The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh, Inc. (www.3ap.org) has promoted popular astronomy in western Pennsylvania for more than seventy five years. With 400+ members, it is one of the larger astronomy clubs in the nation. At monthly meetings (open to the public) we announce upcoming celestial events such as meteor showers, comets, occultations, and rare planetary alignments. We also share observations and techniques so that all may benefit from our experiences. Each meeting features a special speaker, sometimes an AAAP member, but also outside experts from various fields.
Education of the general public in the science and hobby of astronomy has always been a prime focus of the AAAP. Through public Star Parties at Wagman Observatory (Deer Lakes Park, Allegheny County) and at Mingo Creek Park Observatory (Mingo Creek Park, Washington County), lectures at area schools, bookstores and nature centers, and through scheduled classes; AAAP members spread the word about the fascinating and inspiring wonders in the nighttime sky.
The membership of the AAAP includes many experienced observers and telescope makers. It also includes many people new to astronomy. All are welcome no matter what they know about astronomy, interest is the only prerequisite.
Some AAAP'ers contribute articles to magazines and several have written astronomy books. Our members are interviewed by the local news media during unusual celestial events, and teach adult education courses in astronomy. Many staff members of Allegheny Observatory, Carnegie Science Center and the science departments of local school districts and universities are members of the club. Several AAAP members have notable discoveries to their credit. The influence of the AAAP extends into the solar system: seven members have asteroids named for them! But again, others simply like the commaraderie under the night sky...observing with friends.