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No 55 - March 2008

Scottish Astronomers Group - reincarnated

The Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Astronomers Group was held 2008-02-23 - in parallel with the Society for Popular Astronomy weekend hosted by Stirling Astronomical Society. At the SAG AGM the President Bill Ward resigned, and was thanked by the assembled members for his services. Bill had circulated by email a motion for the AGM to decide on. The motion states that

The Scottish Astronomers Group be re-constituted as an occasional observers group without official positions and no financial, or other, liabilities. Participation is at the individuals' own risk. [1]

Bill argues his case for this motion:

I have always maintained that the SAG is a forum for the active astronomers and observers across Scotland, that is an informal trans-society observers group. What has happened over the last ten years plus, is that it has grown into a de-facto society in it's own right. This no longer seems to be a viable position as it was never conceived as an "umbrella" organisation and receives little input as such. As evidence for this there are fewer and fewer contributors and fewer and fewer "members". At one point there were 120+! Now there are just a handful private supporters and a few affiliated Societies. [1]

At the AGM Dave Gavine testified to the fact that SAG was originally simply a forum for informal and irregular meetings to prepare observing sessions, etc. These meetings would have particular topics, would be chaired by a chairperson for the day, and at the end of the day participants settled the financial aspects of holding the meeting. Dave agreed that from the mid 1980s SAG began to turn into a much more formal body with officers, accounts, and regular meetings with invited speakers.

Bill's motion was carried unanimously. The first consequence is that no membership subscriptions will be collected from societies or individual members. In fact, subscriptions sent in for the new session are being returned. While the currently held funds last, Iain McEachran will continue to produce the SAG Magazine, so do send him material to publish. The second consequence will be that the cycle of three meetings per year has come to an end. Any meetings will be irregular, informal and with specific subjects, as was the case with SAG 40 years ago.

What is different from 40 years ago is that SAG offers its "members" - those interested in promoting or participating in amateur astronomical observing in Scotland - a web-based discussion forum [2] as a means of communication. The forum is open for anonymous read, and readers can sign up in self-service to join the discussions.


  1. Bill Ward, 2008, email to secretaries of affiliated societies, approx. 2008-02-17
  2. Scottish Astronomers Group, 2007-2008,

Horst Meyerdierks


Cover page

Society news

Astronomical Society of Edinburgh - Annual General Meeting


Astronomical Society of Edinburgh - Annual Report for 2007

UN declares Year of Astronomy

Scottish Astronomers Group - reincarnated

UK astronomy in funding crisis

John Christopher Bartholomew, MA. FRSGS. FRSE.

Book review: The lost language of the stars

Recent observations

Forthcoming events

Asteroid "Harryford" 6907

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