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Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club
The Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club is a group of like-minded astronomy enthusiasts who appreciate and observe the wonders of our universe. The CAAC was established in 1954 by local astronomy devotees, Charlotte Kelly and Forrest Selby who sought to share their experiences with other individuals in their area. We currently have approximately 150 members of various experience levels – from the beginner to the most advanced, serving an eight-to-ten county geography roughly centered on Charlotte, North Carolina.
Each month, club members gather as a group for a meeting to share our night and day-time sky observing experiences and to hear from speakers who present a multitude of astronomy related topics to our members in their lectures.
Throughout the year, the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club sponsors several community and private events to share our passion of the night sky at star parties. Here, club members assemble with their telescopes and allow the public to view the magnificence of the heavens that they have most likely only seen in books.
The Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club’s greatest physical asset is the "Gayle H. Riggsbee Observatory" where club members gather under dark skies, away from bright city lights, to view and photograph celestial objects using their own personal equipment or one of the club’s three large telescopes.
To share our passion for amateur astronomy with the community through education and public outreach while providing the highest value astronomy club experience for our members. It is through this sharing process that we will work to build a greater appreciation of the dark night sky that will help protect its natural beauty from the encroachment of artificial lighting.
In the winter of 1954, Charlotte Abbott Kelly, the wife of Dr. Luther Kelly Sr., and Forrest Selby, retired principal of Charlotte Technical High School found that they shared an intense interest in astronomy. Charlotte had taken astronomy courses at the University of Virginia where she, as an undergraduate, had operated the University's large refractor. Forrest had built Charlotte's largest telescope, a 9" Newtonian Reflector, which was mounted at the rear of his home, 200 S. Laurel Avenue.
The first astronomy meeting was held at Selby's home on April 26, 1954. Later that year, officers were elected and a club constitution was written and adopted.