Best Bets: An evening with the stars

Published 6:35 am Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Sola Fide Observatory will be one of several locations throughout the state participating in Minnesota’s first Statewide Star Party from 7-11 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.

The event is being done in partnership with St. Paul’s Bell Museum, who reached out the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center during the summer about participating in the event. A list of other participating locations can be found at

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“We will be looking at the Moon, which is amazing,” said Nature Center Naturalist Intern Kelly Bahl, who has been helping organize the event at the Sola Fide Observatory. “We will have larger telescopes out and you’ll be able to see every crater, every nook and cranny and detail of the Moon. We’re celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing.”

The event will also feature activities such as hide and seek games, a comparison of the sizes of the Earth and moon and a chance to color a piece of the moon for a community mural.

“The observatory used to do star parties in the 90s, but those were more for those who had their own telescopes and had a general knowledge on the subject,” Bahl said. “We want people who don’t know about this stuff as well as those who do know this stuff to come out and participate.”

In the event of clouds or inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, where there will be hands-on activities and a small telescope in case of a break in the clouds.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, whether or not the weather will cooperate with us,” Bahl said. “If you’re curious about the observatory, we have done a lot of upgrades to it. It’s a great facility. If you have any questions about stars, planets or nebulas, we will answer them. It’s a chance to discover something new.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to or email

Schedule of Events


• Kay Sea Club Bingo, 5:30 p.m. at the Mower County Senior Center. Fifteen games to be played. Cost is $12 for a packet.

• Veterans Day Film Special – “Saving Private Ryan,” 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Paramount Theatre. Commemorate Veterans Day with this special screening of “Saving Private Ryan.” Free will donations accepted to benefit local veteran organization. Hosted by Spam Post 570, American Legion Post 91, VFW Post 1216, the Austin DAV, and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin. For more information, call 507-437-4583.


• Moscow Lutheran Church Hunter’s Lunch and Bake Sale, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Moscow Town Hall. Serving hearty chili, sandwiches, home-baked goodies, hot coffee and donuts.

• Austin Bruins vs. MN Wilderness, 7:05 p.m. at Riverside Arena. Go, Bruins! Tickets available at Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, Games People Play, Jim’s Marketplace and Riverside Arena. For more information, go to

• Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Paramount Theatre.  Galactic Cowboy Orchestra is back in Austin. Tickets $20 in advance or $25 at the door. For tickets or more information, go to or call 507-434-0934.


• Scandinavian Meatball Dinner, 11:30 a.m. at St. Olaf Lutheran Church. Seatings at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Menu includes homemade meatballs, mashed potatoes, baked beans, glazed carrots, coleslaw, lefse, pickled beets, cranberry relish and Scandinavian pastries. Tickets available at St. Olaf; $12 for adults, $7 ages 6-12, 5 and under free.

• Kay Sea Club Bingo, 1:30 p.m. at the Mower County Senior Center. Fifteen games to be played. Cost is $12 for a packet.

• US Air Force Band of Mid-America’s Midwest Winds Concert, 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church. The Midwest Winds woodwind quintet is an ambassador of the Air Force Band of Mid-America, communicating esprit de corps and rendering honor to our Airmen and country. The group offers a wide range of musical literature, including classical and contemporary music, marches, patriotic crowd pleasers, and light popular music. Admission to the concert is free and tickets are not required. For more information, call 507-433-3782.