Escambia Amateur Astronomers Association

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The Escambia Amateur Astronomers Association (EAAA) is an amateur astronomy club in Northwest Florida. It was originally started in June 1959 by two elementary school students and one about to start junior high school. Originally known as Warrington Amateur Astronomers Association, the first few years it operated informally as a backyard telescope group. As the membership gained in age, the club was renamed the Escambia Amateur Astronomers Association when the club went county-wide. Activities included star parties, meetings at the public library, and field trips — to the Pensacola Naval Air Station planetarium and centrifuge, to Spring Hill College observatory, to a high school astronomy club in DeFuniak Springs, etc. In the 1960s many of the most active members left for college and a new generation of members took over. Soon, the club was printing a club newsletter, the METEOR, still being printed at present.

However, the club became inactive in the 1970s. Activity resumed a few years later when the club founder returned to the area as a temporary replacement for the Pensacola Junior College astronomy instructor. He got together such of the old membership as were still in the area in late 1977 and planned a reactivation of the club with the facilities of the community college, such as their Owens Planetarium. With such backing, the club became more and more active. When the astronomy instructor returned, he donated the first large portable telescope to the club, permitting public viewing. Since the 1980s the club hosted a summer viewing program for the National Park Service at the Fort Pickens campground, taken over from a Pensacola Junior College instructor who had previously given the programs. When an annular eclipse took place nearby, the club raised the money for safe solar filter materials and then gave programs to schools on how to safely watch the event, with filters handed out at no cost to the students.

EAAA has made several attempts to build an observatory, including mounting a dome on top of an Avion travel trailer, but light pollution made a permanent site impractical so a 16-inch (410 mm) telescope has its own trailer and is taken where needed for public viewing.

Because of the generosity of members in sharing their instruments and time many people have been able to enjoy astronomy opportunities offered to the general public, scouting groups, schools and other groups with an interest in attending such events.

EAAA joined the Astronomical League in the 1960s and has been a member organization continuously, except when the club was inactive.

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