The Marian and Max Farash Center for Observational Astronomy

Our Observing Site

Through gracious donations from Marion and Max Farash and the Louis S. Wolk Foundation, ASRAS has been able to acquire a large piece of land well away from the city lights. Our site, called the Marian and Max Farash Center for Observational Astronomy, serves as the centerpiece of the group's activities.

We are located at
8355 County Road 14
Ionia, NY

GPS address: 42.930976,-77.496872
42°55'46.7" N 77°30'01.7" W

A wide angle panoramic view of our observing site

A view of all three observatories at the top of the ridge

Like what you see ?
You can get a Key to allow you access to these wonderful facilities by speaking with site manager Bob McGovern. He can fill you in on the requirements to get a key. Look for him at the next meeting or EMAIL him

The Wolk Observatory

1997 saw the completion of the Louis S. Wolk Building. This facility serves as educational facility, library, meeting building, and much more. It's the literal and figurative heart of the club. Observers also have access to several pads, complete with power for those needing to run their drives and cameras.

Inside the Wolk Education Center

Inside the classroom at the Wolk Education Center

Our tidy little kitchen

Our Library

Our lounge area in the basement of the education center

The 17.5 inch Dob and Dob Barn

Our newest addition to the site is the 17.5 inch Dobsonian reflector located on the back deck of the Wolk education center.
This telescope is a 17.5" F/4.5 Newtonian on a Dobsonian mount made by Sky Designs and donated by Dr. Al Ureles.

It is housed in its own dedicated shed on the wall in the northeast corner of the deck. The small handtruck located in the scopes closet is used to move the scope out onto the cement platform located in the middle of the deck.

The Cave RollOff

2001 saw completion of two significant observatory construction projects adjacent to the Wolk Building. In the first, a large roll-off roof observatory now houses our 16 inch Cave Newtonian reflecting telescope.

The 16 inch Cave Newtonian telescope on its equatorial mount.

Members Frank Bov and Joe Alteri discuss the use of the scope.

The RollOff is now motorized, making it even easier to access.

The Small Dome

The second project completed in 2001 was a small observatory with a 6 foot dome which now houses a 8" Meade Schmidt Cassegrainian telescope. This building is scheduled to get a new dome shutter to make it easier to use next year.

In addition, two large Newtonian telescopes (17" and 20") are available on Dobsonian mounts.
The 20 " Dobsonian is housed in our recently completed Wolk rolloff building.

The Farash Obsevatory (Big Dome)

2005 saw the completion of another major project, the The Farash Observatory. (also known as the BigDome). A 12 foot clamshell style dome sits high above a warm room housing the computers that can remotely control the scope and imaging cameras. This observatory has just recently been upgraded to include a brand new Celestron CGE-pro equatorial mount and a 2032mm (10 inch) @ focal length = F8 Astro Tech astrograph scope. This facility is primarily intended for astrophotography, with the computer controlling cameras, focusing motors, and so on. Users can mount a small refractor on the main scope, using either scope for guiding and/or imaging.

Luke Leege poses with the brand new CGE-pro and Astro-Tech Astrograph scope

The Wolk rolloff

The Wolk observatory is a second rolloff that was completed in 2009.
The building houses a 20 inch , f/4 Dobsonian telescope by Sky Designs.

The Brew house

In 2013 ASRAS took ownership of Brews private observatory to allow use by members.

The "Brewhaus" outside view

This observatory features a Meade 12 inch SCT on a go-to fork mount. It is capable of astro-photography and is mounted on a polar aligned pier.
It is an f/10 with a focal reducer for f/6.3. It is equipped with a Robo focuser unit and is close to having the capability for remote operation. It does have a dovetail on the scope that is the wider losmandy type for mounting your own guide scope.

The NEW Solar Observatory

2012 saw the design, construction, and "first light" of our new solar observatory. It is located right at the top of the hill to the south of the Tinsley bldg :

The observatory is equiped with a dedicated Lunt 100mm refrator and a second high quality refractor mounted side-by-side on a losmandy Gemini 2 mount for viewing in both Hydrogen alpha and white light :

These instruments allow for direct viewing of the sun or imaging using video cameras to a new PC setup and dedicated for this purpose. Group viewing is also available using the video camera and large screen monitor :

The Tinsley Dome

The Tinsley Dome houses a completely re-furbished 12 inch True Cassegrain telescope made by the Tinsley company back in the 1960's.
The scope was donated to the club and through the efforts of many gracious donors has been completely re-built to better than new condition. The main and secondary mirrors have been re-coated with modern reflective materials and the equatorial mounts tracking drive system has been upgraded to a precision stepper motor design. The Tinsley's long focal length makes it ideal for planetary viewing and imaging.


Download Large Area Map PDF

Link to Google Maps


We are located at
8355 County Road 14
Ionia, NY

GPS address: 42.930976,-77.496872
42°55'46.7" N 77°30'01.7" W

From the West:

Take Route 490 to Route 390 (South), get off at Route 590 (north) Take 590 to the Monroe Ave Exit, and go Right at the light (Monroe Ave). When you get to the Village of Pittsford, take a right onto Route 64 (South).

From the East:

Thruway (I90) west to Exit 45
(Victor / Rte. 96) Take Route 96 South (this will be a left turn) Turn right on Route 251 West (it's about 2 miles down Rte 96, you'll pass a car dealership just before the turn).
Turn left on Route 64 South (you'll come to the village of Mendon about 5 or 6 miles down. Rte 64 is the first stop light on Rte 251).

Directions For Both (once you get to Rte 64):

After about 8 to 10 miles, watch for the Ontario County sign, a horse farm on the right, and a gravel pit on the left. After those landmarks, you'll a quarter mile or so go up a hill. Just past the top of that hill is a road to the right -- Elton Road -- and a small sign pointing to Ionia. Take that right.

A hundred yards over the hill is the (very small) town of Ionia. Immediately turn right at the four corners in town. A few hundred feet later you will see a cemetery on the left. Immediately past the cemetery is a dark gray house with white trim; immediately past the gray house is the gravel road entrance to our site, with a bright yellow gate.