Happy Birthday #2, BAS!

By p6; Published 22 Jul 2008

Today, on the 22nd of July 2008, The Bangalore Astronomical Society celebrates what it deems it's unofficial birthday. Exactly, two years ago, Seven of the BAS founding members met up in the lush green lawns of Cubbon Parkon a typical Bangalore evening to brainstorm upon what was to evolve to be a common interest forum for all astronomy enthusiasts in Bangalore.

Today, The Bangalore Astronomical Society is a registered NPO and has catered to thousands of Bangaloreans through it's public outreach programmes. We've taken Astronomy to the malls, the parks, the schools, the corporates, the villages, or to generalize in short - the average Bangalorean. In two years of BAS, we'll undoubtedly rate this aspect of our work as the most contenting and motivating. The public attention and media features have given BAS the early exposure it's needed. We've found like minded people who have become an instrumental part of our mission and it's implementation.

Popularization of Astronomy apart, We have been an initiative organization when it comes to the practical aspects of Astronomy. Hub to some of the most obsessed observers in town, BAS has conducted regular observation sessions, photography sessions, star parties, tours and more. Here too, our success has been prolific, with casual attendees turning into regulars. With regular meetups that have often featured presentations and talks apart from administrative discussions and monthly plans, We've maintained good organization of our volunteer base.

Internet-centricity has been a trait of BAS that has done us a lot of good. While the original initiative itself was spurred thanks to a popular social network, BAS takes much of it's administration and event management on to the internet. Divided into multiple and disparate platforms on the internet, BAS today boasts of a user base of over 500 on this web portal, more than 100 subscribers to it's mailing list on google groups, more than 350 subscribers to it's online newsletter and last but not least, about 425 members in it's parent community on a popular social network. This website serves to be the public window of BAS, offers dedicated contact channels for interaction with the BAS administration board, helps manage and coordinate BAS events, and offers networking and publishing features to it's users. The core group of around 15 members, 11 of who are nominated annually coordinate amongst themselves on a high activity mailing list. On the whole, the internet has proved to be a cheap and effective platform for BAS, without which all the success it has achieved today wouldn't have been possible.

While that has been the story of success, like any non profit organization, we too have faced ups and downs and all the hassles that a niche people-centric organization does. There have been lean patches of activity, especially given the fact that amateur astronomy is a pretty season specific affair. But complacency has never persevered, and activities have always begun afresh as soon as the skies have opened up. BAS has been fighting this seemingly inevitable spell of hibernation by trying to come up with off-season programmes, with a pedagogical theme. Our progress will be documented as ever. Cooperation from every BAS member shall be a contribution to the community and to a good cause.

We would like to thank once again today, all those who have been instrumental in the success of this initiative. We will seek your continued support and encouragement to keep all the good work going.

We will be holding a meeting shortly to commemorate this occasion, recall some old memories, make some fresh plans and taste some churmuri. Please watch the events section and the mailing lists for an announcement.