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BACK BAY AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS


"Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads"

BACK BAY AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS

"Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads"

BACK BAY AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS


"Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads"

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Welcome to the BBAA website

We are a group of dedicated amateur astronomers drawn together by a common interest in astronomy. Our club was founded on December 14, 1978 by members dedicated to promoting amateur astronomy.

We invite you to come to our any of our free monthly events to take a look through our telescopes and learn more about the night sky.

The BBAA is an active member society of the Astronomical League, a part of the Night Sky Network, and a member of the Virginia Association of Astronomical Societies (VAAS). We are also active on social media. Please visit our social media pages on BBAA Yahoo Group, BBAA Facebook Group, BBAA Twitter page, BBAA Facebook page and Instagram to stay up to date with our club's latest activities.

Clear skies

Astronomical League Observing Programs

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As a member organization of the Astronomical League, the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers participates in the AL’s observing programs. Our members are encouraged to complete these observing projects and earn certificates of accomplishment from the organization. Our Hall of Fame section lists BBAA members who have completed such programs.

One of the most popular observing programs is the Messier Program. It is named after Charles Messier (1730-1817), a comet hunter who, along with his assistant Pierre Mechain, compiled a list of more than a hundred nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies. He hoped to make this list known to other comet hunters so that they would not confuse these objects with suspected comets. Today this list of 110 objects is generally considered to contain many of the sky’s best showpieces. It is often considered a “rite of passage” for any beginning observer.

Most of the programs require that you independently locate and observe the objects on the list. You must keep good logs, often including the date, time, location, viewing conditions, instrument, magnification, and filters used. Some observing programs (such as the Messier Program) do not allow automated searches; you must instead manually star-hop to the objects on the list. Some of the programs will even require you to make sketches of what you see, but artistic ability is not required.

BBAA members that complete an observing program should submit their observing logs, drawings, or other required evidence of completion to our Astronomical League Coordinator, Bill McLean. He will double-check your logs and then notify the appropriate program coordinator. The organization will then forward your certificate and pin.

For more information on the Astronomical League's observing programs, see their webpage. Additionally, don't forget to take a look at the BBAA-created Planetary Nebula Program!

Feel free to utilize our observing logs for your next observing session Observation and Sketch Log.pdf and Observation Log.pdf.

BBAA Hall Of Fame

Congratulations to our members that have completed observing programs by the Astronomical League.

Keep up the good work!


