Neil Bone

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The Council of the FAS was very saddened to hear of the passing of Neil Bone, who was a leading light in the world of amateur astronomy societies.

Through his column in Astronomy Now, and his frequent talks to societies up and down the country (distance was no obstacle to Neil) he was a great supporter of the work done at grass-roots astronomy.

Neil was presented with the FAS’s Eric Zuker award in 2005.

You can leave messages of condolences via the BAA Website, at this page .

Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the FAS held 7th March 2009

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This note summarises the outcome of the above EGM and how resulting changes will be implemented. The EGM was held to consider and vote on the proposal to change the FAS subscription year to run from 1st April instead of from 1st September. The reasons for making the proposed change were briefed to member societies in advance of the EGM, including the means for societies to submit a postal vote.

A total of 83 postal votes were received in time for the EGM, all in favour of the proposal. At the EGM itself a further 5 votes for the proposal were cast by Council members and Regional reps on behalf of their local societies. There had been no votes cast against the proposal and so the EGM concluded that it was adopted by member societies.
As a result, please note the following for EXISTING member societies of the FAS:
  1. The next FAS subscriptions renewal date deadline will be 31st March 2010, and not the end of August 2009. This 6 month extension to the current membership period will be provided free of charge to existing FAS member societies.
  2. In future the FAS subscriptions renewal request paperwork will be issued to societies in mid January with the deadline for renewal payment of 31st March.
  3. Recognising that this is a transition period the FAS will still write to member societies in August 2009 to remind them of the above changes and seek reconfirmation of certain society details.
The Public Liability Insurance (PLI) scheme coordinated by the FAS is an optional item which societies can purchase for an additional fee on top of the annual FAS subscription fee. Paying the FAS membership subs alone does not mean that a society is covered by the PLI scheme.
The FAS Council has decided to change the PLI scheme annual renewal date from the end of December to the end of June. The current PLI cover will be extended free of charge to the end of June 2010 for those societies currently in the PLI scheme. The premium for the PLI cover from 1st July 2010 must be paid by 31st March 2010. The request for this will go out with the FAS membership subs renewal notice in January 2010.
The change to the FAS subscription year has required wording changes to the FAS Constitution. Here is a link to the revised constitution .
This note can be downloaded as a PDF .

FAS EGM – 7th March 2009

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The Federation is holding an Extraordinary General Meeting on the 7th March 2009, at 13:30, in the Lecture Theatre of the Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Picadilly.

The meeting is called to consider a change to the subscription year.

Societies may also vote by proxy.

Full details are available on this download(pdf) .

Help make our skies darker

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Societies might like to invite their members to sign this online petition to request a reduction in the spending by local councils on lighting, and so reduce light pollution in the UK.

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/LightingSavings/

Phil Flint writes:


Can you please help make our skies darker by signing the petition below. It takes less than a minute. If you could also pass the message on to the members of your society then that would be fantastic.

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/LightingSavings/

My thinking is that government doesn’t listen when people ask for dark skies as its not seen as a sexy vote winner but this government is concerned about their green credentials and also reducing taxes if only to spend the money on something else. So, if the government mandates that councils reduce spending on lighting the ways in which to do it are very few:

1) switch lights off after a certain time
2) only have some of the lights switched on
3) don’t power them so high
4) put in new lights that are more efficient and, hence, don’t shine upwards

I’m basically saying to them, you can save money, you can reduce your greenhouse emissions, you look good to your friends in Brussels and we all benefit from lower taxes and a better view of the night sky. As there’s something in it for them then, you never know, they may then do something. The reason for giving until Jan 2012 is two-fold:

a) these things take time to implement
b) there’s an additional benefit with the Olympics by showing what a green country we are

I think there must be at least an outside chance that someone may read the petition and, at the end of the day “you never know”.

As you can see, there is something in this proposal for everyone, not just astronomers so, please, please, please sign the petition, ask your friends to sign and ask them to ask their friends to sign. If enough people do then this issue may move up the list on the agenda and we may get some air time and something may be done.

Many thanks and that link once again is http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/LightingSavings/.

Phil

Astrofest 2009

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The Federation of Astronomical Societies will be having a stand at this years Astrofest, which is being held at Kensington Town Hall, London, on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 February 2009.

If you would like any of your Society information (leaflets, fliers, posters – A4 max) to be available for browsing on the stand, please post these to

Eric Hutton
29 Paternoster Close
Waltham Abbey
ESSEX
EN9 3JU

To arrive by Wednesday 4th February at the latest.

Or, if you are attending Astrofest please just drop these of at the stand, which will be in the Lower Floor, in the area marked “Additional Exhibits” at:
http://www.astronomynow.com/astrofest/exhibition.html

New Publications

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observesky_cover.jpg The 2008/9 Astrocalendar, and the new FAS Booklet Observing the Night Sky will be available for purchase at the convention. If you would like to make a bulk order for collection at the convention please pre-order by contacting Eric Hutton (for contact details see the order form on the Publications | Ordering  page). astrocal_20089.jpg

FAS Convention 2008 – Update

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The 2008 FAS Convention will be held at the Institute of Astronomy , Madingley Road,
Cambridge, CB3 0HA, on September 20th. Click here for a map and directions .
Tickets are £8.00 on the door.

Tea and coffee will be available over lunch, but there will be no meals or sandwiches available at the IoA. You may wish to bring a packed lunch. Details of local places to eat will be available on the day.

A top line up of speakers; Prof. Barrie Jones, Nik Szymanek, Prof. Andy Fabian, Dr. Somak Raychaudhury

+ Trade stands and society displays
+ Tours of the telescopes
+ The legendary FAS Raffle
+ Astro-Imaging Competition

Plus, IYA Breakout Session with IYA Coordinator Steve Owens.

For traders & displayers – please note the venue will now be open from 8.00 a.m. for setup.

For full details see the Convention page .