Friends of the Observatory

Become part of our vibrant community.


About Us

"The purpose of FOTO is to provide volunteer support to the GMU Observatory for the maintenance and improvement of publicly accessible observing events and astronomy outreach activities in service to the GMU student body and surrounding public community. The mission of the FOTO organization is to spread enthusiasm for Physics and Astronomy by fostering a community approach to living and learning in science. We volunteer in our community to teach, mentor, and communicate science, especially astronomy, to our friends, neighbors, and future scientists. We also encourage undergraduate students to participate in real astronomy research using the campus telescope."









Members Benefits

As a group we hold special events for ourselves and for the public in interest of the Observatory. We hold biweekly meetings where we talk about Astronomy and plan events! You do NOT have to be an Astronomy major to join, this is an open club welcome to anyone who is interested in participating in fun Astronomy-themed events and taking care of our campus Observatory.

Events & Activities

Events will be at least biweekly, possibly even weekly! They will be posted well ahead of time and discussed at Club Meetings

Exclusive Resources

A chance to explore the Observatory and fun opportunities related to Astronomy without needing to be a Physics or Astronomy Major


Make connections with students with similar interests and possible research ideas or opportunities

Our Team

Elizabeth Lillehei Profile

Elizabeth Lillehei

Sydney Treglown Profile

Sydney Treglown

Benjamin Chaves Profile

Benjamin Chaves

Social Media Officer
Jonathan Saldana Profile

Jonathan Saldana

Peter Plavchan Profile

Peter Plavchan



All virtual FOTO meetings and most events are held using the online platform Discord. If you'd like to participate in our community and receive up-to-date information feel free to hit the "join" button above. Once you've done that, feel free to join our Discord Server using the link that is sent out in all organization emails, or use this link here:


Friends of the Observatory

Fairfax Virginia
United States