ASSA Annual General Meeting – 2014

Minutes of the 2013/2014 AGM

Date: 2014 August 06
Time: 19:30 to 21:45
Venue: Johannesburg Observatory



Matie Hoffman (ASSA President), Jerome Jooste (Meeting Host; Chair of Johannesburg Centre), Adv AJ Nel (Hon Treasurer), Lerika Cross (Hon Secretary), Chris Stewart (Council Member), Bosman Olivier (Chair – Pretoria Centre), Dave Blane (Section Director – Shallow Sky), Johan Smit (Section Director – Dark Sky), Allen Versfeld (Section Director – Imaging), Gary Els (ASSA Johannesburg Centre), Melvin Hannibal (ASSA Johannesburg Centre), Alec Jamieson (ASSA Johannesburg Centre), Gil Stewart (ASSA Johannesburg Centre), Pat Kuhn (ASSA Pretoria Centre), Percy Jacobs (ASSA Pretoria Centre). Two members from the Johannesburg and Pretoria Centres whose names were not visible on the attendance register.


Dr I Glass (Outgoing Vice President), Pierre de Villiers (Chair – Hermanus Centre), Case Rijsdijk (Chair – Garden Route Centre, MNASSA Editor, ASSA Communications Officer), Maciej Soltynski (Council Member, Convenor of Scholarships), Christian Hettlage (Web Master), Peter Dormehl (Chair – Durban Centre), Auke Slotegraaf (Sky Guide Editor, Section Director – Deep-Sky), Kos Coronaios (ASSA Observing Director)


J Jooste, the ASSA Centre Chair, who fulfilled the role of host and Master of Ceremonies for the AGM welcomed everyone and opened the meeting.
Apologies received are recorded in these minutes.

Minutes/Matters arising

The minutes of the previous AGM meeting held on 7 August 2013 were accepted without amendments. There were no matters arising from previous AGM meeting.

Report on Council 2013/14

The ASSA President, Prof M Hoffman presented his Report on Council.
NOTE: All reports will be placed on the website and in MNASSA.

ASSA Director Reports

Reports received from the ASSA Directors
4.1 The reports that were received from ASSA Directors were tabled and read and accepted by the meeting:
a) The Shallow Sky Section Report was read by the Director, D Blane.
b) The Deep Sky Section Report received from the Director, A Slotegraaf was read by D Blane.
c) The Imaging Section Report was read by the Director, A Versfeld.
d) The Cosmology Section Report received from J de Bruyn was read by C Stewart.
e) The Historical Section report received from C de Coning was read by C Stewart.
f) The Instrumentation Section Report was read by the Director, C Stewart.
g) The Dark Sky Section Report was read by the Director, J Smit.
h) The Observing Director Report received from the Director K Coronaios was read by J Smit.
i) The Outreach Report was read by the Director, J Smit.

4.2 A Jamieson raised one question: why is the Shallow Sky Section called by that name and not perhaps Solar System Section. After some discussion, it was agreed that L Cross will solicit input from the team who proposed the name and will then respond to A Jamieson. This was communicated to A Jamieson after the meeting:

Why Shallow Sky Section and not Solar System:
Shallow sky is a well-established term.
Wikipedia definition: Shallow sky is a term sometimes used by amateur astronomers, as the opposite to deep sky. The shallow sky is space within our solar system, plus our own atmosphere. Sky phenomena such as planetary conjunctions, solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, as well as atmospheric phenomena like haloes, rainbows, and noctilucent clouds, are all occurring in the shallow sky.
ASSA used to have a whole slew of items, such as double stars, occultations, solar, etc., and rationalized them into two broad categories because there was a drop-off in participation in some observing sections so some consolidation was in order.
“Shallow sky” was chosen in part because astronomers are also very much interested in weather and atmospheric effects, which they tend to notice and which affect their other observing. Shallow sky includes all this, as well as man-made satellites and probes and their environs, and has been in common use for at least since the early 1980s. It is an obvious antonym to Deep Sky.

Scholarships Report

5.1 The ASSA Convenor of Scholarships Report received by the Scholarship Convenor, M Soltynski was read by B Olivier.

Financial Reports 2013/14

AJ Nel presented the 2013/14 Financial Report [download as a PDF].


ASSA Endowment Trust Report
7.1 T Cooper, the nominated representative to Council of the ASSA Endowment Trust, presented the report from ASSET.

Election of Auditor

8.1 L Cross advised the meeting that the current auditor, Ronnie Glass, was contacted to ask if he will be prepared to be continue as ASSA Auditor and that Ronnie Glass agreed to continue.

Office Bearers 2014/15

Election of Office Bearers 2014/15
9.1 The meeting was advised that there was no need for voting for the positions of Council. The Treasurer and Secretary have agreed to continue their roles on Council but confirmation must still be received from P Booth, the Membership Secretary, that she will be available to continue in the role. Two nominations for Council Members were received and accepted by the nominees and by Council at its meeting of 14 July 2014: Chris Stewart and Maciej Soltynski.

9.2 The Council positions for the 2013/14 year were presented as follows:

  • President: Prof Matie Hoffman
  • Vice President: Pierre de Villiers
  • Outgoing Vice President: Dr Ian Glass
  • Treasurer: Adv AJ Nel
  • Secretary: Lerika Cross
  • Membership Secretary: Vacancy – to be handled by AJ Nel supported by L Cross until replacement can be found
  • Council Member : Chris Stewart
  • Council Member : Maciej Soltynski
  • Cape Chair: Frank Jacobs
  • Durban Chair: Peter Dormehl
  • Garden Route Chair: Case Rijsdijk
  • Johannesburg Chair: Jerome Jooste
  • Pretoria Chair: Bosman Olivier
  • Hermanus Chair: Pierre de Villiers
  • Bloemfontein Chair: AGM results not yet known

ASSA Council Awards

10.1 The President, Prof Matie Hoffman presented the 2013/14 ASSA Awards.
The motivations in support of the awards are appended to his Presidents Report.

10.2 Awards and citations:
McIntyre Award to Dr Ian Glass
Upon the recommendation of this Society Dr Ian Glass has been awarded a
McIntyre Award for his publication, Nicolas-Louis de La Caille – Astronomer and Geodesist, which meets the criteria for academic standard, originality and literary presentation. (find out more)

Merit Award to Auke Slotegraaf
Upon the recommendation of this Society Auke Slotegraaf has been awarded a
Merit Award for his sterling contribution to the modernisation of the ASSA website, as well as establishing the new ASSA communication channels, whilst maintaining his normal high standard as Deep Sky Section Director (find out more)

Long Service Award to Maciej Soltynski
Upon the recommendation of this Society Maciej Soltynski has been awarded a
Long Service Award in appreciation for his many valuable contributions made to furthering ASSA interests over 25 years (find out more)

President’s Award to Chris Stewart
Upon the recommendation of this Society Chris Stewart has been awarded a
President’s Award for his contribution to the art of telescope making in South Africa for a period of 20 years (find out more)

10.3 ASSA Director awards and commendations are recorded in the Director reports and also on the website.

Any other business

As no other business was raised, J Jooste closed the formal part of the meeting.

Presidential Address

Prof Matie Hoffman presented his Presidential Address.

Next Council meeting

Preliminary date: 22 September 2014 19:30 via Skype


J Jooste extended a gracious thank you to Prof Matie Hoffman for his Presidential Address. And thanked everyone for their attendance and wished them well. Prof Matie Hoffman thanked Johannesburg Centre again for their hospitality. The meeting closed at 21:45