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Merkhet

British Astronomical Society Membership

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I have just been looking at the British Astronomical Society web site.

They have a membership offer on at the moment,   18 months membership for the price of 1 years annual fee.

I am not interested in joining a local astronomy club as I am happy doing  my own thing, observing from my own back garden.

A topic by Bizibilder in 2010  seemed to be quite divided as to peoples opinions of the benefits of BAS membership.

That was 7 years ago.    

How do people feel nowadays regarding  BAS membership,    and the main question,  should I join?

 

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I have been a member for 3 years and I think it's well worth the money. I enjoy reading the journal and I find the Year book a very useful aid to my observing. They have meetings all round the country, even as far North as Scotland. Apart from that I am very interested in the history of astronomy and being a member makes me feel I am part of that history.

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If you can get anything from the BAA such as an achievement award or want to contribute to their operation, then any discount is better than nothing?
You also  quoted......."I am not interested in joining a local astronomy club as I am happy doing  my own thing, observing from my own back garden"
Does that not answer your question. 

I chose not to join my local club, because of a Health & safety issue, which I never followed up, but the ruling stated that a minimum of two members had to present at the viewing site at any one time ( that's how I read their terms ) so decided not to join, joining  the SGL instead. Were a friendly bunch, almost know each other, despite only texting, and its all free. Although I can read books and learn from the internet, its the experience that fellow members can share here, some of it priceless!

If  you decide to join the BAA and the experience is not what you expect, you could just terminate the rolling membership!

Edited by Charic
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Been a member for 25+ years and enjoyed every minute ,you can be as active (or inactive☺) as you please and there is always someone to offer advice or help should you ever need it whichever astro interest you pursue. Most of the meetings do tend to be in London but I've attended quite a few outside London the last one was the Spectroscopy meeting last October.

Just my 2cents worth

Steve

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Echo Gasman - I've been a member since 2003 and found it added hugely to my enjoyment of the hobby. I  look forward to each new BAA journal and VSS circular.

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I've been a member a couple of times over the years. I now find it "not my kind of astronomy".  :icon_biggrin:

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I joined about six months ago. I feel a bit that I could take it or leave it really. I quite enjoy recieving and reading the journal. The email notifications of celestial events is quite useful. I have yet to see a meeting I'd like to attend. 

Personally I think I get more out of subscribing to the SGL forum and Cloudy Nights. Am I right in thinking the  BAA have an online forum? I've never checked it out. If it exists, is it useful?

I also joined my local astronomical society, despite having known of its existence for many years. I've found that useful. I particularly like the programme of speakers organised. I've found one can be as involved in the society or not as you please.  It's not a huge annual fee - £20 I think for retirees like myself. It's good to chat to other astronomers from time to time. I've never been to an observing evening. There's no pressure to. They also welcome people turning up to talks for a modest entrance fee. £3 quid or something. 

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7 hours ago, Ouroboros said:

Am I right in thinking the  BAA have an online forum? I've never checked it out. If it exists, is it useful?

Yes they have here https://britastro.org/forum/active and yes it is ?. Free for non members to read the posts but members only to post.

Steve

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Joined in BAA 1950 and, but for a break in the early years of bringing up a family, I'm in my 67th [almost continuous] year !   I think it's brilliant and extremely rewarding but like much in life it's about what you want to contribute and what you get back. 

Dissenters about joining any organisation says a lot about themselves :)

Nytecam 

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I did quite a bit of volunteer work for the BAA before actually becoming a member :). I like what they are trying to do and hope to be an active member to further those aims.

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The BAA is an Institution, but a very good one. I personally never joined, but the late Secretary of my 
Local Astronomy Society was a long time member, and his speciality was Aurora.
 He was part of the BAA's National network for the detection of the earths Magnetic field changes, which usually is the precursor to an aurora event.
He had a Flux Gate Magnetometer buried in his garden, and connected to a Pen Recorder in his Garage.
Many times Emails would arrive to our local members warning them of possible activity, and usually successful too.
Forewarned is forearmed, cameras were always deployed in good time. 
Of course the BAA Auroral Network was nationwide, so most devotees  were contacted.
There are many specialist groups, and whatever your main interest may be, you might wish to join that group.
As I said, I never joined the BAA, but I have no hesitation in recommending anyone interested, to join that Illustrious organisation.

