(MPC Site Code 918)
"A privately owned facility dedicated to Astronomical Research & Education"
Web page maintained
by the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium
(Last updated on September 30, 2019)
Badlands Observatory is located within the town of Quinn, SD (pop 72), which is about 6 mi. east of Wall, SD (pop 834), and about 60 mi. east of Rapid City, SD (pop 55,000). Quinn itself is located on the very northern edge of Badlands National Park. The name was derived from Ma-koo-si-tcha, or "land bad" by the Lakota people. The Badlands have become world famous for their rich history and stark beauty, as well as being a veritable paradise for Paleontologists, by containing one of the largest deposits of vertebrate fossils anywhere. It is not often mentioned that this area also contains some of the darkest skies available in North America. It is known that dark skies are a vanishing natural resource, and this can easily be verified by examining night time NASA satellite images of the Earth. With the exception of minor sky glow in the direction of Wall and Rapid City, the skies at Quinn regularly yield unaided eye magnitudes around +6.5, or better. Badlands Observatory has been able to take advantage of this resource through cooperative action taken by the City of Quinn, and the West River Electric Association. They have voluntarily replaced and/or altered existing street light fixtures so that very little light is scattered into the night sky.
Telescope Student Image M-16 Eagle Nebula Triangulum Galaxy
|Observatory Tour||Telescope Making|
Work at Badlands Observatory
- Observation Summary Page
|Who Is Ron Dyvig?|
|Public Access||Contact Badlands Observatory|
|Image Gallery||See SD Public TV's episode on Badlands Observatory|
|History||"Star Gazing": An article on Badlands Observatory Courtesy of South Dakota's Electric Cooperatives|
|Looking for Killer Asteroids||Rapid City high school student wins 2002 Science Fair for Astronomy Project|
|Badlands Observatory "Clear Sky Clock"|
Stardust Mission - NASA's amazing mission to capture comet dust and return it to Earth! Stardust Spacecraft encountered the comet on January 2, 2004. Of special interest, is that Badlands Observatory providing very useful telescopic observational data to NASA on the comet's position.
SEDS: Students for the Exploration & Development of Space. Use Search Engine as an Encyclopedia of Astronomy
(service provided by SD Space
If you have questions, comments or suggestions regarding this website, please refer them to Ron Dyvig at Badlands Observatory