A long while ago, when I first joined the BAA in the early 70’s, there was an Artificial Satellite Section.
From what I recall, they made observations, recorded timings, did calculations and refined the orbits of satellites.
At some point, the Section folded – perhaps as the excitement and novelty cooled in the post-Apollo era and the photographic surveys took over.
My question would be: when was that?
More generally, I wonder how many other BAA members occasionally set aside some time in their observing sessions to try to image a probe out at a Lagrange point, glimpse a bit of space history like Vanguard 1 (launched 1958) or follow a Tesla hurled into interplanetary space. Does anyone else do this sort of thing or is it just those who remember, first hand, the excitement of men stepping on to the moon and the first images of the craters on Mars.
Howard Miles was the director from it’s inception in 1960 until 1997 when presumably it was disbanded, details from the Historical Section directors of the BAA. Page 96 of the excellent book The British Astronomical Association the second fifty years gives a potted history.
I wrote about Howard standing down after almost 40 years of service on page 189 of the August 1998 Journal. He also dealt with reports of ‘Fireballs and other transient or unusual phenomena’! There was no obvious successor in Howard’s league (how could there be?) and so the BAA Council decided to disband the Section.