Announcing the BAA Equipment & Techniques Section

Are you interested in becoming the Director of the BAA Equipment & Techniques Section? Read on to find out more about what’s involved.

There are technical aspects concerning the use of “kit”, both hardware and software (telescopes, cameras, computer programs etc) that are common stumbling blocks encountered by people as they progress up the learning curve from beginner to advanced observer– and often these don’t relate to the work of a particular Section. As well as deploying off the shelf kit, amateurs have traditionally modified their kit and tuned it for specific purposes – and they continue to do so today.

For many years, the BAA Instruments & Imaging Section has played an important role in helping members to get the most out of their equipment. Council has reviewed the remit of this Section and finds much of it as relevant today as when it was set up. As a result of this review, we have decided to re-launch it as the BAA Equipment & Techniques Section and are now seeking a Director of what could become one of the most active Sections within the Association.

Remit of the Equipment & Techniques Section

The Section aims to provide advice to members on matters to do with astronomical “kit”. The target audience includes all members of the Association, though beginners and intermediate level are likely to gain most from the Section. The questions and discussion themes would be of a general nature. This would include discussions relating to types of instrumentation to purchase and how to use it (polar alignment of telescopes, collimation, observatories etc), power supplies, eyepieces, basic imaging (DSLR, CCD, video).

An equally important aspect of the Section is to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of information among members about equipment, equipment construction & modification and observing techniques at any level (not just beginners). The Section and its Director would therefore facilitate the exchange and publication of such information via the Journal, a Section Newsletter, the BAA website and members’ meetings.


Given the likely range of queries and activities to be handled, the Section Director, who would be a member of Council, would ideally set up a small committee whose members would have a broad range of expertise. The committee would facilitate exchange of ideas and experience among BAA members.

Main tasks of Equipment & Techniques Section and its Director

  • Build a committee of knowledgeable specialists capable of providing advice on specific topics
  • Respond to members’ queries sent by email and via the Forum
  • Compile and distribute a newsletter from time to time, with articles from committee members and Section members, e.g. projects members are working on, descriptions of their kit/observatories, modifications and adaptations they have made to commercial equipment, etc.
  • Organise a Section meeting every one or two years
  • Prepare, or solicit, regular notes for the Observer’s Forum section of the Journal (ideally the Director would draw up a list of topics that could be covered over time – the articles could be prepared by anyone, not just the Director). These articles could also be made available on the website
  • Encourage all members to share their experiences with observing and “kit” in the form of articles
  • Facilitate contact between members raising queries and the Directors of the other BAA Sections, as appropriate
  • Participate regularly in BAA Council meetings

Attributes of the Director

A key attribute of the Director (and their committee) is to be engaging, encouraging and responsive – and to be proactive in soliciting members to share their knowledge and experience formally (e.g. written articles) and informally (email communications with members). Pro-actively commissioning members to write articles which are accessible to the majority of members, especially for the Journal, would be highly desirable.

Further information and how to apply

If you are interested in the role of Director of the BAA Equipment & Techniques Section, feel free to contact the BAA President for an informal discussion.

Formal expressions of interest, outlining why you would like to take on the role, should be sent to the President by May 20.

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