June 1 was the grand opening of the Bare Dark Sky Observatory at Mayland Community College’s Earth to Sky Park in Burnsville. It is named after Warren and Larissa Bare, two of the project’s most significant donors. The observatory features a Newtonian telescope with a 34-inch mirror, making it the largest reflecting scope open to the public in the region. Sir Isaac Newton built the first telescope of this kind to view celestial objects without the chromatic aberration characteristic of refracting scopes. This one is nicknamed the Sam Scope in memory of Samuel Phillips, whose family donated the funds needed to build it. The concave mirror was crafted by Lockwood Custom Optics, and the body was built by Starstructure Telescopes, which specializes in metal instrumentation capable of withstanding extremes in weather. The Sam Scope is strong enough for viewing the jet stream and Saturn’s rings. A smaller telescope, also on premises, is adequate for routine viewing of planets and the Moon. The whole observatory was funded through $600,000 in private donations and grants. Members of the public may buy advance-only tickets for two-hour sessions led by skilled staff, and groups of up to twenty may rent the facility for up to four hours at a time. Guests must shuttle up to the location, which has received recognition from the International Dark-Sky Association for its lack of light trespass.