HISTORY OF THE LETHBRIDGE ASTRONOMY SOCIETY
The Lethbridge Stargazers Club, a group of about six amateur astronomers began meeting at a local elementary school in 1984. Their first viewing session was held on Astronomy Day in April, 1985 at Nicholas Sheran Park. In 1986, the meetings moved to the Helen Schuler Nature Centre and membership rapidly increased. The club became incorporated under the Alberta Societies Act in 1988 and was renamed the Lethbridge Astronomy Society.
Educating the public about astronomy and space science became the primary mandate of the Society. The core educational program includes special public events, structured educational programs to schools, children’s groups (cubs, scouts, guides etc.) and acting as a resource to local news media. Beginning in 1990, we formed an important and long-lasting linkage with the University of Lethbridge, hosting labs for students in the Physics and Astronomy department.
In 1991, the Lethbridge Astronomy Society moved to its current location in Popson Park. The two storey “Centre Building” is leased from the City of Lethbridge, for which we are extremely grateful. Over the intervening years, the Society added the surrounding deck, observing pads and the Rick Ponomar Astronomical Lab (“The Dome”) in a separate building. These initiatives were possible through grants from the Province of Alberta and a great deal of volunteer labour from our members.
Our most recent major projects include the construction of an additional 600 sq. ft. observing platform and the installation of a very large scale model of the Solar System within the City of Lethbridge and surrounding region (described elsewhere on this website).
Through its 40 year history, The Lethbridge Astronomy Society has matured into very well-equipped and widely-known astronomical society. We have forged enduring links with local community organizations and strive to provide high quality education programs to the public. We look forward to an even more ambitious future.