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IFAS, roads, national astronomy... was Sligo Astronomy Group

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8 years 9 months ago - 8 years 9 months ago #104742 by dave_lillis
John, sounds like the ideal way to run such events, its similar to whats done here.
All the astro events promoted here (be they club events or otherwise) should not be seen as been in competition with each other, its not about anyone getting one up on anyone else,
For instance, if we in SAC decide to run other events, we will absolutely not clash with anyone else's event, we're not out to scuttle anyone, at the very basic level its bad manners to do so.

John, are you involved in the Sligo group ?

@manic-dave, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how you think things should be differently structured.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor
Last edit: 8 years 9 months ago by dave_lillis.

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8 years 9 months ago #104744 by johnomahony

Dave_Lillis wrote: John, sounds like the ideal way to run such events, its similar to whats done here.

John, are you involved in the Sligo group ?

@manic-dave, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how you think things should be differently structured.


I haven't met the Sligo lads yet. I'm not here at the weekends so it is a bit difficult. Hopefully soon.

One thing that we don't seem to do much of is combining club resources in organising events. For example in Aussie, if a major event was being organised on an annual basis, the clubs would rotate around each year as to who hosts it but help each other out. For example, a hypothetical "Munster Star Party" would be organised by SAC one year, Kerry the next and Cork the following year. That way the club only has to host every three years-less work, more fun, less financial burden, bigger critical mass of people to attend and the clubs get to collaborate more.

I think the Skellig event is a great idea and sets a benchmark.( Very similar to the Ice in Space astro camp event). I hope to attend next year. It didn't need a club to organise it, just a few individuals with the will to do it and a bit of leadership. It just shows what the potential is.

The Lord giveth, the Revenue taketh away. (John 1:16)

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8 years 9 months ago #104749 by manic_dave

Dave_Lillis wrote:
@manic-dave, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how you think things should be differently structured.


I believe that astronomy needs a strong voice in Ireland at the armature level otherwise its left to David Moore. And all he is interested in is making money IMHO. I have told him this to his face several times. There is little joined up thinking on national subjects. I don't agree that IFAS did a great job for the solar eclipse. In fact it could have gone very wrong. The excuse of leaving it up to the clubs just does not cut it, IFAS should be steering the events. we have one of the best Lunar eclipses in years this month. A national set of advertised and organised events needs to be set up. Republic of Astronomy have the audience, we have the experience, why are we not working with Anthony? This is my point about IFAS not fitting everyone. There is a very obvious link up here, but nobody has taken this on.

IFAS is afraid of its history, and this position of not welcoming help from the corporate side of Astronomy due to the legacy of not wanting to deal with Moore is holding it back. I am very aware that a significant offer was made to fun this website a few years ago. What happened, nothing. Plenty of talking no decision and ultimately the offer rejected. All behind closed doors.

I know within my old club a decision was taken so that the chair and the club sec would always be the IFAS reps. This is excluding the view of club members. I don't agree with IFAS reps electing a chairperson or a president for that matter. This should be an open vote between all members of all cubs or groups that wish to be part of the IFAS structure.

IFAS should lead the way with this website as a forum for exchange of information and help for its members and the general public. But it must have a strong social media presence, again I point to what Republic of Astronomy are doing with zero funding. This forum needs to be refreshed and updated. Astronomy Shed in the UK is a good example of a well run website.

Star parties are the life blood of our hobby, and we have some cracking events. But there is friction and it should not be ignored. IFAS should be the head of this and help allocate out slots so events don't pile up on each other. It should also fund raise to provide help in brining these events into the public sphere.

The astrophoto competition was handled very badly, and this was long before the issues with scopes and space. Taking weeks to return results and voting going on weeks longer than it should. I don't believe that one person should have been responsible to do all the work, as it seemed. But again all the discussion for this in a private forum for a few.

We have the talent in this country, Dee, Michael O Connell, Dave G, Brian Mc Gabhann is an amazing speaker. John Flannary, Kevin in Meath Astronomy. Look at what a few of us did in SSP and what the lads out the west are going to do. The work Anthony does is just brilliant on zero funding.

I propose that IFAS as it is, is no longer relevant. It should appoint someone with vision to bring the organisation along and be a focal point for all that's good about Irish Astronomy. Someone who we can put forward as an alternative to Moore in the media and strengthen the name of Irish astronomy. There are a few people very capable of doing this and I have mentioned them. But with an exclusive behind closed doors policy that will not happen.

The structure should be of a national organisation with the support of groups and clubs. Voted for by the members, with a mandate and a constitution. It should be the focal point of the hobby and be very visible in the public eye. I think a good debate is needed to look at this kind of idea in detail.

www.skelligstarparty.com
Europe's Darkest Skies
Top 4 Locations in the world to Stargaze by Paste Magazine.
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8 years 9 months ago - 8 years 9 months ago #104751 by johnflannery
Hi Dave,

Many thanks for that mention of my name along with the illustrious company. I'll probably not actually join the discussion but just add a few items.

