About
Rockland Astronomy Club

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.

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Featuring

Dark Sky Observing Sites
Exclusive permitted viewing sites provide you with the darkest sky locations in the region. Whether or not you own a telescope, Rockland Astronomy provides the finest equipment available, along with expert narration to make your experience both exciting and memorable.

Star Parties
The Summer Star PartyTM is the longest dark-sky event held in the United States. A fantastic 10-day family vacation under the pristine skies of the Berkshire Mountains. Throughout the year, our Special Events and Joy of the UniverseTM (JOU) star parties will introduce you to the wonders of the night sky.

Education
Planetarium shows, workshops, films, demon-strations, and monthly lectures by professors and leading authorities are just a few of the exciting events that make Rockland Astronomy the perfect educational choice for you. Don’t miss our educational Children’s Space & Astronomy FairTM (CSAF), an event which draws more than 1,000 people, and the annual Northeast Astro Imaging ConferenceTM (NEAIC), one of the most eagerly anticipated astronomical imaging conferences in the U.S.

America’s Premier Astronomy Forum
RAC hosts the largest and most exciting space, science, and astronomy show in the United States, the Northeast Astronomy ForumTM (N), featuring world-renowned speakers, workshops, solar observing, planetarium shows and America’s largest astronomy exhibitor floor.

Expeditions
Rockland Astronomy Club organizes expedi-tions to global destinations in search of truly once-in-a-lifetime events. You can also join one of our excursions to many of the great observatories in the world.

History

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.


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.

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.

The Rockland Astronomy Club continues to grow and create important public programs to enrich the awareness of space and astronomy. Now, as a 501c3 educational organization with 250 members and volunteers, RAC’s mission to bring these kinds of educational programs and outreach to the general public and to the astronomical community is even more focused.