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MESSIER OBSERVING - REGULAR PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2001)
  • Garry Mitchell (2001)
  • Dick Moncure (2001)
  • Gerry Carver (2001)
  • George Reynolds (2001)
  • Rob Schonk (2002)
  • Dale Carey (2003)
  • Joe Piotrowski (2003)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2004)
  • Tom Pearson (2004)
  • Dave Sanderson (2004)
  • Larry Channel (2004)
  • Brian Murphy (2004)
  • Georgie June (2008)
  • Jordan Bramble (2008)
  • Bill McLean (2011)
  • Nick Anderson (2011)
  • Mark E. Gerlach (2015)
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    MESSIER OBSERVING - HONORARY PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2001)
  • Garry Mitchell (2001)
  • Dick Moncure (2002)
  • Rob Schonk (2002)
  • Gerry Carver (2003)
  • Dale Carey (2003)
  • George Reynolds (2004)
  • Joe Piotrowski (2004)
  • Tom Pearson (2004)
  • Brian Murphy (2004)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2004)
  • Dave Sanderson (2005)
  • Larry Channel (2006)
  • Jordan Bramble (2009)
  • Bill McLean (2011)
  • Nick Anderson (2011)
  • Ben Loyola (2014)
  • Mark Gerlach (2017)
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    PLANETARY TRANSIT (VENUS) SPECIAL AWARD
  • Tom Flatley (2012)
  • Scott Patterson (2012)
  • Bob Beuerlein (2012)
  • Nick Anderson (2012)
  • Jim Tallman (2012)
  • George Reynolds (2012)
  • Dino Giangregorio (2012)
  • Curt Lambert (2012)
  • Chuck Jagow (2012)
  • Bird Taylor (2012)
  • Ben Loyola (2012)
  • Annette McLean (2012)
  • Jeff Goldstein (2012)
  • Bill McLean (2012)
  • Ted Forte (2012)
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    LUNAR OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • George Reynolds (2001)
  • Rob Schonk (2002)
  • Ted Forte (2002)
  • Dick Moncure (2002)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2003)
  • Richard Bish (2003)
  • Gerry Carver (2005)
  • Ben Loyola (2005)
  • Gretchen Loyola (2005)
  • Chuck Rippel (2007)
  • Jordan Bramble (2008)
  • Jim Tallman (2013)
  • Nick Anderson (2013)
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    DEEP SKY BINOCULAR PROGRAM
  • Dale Carey (2005)
  • John Raymond (2005)
  • Ted Forte (2006)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2010)
  • Nick Anderson (2013)
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    DOUBLE STAR OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Dale Carey (2004)
  • Ted Forte (2005)
  • Gerry Carver (2006)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2007)
  • Jim Tallman (2013)
  • Nick Anderson (2013)
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    CARBON STAR OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2013)
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    COMET OBSERVING, SILVER PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2013)
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    COMET OBSERVING, GOLD PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2010)
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    CONSTELLATION HUNTER OBSERVING - NORTHERN SKIES PROGRAM
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2008)
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    HYDROGEN ALPHA OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2013)
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    SKY PUPPY PROGRAM
  • Taylor Christy (2003)
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    OUTREACH AWARD, BASIC LEVEL PROGRAM
  • Matt McLaughlin (2006)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2006)
  • Taylor Christy (2006)
  • Ted Forte (2006)
  • Richard Bish (2009)
  • Jordan Bramble (2009)
  • Jim Tallman (2012)
  • Zachery Colvin (2013)
  • Mark Gerlach (2013)
  • Chris Jarvis (2013)
  • Thomas Jarvis (2013)
  • Dino Giangregorio (2014)
  • Leigh Anne Lagoe (2014)
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    OUTREACH AWARD, STELLAR LEVEL PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2007)
  • Zachery Colvin (2013)
  • Mark Gerlach (2013)
  • Leigh Anne Lagoe (2015)
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    OUTREACH AWARD, MASTER LEVEL PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2008)
  • Mark Gerlach (2013)
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    HERSCHEL 400 OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Dave Kratz (1989)
  • Ted Forte (2004)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2008)
  • Nick Anderson (2013)
  • Ben Loyola (2017)
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    URBAN OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2002)
  • Gerry Carver (2004)
  • Dave Sanderson (2007)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2007)
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    CALDWELL OBSERVING, SILVER PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2007)
  • Zachery Colvin (2013)
  • Mark Gerlach (2013)
  • Leigh Anne Lagoe (2015)
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    GLOBULAR CLUSTER OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2005)
  • Ted Forte (2006)
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    SOLAR SYSTEM OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2008)
  • Nick Anderson (2013)
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    LUNAR II PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2006)
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    SUNSPOTTERS OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2002)
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    PLANETARY NEBULA OBSERVING, BASIC PROGRAM
  • John Raymond (2006)
  • Ted Forte (2006)
  • C.J. Wood (2007)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2008)
  • Kent Blackwell (2012)
  • Dave Kratz (2012)
  • Nick Anderson (2013)
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    PLANETARY NEBULA OBSERVING, ADVANCED PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2006)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2008)
  • C.J. Wood (2011)
  • Kent Blackwell (2012)
  • Dave Kratz (2012)
  • Nick Anderson (2013)
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    LOCAL GALAXY GROUP & NEIGHBORHOOD OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2009)
  • Ted Forte (2010)
  • Nick Anderson (2013)
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    HERSCHEL II PROGRAM
  • Dave Kratz (2000)
  • Ted Forte (2006)
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    OPEN CLUSTER OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2007)
  • Ted Forte (2013)
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    ARP PECULIAR GALAXY (NORTHERN) OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2007)
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    FLAT GALAXIES PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2013)
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    GALAXY GROUPS & CLUSTERS OBSERVING PROGRAM
  • Ted Forte (2012)
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    MASTER OBSERVER AWARD
  • Ted Forte (2006)
  • Cliff Hedgepeth (2008)
  • Nick Anderson (2013)