"Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads"


"Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads"


"Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads"


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

Planetary Nebula Program

Ted Forte, tedforte511 -at gmail -dot com is the current chair for the Planetary Nebula Program. Astronomical League members wishing to complete this observing program should visit the Planetary Nebula Program official webpage.

Planetary Nebula Lapel Pin

Image of M27 (Dumbbell Nebula) by Richard Dickson. Logo design by Adam Forte

The Planetary Nebula Program's inception was a BBAA effort. After several members, including Bill Dickinson, Richard Dickson, Kent Blackwell and Ron Robisch, made recommendations about objects, Ron chaired a committee to select the 110 planetary nebulae on the list. His committee included Bruce Bodner, Larry Channel, Richard Dickson, Brian Murphy, and Richard Smith. Then a second committee chaired by Georgie June worked out the rules of the program. Her committee included Lelane Arneson, Rick Bish, Cliff Hedgepeth, Chuck Jagow, and Brian Murphy.

The Astronomical League Council approved the creation of the program at their annual meeting in Kansas City in August 2005. The program was officially announced in the December 2005 Reflector, with the Astronomical League webpage launched at the same time.

The pin design (shown above) features an original image of the Dumbbell Nebula taken by BBAA member Richard Dickson. It adorns the 1-1/8" lapel pin awarded for the completion of the program. Both the selection of M27 as the subject of the pin/logo and selection of Richard’s image for the pin was accomplished by popular vote of “backbayastro” (our Yahoo e-group) members.

Image of M57 (Ring Nebula) by Stu Beaber

The 86-page observing guide by Ted Forte contains the catalog of objects, guidelines for completing the project and a number of articles about planetary nebulae and how to observe them. Richard Dickson is the major provider of PN images to the guide. A color image of M57 (above) by BBAA member Stu Beaber was selected to adorn the cover of the Observing Guide. Members Joe Piotrowski, George Reynolds, and Ron Robisch contributed sections to the observing guide and Georgie June helped design the observing log for the program and proofread the guide. Halina Forte helped organize the data, created the catalog tables and proofread the draft manuscript. Sale of the observing guide will finance the program; it pays for the pins, certificates, stationery, and postage costs. The photo of the Eskimo Nebula (below) is typical of the images that appear in the guide.

The Planetary Nebula Observing Guide is available through the Astronomical League Store.

Image of NGC 2392 (Eskimo Nebula) by Chuck Jagow

Ted Forte created a series of monthly posts to the BBAA Yahoo Group on how to find each of the Planetary Nebula Program objects. They are archived here.

Click on the accordions below to download an excel sheet or PDF of the standard planetary nebula list for people observing from the northern hemisphere or the southern list for people in the southern hemisphere. Don't forget to navigate to the Astronomical League's website to see all of the details for completing the Planetary Nebula Program

Standard Planetary Nebula List: Excel sheet

Standard Planetary Nebula List: PDF file

Southern Planetary Nebula List: Excel sheet

Southern Planetary Nebula List: PDF file

Alternate Northern Planetary Nebula List: Excel sheet

Alternate Northern Planetary Nebula List: PDF file