Spectroscopy sub section?

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    Steve Cuthbert

    Hi guys

    The more I look around the various forums I notice that Spectroscopy seems to be increasing in popularity especially since the introduction of the Star Analyser which made it more accessible for the general observer to dip their toes in it without spending vast amounts of cash and make useful observations!.

    I don`t know if it has been banded about before but I think it would be great to have a section devoted to Spectroscopy or at least a sub-section maybe of the Variable star group!.  I for one would be happy to contribute spectra on a regular basis,what do others think?



    Ps could be a topic for Sidmouth 😉

    David Dunn


    Yes, I agree that there needs to be a group looking at spectroscopy. Whether it should be a sub-section of the variable star section needs to be considered. Perhaps it should be a “pan” sub group offering advice/support to all sections.

    All the best



    Hi Steve & David,

    I agree a spectroscopy section or sub-section would be great. I’m certain this will be a prime topic of discussion at Sidmouth but good to discuss it on the forum as well. The observations on the forum have so far been of variable stars and meteors, not forgetting David Boyd’s excellent journal papers on variable star spectra. There are of course a wide range of other targets which BAA members may be interested in from solar system targets, to nebulae and perhaps the Sun.

    How to approach this is tricky. I think a section in its own right would be good, if it had close ties with other sections. Though running a section is a non-trivial task, as well as of course requiring Council approval. Perhaps a sub-section would be easier to setup, but I guess by definition more limited in scope. With either option, the transition from informal online gathering to a group would require volunteers to answer enquiries and do the admin. The timing of Sidmouth is ideal as this will give a good indication of the amount of interest.

    A related item up for discussion will be whether the BAA (and/or VSS) should create its own database for spectra. Similar to BeSS, but perhaps covering a wider range of objects. As the creator of the VSS online database, I’ve already had this idea floated in my direction..

    Just a few of my thoughts!


    Roger Pickard

    I’m thinking at the moment that it may have to come under a more general section such as the I & I.

    As you say Andy, let’s see what the Meeting brings in October.



    Callum Potter

    Possibly the difficulty of fitting Spectroscopy into an existing observing section lends some strength to it being a section or group in it’s own right. 

    There are similarities with the Radio Astronomy Group, so something like that might suit.

    Of course the recent changes to the BAA ‘constitution’ means that section directors are no longer trustees/directors of the ‘company’ – so there may be less reluctance to consider new sections – or perhaps a more flexible approach with special interest groups could be adopted.

    Hope to make the spectroscopy meeting, but there is a Scotland match that day…


    R.A. Marriott

    The Instruments and Imaging Section has always included spectroscopy within its remit, and my approach as Director is to support all the Observing Sections and to have close ties with them, but not to impinge directly on their work. Like astrophotography and imaging, spectroscopy is a discipline that can be applied to the work of almost all the Sections, and historical precedent demonstrates why there is no need for a new Section. The original BAA Sections included a Spectroscopy Section and a Solar Spectroscopy Section (in addition to the Solar Section), but eventually these were discontinued, as it was considered that spectroscopy had become an applied discipline rather than an activity in its own right. There was also a Photography Section, but in the 1930s this was also discontinued, for the same reason. Fifty years later, in the early 1980s, the Astrophotography Section was inaugurated, but, together with the Telescope Technology Section, was, in 1995, superseded by the Instruments and Imaging Section, dealing with all aspects of practical astronomy. Therefore, I would be pleased to receive enquiries, and would welcome articles on spectroscopy for inclusion in I&I News. As with articles on imaging, these would mostly pertain to instrumentation, techniques, and results, while specific observational results would, of course, be submitted to the appropriate Observing Section or Sections. If you would like to discuss this with me, or if you would like to contribute, please contact me at ram@hamal.demon.co.uk.

    Bob Marriott
    Director, Instruments and Imaging Section


    Bob, Roger and Callum,

    Thanks for your posts. Bob I’ll drop you an email.



    Roger Pickard

    Hi Callum,

    But if you could let me know if you are coming as we need to know for the catering.



    Roger Pickard

    Hi Bob,

    I don’t know why but it seems to me that people never seem to think of posting stuff re spectroscopes to the I&I.

    Something we need to think about.



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