In the late 1960s Dr. Joseph Dennison Fox completed his tenure as Professor of Astronomy and History at the University of Puerto Rico. He and his wife Sylvia then retired to North Miami near Miami Gardens Drive and US-1. He brought with him an optical tube assembly for a 6-inch f/15 refractor. This telescope, in its updated and restored state, resides in the Fox Observatory on the grounds of Broward County's Markham Park. (click for directions)
In 1965 the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association Inc. was formed. In 1970 Dr. Fox joined and in June of 1973 he donated the Brandon refractor to the club. The refractor was to be housed in a yet-to-be-built observatory located west of Fort Lauderdale. By July of 1974 it had been tentatively decided to name the observatory for Dr. Fox. Initial plans for the grounds, building and roof were drawn up 7-13-74. The County okayed the final architectural drawings on November 10, 1975, and the building permit was issued on Thursday, November 13. The observatory was officially named for Dr. Fox a week later, on the 20th. On Sunday, March 20th, 1977 at 4:30 p.m. (one year behind schedule) the Fox Astronomical Observatory was dedicated.
You can read more about Dr Fox, the history of the club, Fox Observatory and the Brandon Refractor here.
The Fox Observatory houses many great pieces of viewing equipment. In addition to the amazing Brandon Refractor, the primary observatory equipment consists of our 14 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain @ F/10 and several Dobsonian reflecting telescopes. A remotely controlled setup is under continual development in our small external dome and can be used to provide real time images to the public on screens inside the main observatory.
Apart from the observatory's scopes, many of our members have scopes of their own. On a good clear night it’s possible to have as many as 15 telescopes or more setup in various places around the observatory grounds.
The observatory is open to the public every Saturday night, rain or shine. We will open at dusk (or there abouts), and generally wrap things up around midnight. Groups and individuals from the area or visiting South Florida are cordially invited to visit the Fox Observatory. Never hesitate to call and find out whats going on each Saturday night at 954-384-0442.