Comet Section DIrectorship

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    Denis Buczynski

    I would like to put on record my personal thanks to Jon Shanklin for all the hard work he has put in over the years as Comet Section Director. For him to have operated as a world class scientist with the British Antartic Survey and directed the BAA and SPA Comet Sections for so long at the same time is remarkable. That he has agreed to continue to act as the visual observations coordinator for the future shows his commitment to the subject. Comet science must be engrained within him. His successor Nick James is taking over a vibrant and expanding Section and I am sure that all members of the BAA will wish him well in his new role.

    Denis Buczynski,Secretary BAA Comet Section.

    Nick James

    As the incoming Comet Section Director I would very much like to second Denis’ comments. This is what I posted to the Comet Section mailing list on Thursday:

    Following yesterday’s 126th BAA AGM at Burlington House, London, I became the 12th Director of the BAA Comet Section continuing an unbroken line going back to W.F. Denning, the first Director, who was appointed in 1891.

    I would like to thank Jonathan for the dedication he has shown to the section as Director. His directorship lasted 25 years so he certainly deserves a break! This duration is second only to Crommelin’s second directorship, a monumental 32 year stint between 1907 and 1939. Jonathan’s knowledge of matters related to comets is more extensive than anyone else I know and I am very pleased that he has agreed to stay on the section committee as visual observations and analysis coordinator.

    Becoming the Director of a BAA section carries a great responsibility. I know that have a very hard act to follow and it will take me a while to get used to the new role. I will post more of my thoughts on the future direction of the section shortly but, in the meantime, if you have any comments then please post them here or email me privately.

    We all know that comets are wonderfully unpredictable objects which is what makes them so fascinating to observe. Thanks to Jonathan I am taking over a very strong section and I hope to make it stronger still over the next few years.

    David Arditti

    To ‘third’ these comments, I would say that Jonathan’s greatest achivement over these years had been maintaining the BAA and SPA combined comet webpage in a way that has made it perhaps the most useful and practical port of first call for anyone looking for up to date information on what comets are actually visible with amateur equipment from their particular location. Comets are coming and going all the time, and the fact that this page always seemed to be maintained reliably and was up-to-date with basic information, that could then be followed-up elsewhere, is quite remarkable in view of Jonathan’s work schedule with extended visits to Antarctica. It has always been very useful to someone like me who is not sufficiently interested in comets to subscribe to the specialised newslists, but wants to dip in from time to time.

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