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I think most modern day groups and societies, whether astronomy-related or not, generally have five things to potentially offer members:


-    Meetings
-    Publications
-    Online presence (stuff to look at and do when at home or away from home)
-    Resources / something unique to that group
-    A means to interact with like minded individuals


There is often overlap between these categories and not all of my categories are delivered by all groups and societies, and other groups may have additional categories. This is simply my take on the whole “joining a society” thing.


Anyway, trying toa get back on track... I enjoy being part of the BAA.


-    I really enjoy the meetings (though you don’t have to be a BAA member to attend); on balance the choice of topics and speakers is excellent. Everyone is made to feel welcome and it’s good opportunity to chat with other amateurs.


-    The BAA Journal can seem quite intimidating and several of the articles are very detailed but then it is a peer-reviewed journal and the scientific (and historical) papers are often cited by professional astronomers. However, there is also the lighter side of the Journal with meeting reports, news, small advert sections, less technical papers and tutorials and articles for beginners. It really is a mixed bag and is a great showcase for all that is good about the BAA. If an article doesn’t float your boat, don’t read it – I probably skip more articles in Astronomy Now than I do in the JBAA. If you are undertaking original work the Journal would be a first place to think about getting it published. The other publication is the annual BAA Handbook which contains so much useful technical information about occultations, conjunctions, phases of the Moon, eclipses, planetary positions and motions, meteors, you name it. It is a mostly technical (numerical) publication but if you want to work out when the prime meridian of Jupiter is facing us or when the Moon will occult a bright star, then it is your one stop shop.


-    Within the last two years, and I’m not sure when, I was at a BAA meeting and Jeremy Shears came over and started chatting to me. We got talking about the explosion of interest in astronomy in recent times and the availability of information online. We continued the conversation via email after the meeting and as a result I ended up on the BAA Website Operations Team and have been part of the decision-making and implementation of recent changes to the website and the BAA’s online presence. I think the website is a really useful resource for amateur astronomers of all levels and interests, and a hub of the BAA community (through the forum, member pages, email network etc). There is plenty of material on the website for non-members too, and this continues to evolve.


-    Being part of the BAA community means it is easy to get help and advice from leading amateur astronomers, and have your observations (images, sketches, observing notes etc) commented on by them. With 17 observing sections, there are countless resources and avenues for advice for both beginners and the advanced amateur. Members can access scans of historical copies of the Journal and Handbook, use the shop, search for images other amateurs have taken of specific targets, watch past meetings online, use the sky calendar, access tutorials...


-    I suspect for a fair number of people who join any society, it is about ‘people’ and being part of a community, and the ability to socialise. Having online resources and online chat rooms and the like is one thing, but to be able to have a cuppa and chat face to face with someone is something totally different, but not something everyone is interested in. But I love going to meetings and seeing people there I only ever see at meetings, and catching up, and saying “we really should make the effort to meet up outside of a meeting” but never do, lol. It’s nice to see hear stories from the old timers “I remember when so and so was doing his A-levels and a member of our local astronomical society, and look at him now... we are so proud...” etc. And in passing, sharing woes “... I just can’t get good collimation on my C11...” to which a flurry of suggestions comes fourth. And making contacts. And having a laugh and a pint.


So I think it is great. I think like all societies you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but it is responsive and it listens to its members. It encourages participation and has the goal of helping individuals to get as much out of their hobby as they want to achieve. It is much more than the Journal which comes through the door.


Have a nose around the website: https://britastro.org/


Like and follow the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BritAstro/


Follow the BAA on Twitter: https://twitter.com/britastro?lang=en


Why not attend a meeting, see if you like the ambience. I’m going to the comet meeting in June (https://britastro.org/node/8535) not because I am greatly into comets, but it isn’t too far from where I live, I know I’ll enjoy the talks and learn something (and probably want to start getting into comets), and it will be nice to catch up with people and have a chat.


You get out of things what you put in.


If you want to know more ask, and I’m happy to be sent a message through here.


That’s a nice succinct reply :happy10:


James

 

 

Edited by jambouk
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As President of the British Astronomical Association, and a regular at Stargazers Lounge, I have been watching this thread with great interest. I have been a member since I was 11 and little did I know then that I would one day become President of an Association that was formed in 1890. 

