As of February 17, 2021
To protect the health of our employees, guests, and the community from exposure to COVID-19, the Fox Observatory is currently closed.
For the latest information regarding the reopening of parks and facilities, visit coronavirus updates.
If you’ve ever paid more than passing attention to what goes on in the sky after dark, you may be a candidate for membership in the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAAA). This nonprofit organization has been around since 1965 and is dedicated to, as its Website puts it, “bringing the universe closer to all South Floridians.” The SFAAA makes its home at Markham Park, where every Saturday night at dusk, it opens the park’s Fox Observatory to the public for free stargazing until midnight.
Among the telescopic equipment at the group’s disposal are a pair of Schmidt-Cassegrains, a Brandon refractor, three Dobson reflectors, and a 12-inch Newtonian. Both Schmidt-Cassegrains are fitted with imagers that offset the effects of light pollution.
If none of this makes much sense to you, don’t worry. The SFAAA’s members are there to help you learn about such gear and how it operates. They often even bring along their own ’scopes, so that on a clear night there may be as many as 15 set up in various spots around the observatory.
The group also has its monthly meetings at the Fox at 7:30 p.m. the first Thursday of the month, open to the public, and there are monthly members-only events as well. Regular club dues are $20; student memberships are $10. One membership fee covers the entire family and includes the SFAAA’s monthly newsletter.