The Villages Astronomy Club is a lifestyle club of The Villages, FL. Our purpose is to enrich the lives of Villages residents through astronomy, and to share education on astronomy, space exploration, and space sciences with residents, guests, and the local community.
Residents of The Villages may join the club by signing up and paying dues at our general meetings. Members of The Villages Astronomy Club will also gain the benefits of membership in the Astronomical League, as The Villages Astronomy Club is a member society of the League. This includes the quarterly Reflector newsletter, discounts at many astronomy retailers, access to the League's many observing programs and their online resources.
Non-residents may join our email list, and those in the local area can join us on Facebook as well. Our monthly newsletter is distributed via the email list, as well as event announcements and other items of interest in astronomy and space exploration. We also hold many community events outside The Villages where all are welcome. Non-residents near The Villages are encouraged to join The Fruitland Park Astronomy Group, our sister club outside The Villages. See our calendar for the location and dates of meetings of the Fruitland Park group.
Residents of The Villages may attend our Space Academy and Telescope Workshop events without being formal members of the club.
Some History of Our Club
The Villages Astronomy Club was founded as The Villages Stargazers in 1988 by Dominic Accettullo. He was the primary speaker at the meetings, and the original Starry Starry Night events were hosted by him and his wife Dimitri at their home, with telescopes set up on their back porch.
Ray Johnson served as the original "What's Up Tonight" speaker at the club's meetings, providing information on current observation opportunities and astronomical events. Ray also served as the club secretary and Villages contact for over a decade.
Dominic served as the club's president until 1995, when the role was transferred to Chuck Knaus, who remained president for the next decade. During Chuck's time as president, The Villages began to sponsor our Starry Starry Night stargazing events in 1997, with telescopes set up on the outfields of baseball diamonds 2 and 3 at the original baseball park in The Villages.
The Alachua Astronomy Club of Gainesville was an important ally of The Villages club in its early days, bringing their telescopes and expertise to our Starry Starry Nights events, as well as providing speakers at some of our meetings.