My battle with some health issues is probably what has stymied me somewhat for many years and meant not completing some astronomy goals or stopping involvement with certain projects such as the Arcturus magazine. That said, I've a few niche projects now such as the IFAS calendar, doing the odd talk, and helping at Dunsink Observatory. I probably couldn't take on anything additional to be honest.

I was asked to give a talk in late-July at an event organised by a venture called Seasonal Beast to tie in with that night's Blue Moon. Another speaker who we all know but will not be named used their talk to mostly promote and highlight their own upcoming events. I actually said to the organisers afterwards that the talk was an utter disgrace and that person essentially hijacked what should have been a neutral event celebrating the Moon in music and word.

So true then Dave that it would be nice for a higher profile for IFAS or similar to be the go-to group, etc for genuine and unbiased information on astronomy. There are many people sending out such details already but maybe if we looked at the upcoming calendar and decide what is worth promoting and doing so well.

Also, re: Anthony's FB site and also the SSP's one, there is such a bewildering array of social media tools now that it is hard to coordinate it all or even push info out to them. Like you, it's possible we are both thinking there are many members of the IFAS boards but only a handful on the site regularly. That's where FB, Twitter, etc. is better. I set up a Twitter account last year but it's another project currently simmering slowly on the fire.

Chat soon,

John
Last edit: 8 years 9 months ago by johnflannery.

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8 years 9 months ago - 8 years 9 months ago #104753 by dave_lillis
Alot of points there Dave, what I say below are my own thoughts, not the thoughts of the anyone else,

At the end the day, IFAS can only do what the clubs are willing to do, is there no point in IFAS promoting events if the clubs/goups aren't behind it, some club are very active, others aren't. Some are astrophysics/theory orientated, others are more observing orientated, it's just the way it is, each club suits its own audience.

From what I can see, IFAS promotes events that individual clubs come up with through this site, its up to people to get off their backsides and go to them. The clubs run IFAS, IFAS serves as a conduit for the clubs. Another model (which I think you might be suggesting) would be where IFAS is a national club/society and the "clubs" are effectively branches, maybe that would be a better model, I don't know, .. would it make IFAS more effective or just bog it down in bureaucracy, egos and politics ??

I don't think the clubs in Cork, Limerick, Belfast or where ever need IFAS telling them to promote the upcoming lunar eclipse for example, if that club is going to hold an event, then they're going to promote it.
If you mean IFAS needs a good speaker to push events on the radio and even go on TV and other media, then yes, that would be a good idea.

As for "that" guy in the other so called astro "club", who cares, he does his thing, everyone knows what he's about, the internet has seen to that, he is always going to be there no matter what we do. Sure we can be competition for him, but at the end of the day, not matter what we do, he isn't going to go away...
As far as I know, and I could be wrong here, the body is an actual company he owns, this is how he can devote so much time to it cos its his actual job. We're all working, no one working can operate on that level..

Regarding corporate sponsorship, here in SAC back in the days of the WSP, we very happily took in corporate sponsorship and promoted the sponsors, I didn't think anyone here was afraid of it. Also, I didn't think this website was in need of sponsorship to keep it going ? As the IFAS committee meet so infrequently, I guess it can take alot of time to get to a decision I guess..

As for IFAS reps, I wasn't aware of the situation you describe. For ourselves in SAC, anyone on our committee who wants the IFAS reps position can have it, that goes for nearly almost any position (there are time as a member rules for the top senior posts). We deliberately avoid and prevent anyone having too much control or getting into a rut, we actively seek club enthusiastic "ordinary" club members to join out committee. If a club turns into a one man band, disaster is inevitable as they will eventually burn out. I had hoped the committee in IFAS was organized the same way.

Regarding this site, the likes of facebook and others have put bulletin boards everywhere into a very third place. Our own facebook page in SAC has killed off the public side of our own bulletin boards, its still up but is more of an archive. Facebook is our primary promotion tool. Having said that there is no real censorship here, you guys organized the SSP on these boards to a certain extent, it wasn't an ifas club event, the ifas clubs pay for this site, but in the spirit of promoting astronomy nothing was done to stifle it, it would have been mean spirited and that's not these boards are about. People make these boards what they are.

Maybe I'm wrong here, its not IFAS itself you don't agree with, but how you think its run...

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor
Last edit: 8 years 9 months ago by dave_lillis.
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8 years 9 months ago #104754 by dmcdona

johnomahony wrote: with basic kitchen and toilet facilities to interact with each other

I would be happy to share my experiences with anyone who is interested.


John - please *do* share... :-)

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