A Brief History of the Huachuca Astronomy Club

We extend our gratitude to Karen Peitsmeyer, a longtime member and former officer of HAC, for providing us with many documents and articles pertaining to HAC activities over the years since its founding. The following article appeared in the Bisbee Daily Review / Sierra Vista Herald on December 29, 1985:

Bisbee Daily Review / Sierra Vista Herald

December 29, 1985

“The first meeting was called by Dave Patterson on April 26, 1981, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. A highlight of 1981 was the visit of Dr. Bart Bok from Steward Observatory in Tucson. He spoke on “The Bigger and Better Milky Way.” Several members of the Tucson club came to Sierra Vista to hear the program. The club was formally organized on June 6, 1982, when a constitution and bylaws were adopted and officers were elected. Dave Patterson was elected the first president. In 1983 three club members, Dave and June Patterson and Ralph Peters, were serving as volunteers at Flandrau Planetarium in Tucson. They were going there every Tuesday to serve in such capacities as floor manager, tending the gift shop and operating the 16-inch telescope. Jo Ellen Snyder was elected president in October 1983 and re-elected in 1984. Ralph Peters continued as chief observer, handing out an observer’s report each month at the meetings. The club had grown to almost 30 members, including several students. They were putting on an evening star party for some of the elementary schools in the area, following their study of the solar system with several telescopes set up at the various schools with club members present to provide information for the public. A chart of Halley’s Comet path through the skies was donated to the Sierra Vista Public Library. Programs sponsored by the club have included speakers from Steward Observatory, the Flandrau Planetarium and Kitt Peak National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The club’s current president, Bill Kukes, was elected in October. In November the club had an exhibit on comets at the Fort Huachuca library. Approximately 20 members of the public saw Halley’s Comet at the Dec. 1 star party on Yaqui Road. Starting in January the club’s program meetings will be held at the Oscar Yrun Community Center on the third Sunday, and star parties will be held at the Huachuca Amateur Radio group’s facility on Moson Road. There will be an elementary school star party in January.”