In 1974, the St. Augustine Record called for people in the area interested in starting a local astronomy club to contact the paper, and thus the Ancient City Astronomy Club (ACAC) was formed by Brenda and Lydel Guzman. Nine original members has multiplied to 110 stargazers today – the largest in club history. Paul Jones, who joined at age 19, remains the only original member. “We were beginners, just learning to use telescopes,” Paul reminisces. “George Christian, a high school teacher, was the only member with experience. He taught us in those early days.”
With 50 to 75 events annually, meetings occur on the first Monday of the month at the Center for Spiritual Living, and two official star parties are held at the Matanzas Inlet area with telescopes on hand for viewing. Laser pointer “Astronomy 101” lectures identify stars and constellations. Events for eclipses, full and super moons, meteor showers, comets, planetary conjunctions, and occultations as well as field trips to museums and Kennedy Space Center are organized.
“We truly enjoy what we do and learn something new every day (and night)!,” says Paul. “It is wonderful to introduce people to the splendor of the universe and make it easy to understand.”
Learn more about the Ancient City Astronomy Club by visiting www.acacstaugfl.org. Written by Lauren Eastman. Photography by David Steele.