Alachua Astronomy Club

Alachua Astronomy Club, Inc.

2603 NW 13th St., PMB 161

Gainesville FL 32609-2835


Telephone: (352) 389-1638


The Alachua Astronomy Club, Inc. (AAC) is an informal group of people who enjoy looking at stars and planets and who love to communicate their excitement about the heavens to others.

All monthly meetings are free and open to the public!

The AAC was founded September 1987 when Dr. Armen C. Tarjan (Charlie) contacted astronomy professor Howard L. Cohen and asked if Gainesville had an astronomy club. Professor Cohen responded, "Not any longer, but do you want to start one!" The AAC flourished over the next eleven years and was incorporated as a not for profit organization under the laws of the State of Florida on the fifteenth day of the month of January 1999 at 17:08 Universal Time.

Professor Cohen helped organize an earlier astronomy club, the Florida Astronomical Society (FAS), which published a news letter called "Astrolog". FAS existed during the early and mid-1970's.

For more information on the club's early history, see the AAC Tenth Year Anniversary Edition of FirstLight (the club's newsletter).

The Alachua Astronomy Club is a public, not for profit entity, exempt from federal income tax under section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, organized to promote the science of astronomy by:

  • Providing opportunities for the local community to learn about and become interested in astronomy, such as, but not limited to, astronomy lectures, demonstrations, and sky observing events.
  • Making astronomy in general more accessible and visible to the general public, through public and media outreach.
  • Providing opportunities, at low cost, for its general membership to learn and improve skills related to amateur astronomy, such as, but not limited to, sky observing, amateur scientific research, and the selection, construction, and use of astronomical equipment.

AAC activities provide opportunities for its general membership to get together and participate in a variety of general astronomy related activities. The affairs of the club are conducted and managed by a Board of Directors. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in astronomy. No knowledge of astronomy is needed and no equipment is necessary. There is no age limit.

Astronomy is one of few disciplines where amateurs have access to the same data that professional astronomers use. Amateur astronomers make useful contributions to astronomy and are respected by the professional community.

Join and help us explore the universe. Members involve themselves in various activities including telescope making, sky watching, astrophotography and various public demonstrations and star parties. Some club members also devote considerable time visiting schools and clubs to encourage interest in astronomy and the space sciences.

No knowledge of astronomy is needed and all age groups are welcome. Monthly meetings feature club or guest speakers (sometimes from the University of Florida). Once a month, or on special occasions, the AAC holds evening star parties for members. The club also has a telescope that members can borrow. Star parties are a good place for beginners to become acquainted with the sky and learn about telescopes before purchasing their own.

FirstLight: The AAC publishes a monthly newsletter, FirstLight, devoted to club activities and astronomy topics.

Monthly Meetings: The AAC announces its monthly meetings and public events in the calendar. Monthly meetings usually feature a guest speaker (university professor, etc.) or a club member.

Star Parties: General club star parties are usually held on a selected Saturday each month within 10 miles of Gainesville (site selected at each monthly meeting). Club members bring telescopes who share viewing with members who have no telescopes of their own. Other members often meet to observe on other nights. Check the star party calendar for more information.

Other Activities: The Alachua Astronomy Club also holds occasional public star parties at schools, art festivals and at other public events (e.g., Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Moonlight Walks). Club members also volunteer to visit school classes, youth groups and clubs.

The George H. Russell Prize: The AAC also gives a small prize each year to the best astronomy science projects at the Alachua County Regional Science Fair (called the George H. Russell Prize after one the the club's founding members, George H. Russell).


A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling Toll-Free (800-435-7352) within the State (or 850-488-2221 from outside of Florida). Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the State. Note: Our tax exempt listing is shown in IRS Publication 78, a comprehensive list of all approved organizations in the United States.