The Shenandoah Valley Stargazers is an amateur astronomy club who share their love and excitement for the cosmos with each other and at public outreach events throughout the Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta and Rockingham County, Virginia.
Is their a age limit to join?
No! People of all ages, families, or individuals can join.
Do I need any prior experience to join?
Nope! Our club has members who are complete beginners to life long hobbyists, to people who actually work or teach in the field of astronomy and astrophysics.
Do I need to own equipment or a telescope to join?
Not at all! You can attend any outreach event and countless other members will have various types of equipment they are more than happy to let you observe through. Don't rush your first telescope purchase if you can wait :-)
Does the club have any loaner telescopes?
Club members can request to loan out a 8 in Orion Dobsonian telescope. If you are not a club member but live in Augusta County, the Staunton City Library has two telescopes available to load out apart of their library telescope loaner program!
Where can I learn more about buying my first telescope?
Amateur astronomy can be a expensive hobby, (key word, can be). If you're looking for your first telescope, we recommend asking other club members for suggestions and advice and letting them know your budget. Once you're a member, you can send out a email via the listserv that reaches everyone where we know several people will be eager to invite you to observe together and get some hands on using their various telescopes. To begin with, expect to pay anywhere between $250 - $400 to get started if shopping for a smaller telescope. After that, the sky (pun intended) is the limit.
Is the club welcoming to all?
We sure hope so! We have members from all walks of life, genders, identities, orientations, races, colors, creed, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We are well aware that the hobby, globally, is predominantly dominated by men over 40. We hope we can lead by example and continue to grow a diverse roster of members who come together for their shared love for the night sky and heavens.