What is SAGAS?
SAGAS, or the Southern Area Group of Astronomical Societies to give us our full name, is a friendly gathering of Astronomical groups and societies that each recognise the benefits which can arise by being part of a larger community.
SAGAS was established in 1973 to provide a forum where Astronomical Societies across the South of England can meet to share ideas as well as discuss issues and concerns of mutual interest. By sharing ideas and experiences societies are able to inform, support and inspire each other, and further the astronomical interests of their own members.
SAGAS provides a hub that helps Astronomical Societies collaborate and share of knowledge.
It’s all about networking. Astronomical societies are always willing to advise and support each other. Whether you are looking to hold an event, want advice on where to find funding and grants, need to find a guest speaker, or perhaps are interested in finding some partners for a joint project.
Across our membership exists a wealth of information, experience and expertise on just about every aspect of running a society and we can provide ‘template’ policy and guidance in areas such as Health and Safety, Child Protection Policy and Laser Pointers.
“We had developed a comprehensive risk assessment tool for use at our observatory based on industry standards. We have been able to share this with three other SAGAS societies”
(Hampshire Astronomy Group)
SAGAS can lobby on behalf of member groups and societies on local and regional issues affecting the astronomy community. By working together individual groups and societies gain a stronger voice in the community.
Another important role of SAGAS is to provide a conduit between member societies and the Federation of Astronomical Societies, the national body representing astronomical societies.
How we work
SAGAS meets quarterly at the South Downs Planetarium, Chichester to discuss issues and concerns of mutual interest. In this friendly and social environment SAGAS members can establish connections with the astronomy community, talk to people with common aims and objectives, share knowledge and ideas, and ask for advice.
Our annual Summer Meetings are a highlight of the SAGAS calendar. Summer meetings provide a whole day of entertainment and education and are held at different locations each year. Past venues have included the Mullard Space Science Laboratory. These events are open to all members of SAGAS groups and societies.
Is my society eligible to join SAGAS?
Membership of SAGAS is open to any non-commercial astronomical group or society that is set up as a democratic body with appropriately audited accounts.
There are no formal boundaries to the SAGAS area – if your group or society is eligible and wishes to join us we would be glad to have you as members. Likewise, we have no rigid criteria for what constitutes a group or society. We will offer the same warm welcome to traditional societies with regular monthly meetings as we would to small informal groups of astronomers who meet occasionally and only for observing. A more recent phenomenon is the advent of more loosely bound astronomical communities that come together via the Internet. It’s horses for courses and we recognize that people want to participate in different ways and we would encourage any group or society to join in, regardless of how it is organized.