“Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads”

Updated on June 4, 2017


The Back Bay Amateur Astronomers is a non-profit organization dedicated to “Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads.” Founded on December 14, 1978, we are a group of amateur astronomers drawn together by a common interest in observational astronomy. The BBAA is an active member society of the Astronomical League and a part of the Night Sky Network.

Elected Officers for 2017:

Office: Name: Email:
President Chuck Jagow
Vice President Shawn Loescher
Treasurer Bruce Powers
Secretary Jeff Goldstein

If you have an event request, please fill out our form.

Non-Elected Positions:

Office: Name: Email:
A.L. Coordinator Bill McLean
Newsletter Editor Paul Tartabini
RRRT Coordinator Bird Taylor
Scholarship Committee Chair Ben Loyola
Webmaster Curt Lambert
Yahoo List Owner George Reynolds


The public is invited to come to our free monthly “Skywatch” at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake to take a look through our telescopes at planets, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, and more! Come learn about the sky and about your place in the Universe. See our Events Calendar for scheduled dates and more information.

Other regular public events include “Gardens Stars” at the Norfolk Botanical Garden and “Night Hike” at Northwest River Park. During the height of the tourist season, we collaborate with the Virginia Beach Planetarium and the City of Virginia Beach to host “Boardwalk Astronomy” on the Virginia Beach boardwalk (near the 24th Street stage).

We do many outreach events throughout the year through city parks and local schools. Organizations and members of the public can request an outreach event by filling out our form.

Donations to the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers are tax deductible 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 the Tidewater Community College's Virginia Beach Campus when the school is open. Our meeting room is usually JC-12 (on the second floor above the planetarium), but may change depending upon classroom availability. 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 PM and are open to the public. When classes are not in session at TCC, meetings are held at other locations as announced on our official calendar, Yahoo Group, and club newsletter.

Scholarship Program:

The BBAA scholarship program offers financial assistance to graduating high school seniors in our area that demonstrate an avid interest in astronomy. For details on applying, download our scholarship application form.


The “Rapid Robotic Response Telescope” (RRRT) project teams the BBAA with Norfolk State University and the University of Virginia to operate a robotic telescope at Fan Mountain Observatory near Charlottesville. The 24-inch Ritchey-Chretien telescope is designed to operate remotely and studies gamma ray bursts, blazars, and other transient events. When not actively engaged in GRB work, students in the area and our members may use the scope for a variety of projects.

Fan Mountain Observatory, 15 miles south of Charlottesville, VA


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 South side Hampton Roads cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, 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 who have not graduated high school and immediate family members of Regular Members 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.