties                 ___Mini-classes
___Resources/equipment   ___Telescope making              ___Astrophotography
___Magazines, books, etc ___School star parties/education ___Mythology and history

* What is your present knowledge of astronomy and related sciences?
___Beginner or novice ___Moderate ___Well informed ___Expert/professional

* Would you like to get involved as a volunteer on committees, at star parties,
  special events.
___Yes, call me at the following telephone:_______ - _______ - ______________

* What can this organization do to improve the experience of new members?






Revised: October 13, 2007.

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