For me the BAA sums up amateur astronomy. We seek to encourage all observers, no matter what their level of experience. We are proud to count some of the most accomplished amateurs in our membership, like Damian Peach, but we also have people that are just starting out. I think the core of what we have to offer is our Observing Sections, run by experienced amateur astronomers. Through the Sections, and in many other ways, we offer help and assistance in developing your skills. I like to think of helping people up the learning curve to get to the level that they are happy with: that might by how to get more out of occasional observations ofthe Moon or Venus, or it might be how to carry out the most advanced forms of imaging to extract scientific value. We also provide advice about what to observe and how to go about it. Our internationally acclaimed Journal publishes reports of what we do.

I think we have a great sense of community within the BAA. Have a look at our BAA Member’s Pages for examples for what members of the community are up to: https://britastro.org/member_profiles. It’s  great fun being able to meet up with fellow amateur astronomers at our meetings too. In the past we might have been a little bit London centric, but that’s no longer the case. In fact the majority of our meetings are outside London. So we’ll meet in London on May 31st, then there is a Comet meeting in Northampton in June, followed by our Exhibition in Edinburgh and a week-end meeting in my hometown of Chester in September, plus many others. Recordings of many of the meetings are available via our website, so you can catch up if you are not able to attend. If you are able to get to any of our meetings, be sure to come and say hello to me.

But as several have said, including Nytecam, a former BAA President, it’s also about contributing to UK astronomy. I have found the more I put into the BAA the more I get out.

My opinion of the BAA might be a little biased, of course, so it’s up to each person to decide if what we offer is for them. As James says, why not have a look around our website and come to a meeting or two? And yes, we do have a membership promotion on at the moment: 18 months for the price of 12!

Jeremy Shears
 

Edited by JeremyS
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Thank you James - that's very interesting :)  And thank you Jeremy :)  I shall certainly be looking round your web site and Facebook page.

Edited by Gina
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Time for me to put my head up above the parapet again.

I have  now joined the BAA.

My introduction pack arrived yesterday.   

There is no shortage of information in it for me to enjoy at my leisure.     All very competently put together, and a whole new range of interests to explore.

After being convinced by your responses very early on that it was a good idea to join ,  I refrained from immediately revealing my decision ,  as I thought it might curtail any more input to this topic.

Hopefully this topic is not closed and will run for a while longer.

A  Big Thank You to everyone that gave some input into the topic.

 

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Welcome to the BAA, Merkhet! I hope you will enjoy being a member. Do come and say hello if you can get to a meeting.

I see you are in Merseyside, so do put the Chester meeting in your diary: Sept 8, 9, 10. More details here: https://britastro.org/Chester2017

All the best,

Jeremy

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Reading through this thread the last few days brought back some memories...  I've always been interested in comets, up to 5 observed so far this year, and found some old BAA comet circulars.  I subscribed to the comet section and eagerly awaited those envelopes to drop through the door with the latest discoveries. 

andrew

DSC_0359.JPG

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1 hour ago, melsmore said:

Thanks for the reminder, JeremyS. I've just booked the Chester meeting

Brilliant - see you there!

Jeremy

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I've decided to give it a go for 18 months. Compared with, say, the cost of an astro accessory it seems reasonable, especially for us  seniors,  and its good to support such enterprises I think. 

Looking forward to confirmation of my membership 

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Interesting

Back in my first incarnation as an amateur astronomer I thought about the BAA but was given to understand that one had to apply and be elected to the membership. Knowing my abilities (Or lack of) I never bothered as I wouldn't elect me so why should I expect anyone else to.

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3 hours ago, DaveS said:

Interesting

Back in my first incarnation as an amateur astronomer I thought about the BAA but was given to understand that one had to apply and be elected to the membership. Knowing my abilities (Or lack of) I never bothered as I wouldn't elect me so why should I expect anyone else to.

I've just received my membership details by email so there don't appear to be any eligibility criteria now 

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3 hours ago, DaveS said:

Interesting

Back in my first incarnation as an amateur astronomer I thought about the BAA but was given to understand that one had to apply and be elected to the membership. Knowing my abilities (Or lack of) I never bothered as I wouldn't elect me so why should I expect anyone else to.

Things have changed quite a bit Dave. You'd be welcome to join the BAA. We'd love to have you as a member!

Jeremy 

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5 hours ago, kerrylewis said:

I've decided to give it a go for 18 months. Compared with, say, the cost of an astro accessory it seems reasonable, especially for us  seniors,  and its good to support such enterprises I think. 

Looking forward to confirmation of my membership 

Welcome to the BAA kerrylewis! I'm really pleased you have joined. I hope I can meet you at one of our  meetings in the near future

All the best

Jeremy

 

 

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