Oak Ridge Observatory


In addition to operating the Foothill Observatory, the P.A.S. has its own private observatory in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. This location has room for members to set up their own telescopes and there is AC power available. Buildings at the site house the Society’s 12″ and 16″ telescopes; the 12″ telescope is available for member use (after being checked out on it). The 16″ telescope is not currently available pending repairs to the dome.

The Oak Ridge site is available only to current PAS members that have a signed “Oak Ridge Disclaimer” on file and have paid the $75 annual use fee.

Oak Ridge Use Fee

The Oak Ridge Use Fee was increased by the Board on April 14, 2022. See below.

At the April 2013 Board Meeting, the Board discussed several options for keeping Oak Ridge Observatory and Property a viable asset for our Members.  Oak Ridge property insurance, taxes and other expenses constitute fully HALF of the annual PAS budget.  In recent years, the property taxes and Oak Ridge Road Association bill (used for road maintenance primarily) has gone up considerably.

Much was debated, including letting go of the property.  We felt that would be a HUGE mistake, as we are one of the few astronomy clubs in the Bay Area with their own dark sky site within reasonable travel distance, and two observatories on the property to boot!

The Board came up with a reasonable solution – charge a nominal USE FEE for those PAS members using the site.  We did not feel it was right to increase member dues to ALL PAS members and spread the cost that way, since many members do not even use the site.  We hope you all agree with our decision.  The USE FEE will of course be in addition to your annual membership dues should you decide to make use of the Oak Ridge property.

As of October 2021, there are now two steps to obtaining access to the PAS Oak Ridge property. First a member must sign (electronically) the current Oak Ridge Disclaimer form – send an email to admin@pastro.org requesting a copy of the Oak Ridge Disclaimer. Once this has been done the member will then be able to log in to this web site and subscribe to the Oak Ridge Access plan by paying the appropriate fee (currently $75 per year). This will give them access to the Oak Ridge Combos page where the combinations to the various facilities at Oak Ridge can be found as well as a map to the location.

The Board also realizes that Membership expiration dates and Oak Ridge Disclaimer expiration dates can (and probably will) be different.  Not a problem.  Please remember you MUST be a PAID MEMBER for access to Oak Ridge, so please keep your Membership current.  Membership can be paid on-line with PayPal as always (or with a check to the P.O. Box).  If you let your Membership expire, you will be dropped from the Oak Ridge Access List.

At the April 2022 Board Meeting, the Board again discussed the cost of keeping Oak Ridge a viable asset for our members. Costs have been increasing and membership dues have been decreasing. Because of this the Board decided to increase the Oak Ridge Access subscription plan to $75 per year. We hope everyone understands and appreciates the need for doing this.

In 2021, the club spent $ 3139.42 to support the Oak Ridge site. This amounted to approximately 90% of the clubs total income for the year ($3,498.85 from Club Dues, Oak Ridge Access Fees and Donations from members) and approximately 79% of total club expenses for the year ($3985.59 total including Oak Ridge Expenses, Insurance required by Foothill for operating the Observatory, PO Box Rental Fee and Fees associated with maintaining the club website).

View of the Sky Above Oak Ridge Observatory

View a map of the sky above Oak Ridge Observatory!

Clear Sky Chart