About the BBAA
The Back Bay Amateur Astronomers is a group of amateur astronomers drawn together by a common interest in observational astronomy. The society was founded December 14, 1978 by members devoted to teaching the many aspects of observational astronomy.
The BBAA is a 501(c)(3) Scientific Educational organization dedicated to “Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads.”
Elected Officers for 2013:
President Courtney Flonta firstname.lastname@example.org (757) 553-4418 Vice President Chuck Jagow email@example.com (757) 547-4226 Secretary Kevin Swann firstname.lastname@example.org (757) 424-6242 Treasurer Jim Tallman email@example.com
The Vice President serves as the BBAA's Events Coordinator. Please contact our VP if you have a request.
Non-Elected Positions for 2013:
Astronomical League Coordinator Bill McLean firstname.lastname@example.org Librarian Bill Newman email@example.com Newsletter Editor Paul Tartabini firstname.lastname@example.org Rapid Response Robotic Telescope Coordinator Bird Taylor email@example.com Scholarship Committee Chair Ben Loyola firstname.lastname@example.org Webmaster Nick Anderson email@example.com Yahoo List Owner George Reynolds firstname.lastname@example.org
The public is invited to come to our monthly “Skywatch” at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake and take a look through our telescopes at the planets, star clusters, galaxies, and more! Learn about the sky and your place in the universe. And the best part is it's FREE! Click HERE for our schedule and directions to the viewing site.
The BBAA's motto is “Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads” and we have many events throughout the year to advance that goal. On “Astronomy Day” we team up with the Virginia Beach Public Library to celebrate astronomy. Our members set up filtered telescopes to view the sun and the moon, and take the opportunity to talk to library patrons about our hobby. We do many events throughout the year with the Departments of Parks and Recreation for Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. We also are building a relationship with the Norfolk Botanical Gardens and have done several evening events we call “Garden Stars”. You'll often find our members at the local planetariums too, where we set up telescopes and interface with the public.
Our outreach efforts extend to local schools. We attend events like science fairs and PTA meetings at several area schools each year. Every year the list of schools that invite us to participate grows and we now average about twenty such events each year. We would like to do even more and each year we attend the Tidewater Association of Science Educators (TASE) conference to advertise our availability to local educators.
We are building strong relationships with area colleges and universities and are currently participating in an exciting program. The “Rapid Response Robotic Telescope” (RRRT) project teams the BBAA with Norfolk State University and the University of Virginia to operate a robotic telescope at the Fan Mountain Observatory near Charlottesville. The 24-inch Ritchey-Chretien telescope is designed to operate remotely and studies Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB's), Blazars, and other transient events. When not actively engaged in GRB work, students in the area and our members use the scope for a variety of projects.
The BBAA actively participates in our community: both the local community and the wider “astronomical community”. The BBAA scholarship program offers financial assistance to graduating high school seniors in our area that demonstrate an interest in astronomy. The club mentors and assists school science and astronomy clubs. The club is proud to be an active partner with NASA's Space Place. An active member society of the Astronomical League, the BBAA created one of the League's observing programs, the Planetary Nebula Program.
Donations to the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers are tax deductable as charitable donations on the donor's federal income tax return!
Our monthly meetings are generally held in the Science and Technology Building (Bldg J) at Tidewater Community College's Virginia Beach Campus. Our meeting room is JC-12, which is on the second floor above the planetarium. The planetarium is the rounded end of the J Building, opposite the observatory. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30pm and are open to the public. When classes are not in session at TCC, meetings are held at other locations as announced in the club newsletter, Yahoo Group, and official website.
Our members range in age from pre-teens to seniors and span the gambit of experience from novice to advanced amateurs. While most of our members come from the southside Hampton Roads cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Norfolk, we have several members from the peninsula, outlying counties and neighboring states.
We work very hard to ensure that new members are welcomed and encouraged. Novice astronomers get the benefit of help from more experienced observers, and those that already have years in the hobby find observing partners and gain access to new observing sites.
Students under 18 can become “Associate Members” for free! Associate Members can participate in all club activities and receive the club newsletter by email. However, they cannot hold office in the BBAA and cannot vote on club business.
For more information on membership, see our Become a Member page.