The Atlanta Astronomy Club (AAC) is one of the largest organizations of beginner and amateur astronomers in the South Eastern United States. The club seeks to provide enjoyment and education to the public through amateur astronomy.
Dr. William Calder, who came to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia from the Harvard College Observatory, founded the Atlanta Astronomy Club in 1947 to promote the collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers and to provide a venue for non-professionals to share their interests.
The AAC incorporated in 1963 as a nonprofit organization. It is educational, literary and scientific in nature and is dedicated especially to promoting the public knowledge of and interest in astronomy.
Membership in the AAC is open to anyone with an interest in astronomy. Peter Herdvary, a Hungarian-born geologist and AAC member, had a lunar crater named for him by the International Astronomical Union, in recognition of his work as an amateur astronomer.
In 1994, AAC members Jerry Armstrong and Tim Puckett discovered a supernova in the Whirlpool Galaxy (Messier object M51). Another Club member, Alex Langoussis, assists Tim Puckett in his supernovae searches and now has over a dozen to his credit. Official recognition by the IAU brought worldwide attention to this pair of Georgia amateur astronomers. They were featured on CNN, as well as other news media around the globe.
Monthly meetings are held at 3pm on the 3rd Saturday usually at the Fernbank Science center (always check the club calendar for updates and locations). Amateur and professional speakers from all over the country present topics and then club business is briefly discussed.
Also scheduled is a Dark Sky Observing (DSO) event every new moon weekend, so that observers can have an opportunity to pursue their own observing agendas.
Sessions for beginners and the public are also scheduled through the year.
The AAC hosts an annual star party, The Peach State Star Gaze (known fondly as The PSSG) at the nearby Deerlick Astronomy Village home of the darkest skies in the southeast.
In the spring the club holds a no frills “star party” called the Zombie Party usually to coincide with the yearly Messier marathon.
Georgia Astronomy in State parks (GASP) events are held 4 to 5 times a year in State parks around Georgia. The Club gives a short presentation to the public and sets up scopes to show the campers the night sky.
Each year The Atlanta Astronomy Club sets up scopes and presentations for schools, museums, state parks, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, and many others free of charge. As part of their outreach they also have Sidewalk Astronomy session in public areas to share their knowledge and the sky with others.
The club publishes a monthly newsletter called the Focal Point.