Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, the Rockland Astronomy Club has your particular interest in mind. Founded in 1958, RAC is one of the East Coast’s premiere astronomy clubs and non-profit space, science, and astronomy education organiza-tions. We're your portal to the wonders of the Universe through our out-standing events, lectures, workshops, star parties, planetarium shows, children’s programs, and much more.
Pride in Education
Rockland Astronomy offers some of the best observing opportunities in the region, but astronomy is much more than looking at the night sky. With programs for beginners, advanced enthusiasts, and children of every age, our experts will guide you through every aspect of amateur astronomy.
For the curious and more advanced, our lecture series, hosted by well-known astro-imagers, researchers and professors, broaches topics from the basic to the cutting edge of cosmology and technology.
For the beginner, you can learn how to select equipment which best suits
your interest and budget. Learn how to find your way around the night sky, as well as the use of star charts and software to locate and identify constellations, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, double stars, and more.
The Cold War was raging and amateur radio operators began reporting that they could hear signals from space. There were huge newspaper headlines and people were upset and concerned. It was October 4, 1957 and the Soviets had just placed a satellite in orbit. The world was shocked and would never be the same again.
However, for a small group of neighbors in Rockland County, it was a chance to get together and look up to the night sky for the new Russian satellite called Sputnik. In fact, they had such a splendid time scanning the sky with binoculars that they all agreed to reconvene in a few months. One of the neighbors even promised to bring along a new telescope he had been tinkering with.
By 1958 a new agency called NASA had been formed to answer the space threat that had been posed by our Russian rivals, and our group of neighbors began meeting on a regular yet informal basis to explore the night sky. Word eventually spread of this fascinating ‘get-together’, and the group quickly grew beyond just neighbors and even attracted a soon to be prominent politician. By October of 1958, it was decided to form a club and Rockland Astronomy was born.
Leadership changed hands several times in the early years, but the interest and the club grew steadily, adding the Joy of the Universe (JOU) star parties in the early 1980’s; Summer Star Party (SSP) in the late 80’s; Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in 1991; Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC) in 2006; Children’s Space & Astronomy Fair (CSAF); Lecture Series (RLS) in the early 2000’s; and Northeast Pro/Am Conference (NPAC) in 2013.
Edwin Hirsch & Alan Green, early RAC members, look over an observing list at Lake Sebago in Harriman State Park, New York, c. 1984, Photo Courtesy Joe Folmer.
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