Memphis Astronomical Society Observing

Visitors are always welcome at meetings and our pubic observing sessions. Members with telescopes will be happy to show you celestial objects and point out features of the sky not visible in Memphis or other large cities because of light pollution.

The Memphis Astronomical Society has regular observing sessions at Burton’s Sugar Farm, a very dark site. The property is private, so we generally use the area on clear moonless nights which occurs 1-2 times a month. See calendar for observing dates.

In addition we have had sessions at the following areas.

  • Hinton Park (Telescope mentoring opportunity)
  • Shelby Farms
  • Shelby Forest
  • Marquette Park
  • Bobby Lanier Farm Park
  • and many others.

Our members can enjoy our exclusive dark sky site near Somerville, Tennessee. The site should be ready by the end of August.


  • No smoking in the observing area, within 150 feet of the telescopes.
  • No use of firearms on the premises.
  • No drinking of alcoholic beverages in the observing area. 
  • An adult member of the Society must be present at all observing sessions. An adult supervisor will have the authority to conduct the session in the best interest of all attending.
  • Parking is permitted only in designated areas. If you arrive after the scheduled beginning of the observing session, turn off your headlights or park at least 150 feet away from the telescopes.
    No flashlights permitted without a red filter within 150 feet of the telescopes.
  • Cellular telephones may not be used in the observing area unless they are dimmed and/or equipped with a red filter.
  • If children are present, they must not be permitted to run in the observing area.
  • Each person must remove his own trash from the premises.
    Members and visitors attending observing sessions and using the site do so at their own risk. 
Village Creek State Park near Forrest City, AR


Burton Sugar Farms Location

Hinton Park Location

telescope mentoring


Under the guidance of a mentor, learn to skillfully operate your telescope, hone your ability to navigate the heavens and identify various celestial objects. As the mentor shares their expertise and enthusiasm, the learner gains not only technical proficiency but also a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the cosmos.

Outreach Info

Star Parties

Astronomy star parties offer an enchanting experience for stargazers, as they gather under the night sky to observe celestial wonders with telescopes and naked eyes. These events promote a sense of wonder and camaraderie, fostering a deeper appreciation for the cosmos and its myriad of beautiful stars, planets and deep-sky objects. 

Star Parties Page


Star Charts

We know you can use an app to point at any star in the sky. But sometimes its fun to turn off technology and unplug for a while. This way you can go on a celestial treasure hunt and use the map to find constellations and deep sky objects that are visible to the naked eye. We recommend you use these maps at dark sky sites such as Burton’s Sugar Farm. With light pollution present in the city, you will not find 90% objects on this map. These maps were designed by the Memphis Astronomical Society for use at our 35°N Memphis latitude.

View Star Maps


Messier Marathon

Join our quest to see all 110 Messier objects in the night sky in one night. Warning, this is an “all nighter”. Use this link for more information.

More info

telescope tricks

Telescopes Tips and Tricks

Helpful Information on Telescopes.

View Tips Page

M.A.S. Awards Programs

Basic Observing Awards: In keeping with our mission of “promoting understanding of the science of astronomy” we are happy to offer our MAS Awards Program.  Members can participate and earn recognition by completing one of or all four modules:



Sun module- coming soon

Deep Space Objects module- coming soon

For anyone just beginning their astronomy study, working towards the Basic Stars/Constellations/Planets award will provide a solid foundation.  In addition to offering the self-study module, members of the Memphis Astronomical Society can assist through a “Mentor” program to help you get started and stay on track as your passion for astronomy grows.

The Messier Observing Awards – One award is offered for observing 80 of the objects in this catalog, another is offered for observing the remaining. See the links in the table below for instructions and record forms.

Messier Form


The Variable Star Award – The only science in which amateurs can still make a genuine contribution is astronomy. One of the most valuable contributions an amateur can make is the observation of variable stars. See additional information in the links located in the table below.

MAS Variable Star Award

Member forms and other documents:
Observation Record