The San Mateo County Astronomical Society began in 1960 as a private hobby club formed by four high school students. Initially governed by strict adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order and a quirky system of five-cent fines for protocol breaches, it has since transformed into a dynamic, community-oriented group. This evolution signifies a shift from a high school hobby club to a more vibrant and inclusive society focused on public outreach and astronomy. Emphasizing public outreach and astronomy education, the society transitioned from private gatherings to hosting free stargazing events and educational programs. After becoming a non-profit in 1976, the Society deepened its community roots, eventually contributing to the development of a planetarium and observatory at the College of San Mateo, furthering its mission of bringing the stars closer to everyone.

The journey of the San Mateo County Astronomical Society has been a remarkable one. From its early days meeting in a private home to its time in the San Mateo City Council Chambers, the Society found a long-term home at the College of San Mateo in 1962. Despite a brief hiatus due to funding cuts in 1978, the Society made a triumphant return in 2000, leading to the creation of the College’s first-ever planetarium and observatory in 2006-2007, complete with new telescopes and a robust public outreach program. This progression reflects the Society’s enduring commitment to astronomy and community engagement.

For more details on our history, please click on the following links: