Welcome to the Highlands Astronomical Society

Highlands Astronomical Society (HAS) is where amateur astonomers and others with an interest in astronomy share their passion for the stars, planets and all other wonders of the Universe.








There is something for everyone, from talks to observing sessions, suitable for all - from absolute beginners to the more advanced astronomer. Most of our activities take place in and around Culloden, where we meet every month and have our own observatory.

Monthly Meetings

We meet monthly, on the first Tuesday of each month at Smithton Culloden Free Church (second Tuesday in January) from 19:15 (for 19:30) - 22:00. All welcome. Your first visit is free. The Youngstars, for ages 8-14, meet at the same Venue, prior to the main Meeting, from 19:00 - 19.30. Directions to the venue are on the 'Find Us' page. 

See the 'Meetings and Events' page for more information.

Moray's Astronomy Club - SIGMA

We have a reciprocal agreement with Moray's Astronomy Club which allows Members to attend each others' Club Meetings without charge.  SIGMA 

Observing Sessions

There are public evening observing sessions on 2-3 Fridays each month throughout the winter at the JSL Observatory located at Culloden Battlefield, opposite the NTS Visitor Centre (directions). We also host Solar Saturdays through the summer months where you can SAFELY view the Sun with specialist equipment. Please be sure to visit the JSL Observatory page before joining us - it will help you to get the most out of your observatory visit.

Observing Guides for the upcoming sessions can be downloaded here        -          Friday Session        Saturday Session

See the 'JSL Observatory' panel in the right-hand column for the date, time and status of our next observing session. This is updated in the hours before a session, so do check back before setting out.


The Hunting of Comet 46P/Wirtanen - Observing & Photography Challenge

Find details of HAS end of year Member's Challenge here


  • 06.12.18:  Astrophotography Group member Dave Davidson captures image of the comet from JSL Observatory (see Gallery below)
  • 03.12.18: There is a challenge for the confirmed first sighting of Comet 46P/Wirtanen by HAS members!!

    • Dave Davidson reported he was up at JSL Observatory this evening between 1800h-2100h and saw the comet with his Bresser scope for about 30 seconds before the clouds came in and obscured it.

    • James Hitchmough reported, via SMS text message, that he had observed the comet at 2245h using 10x42 binoculars. The comet was immediately apparent as a bright, dense core with a large diffuse halo, a "squashed teardrop" shape.  The mag6 estimate is pretty good too.

    • On receiving James' text, Eric Walker went out the back of his home in Conon Bridge and confirmed James' description with 10x50 binoculars.  He rushed to set up his camera before the low cloud came in again and managed to fire off four rapidly setup shots. He has definitely captured an and will post it in a wee while (see Gallery below)

    • I think Dave & James will be sharing the mince pie at our December Monthly Meeting tomorrow!!

  • 17.11.18: Observing Team & Astrophotography Group members (Eric Walker, Dave Davidson, & James Hitchmough) accompanied by Observer Andy Edgar, scanned the JSL Observatory horizon with the HAS Dobsonian and their own scopes between 9:45pm and 11:00pm.  No comet sighting could be confirmed. A series of astropics was taken and detailed examination could not reveal even the faintest trace of the comet.
  • 11.11.18: "Now it has brightened to 6.6 mag (Nov. 11, Chris Wyatt; latest light curve here). It will approach Earth down to 0.08AU mid-December, and is on course to brighten up to mag 3. In the Northern Hemisphere, it locates low until November, but it stays observable in excellent condition until after December."


Our Image Gallery with high resolution images and details of image capture & processing is located on Flickr

Latest Images

Also see our social media for more images:

Our older images can still be viewed at

HAS Archived Gallery Index

Observing Guide Series - Weekly Binocular Objects

Series of observing guides focusing on binocular astronomy, with a new object introduced every week. Suitable for everyone, from complete beginners to more experienced observers - anyone with a binocular in fact!

Latest Edition:


Fancy a "small" scope that thinks it's bigger than it is? Want it with a posh dual-speed Crayford focuser and a triplet ED lens assembly? Ok? Want it with a carbon-fibre tube? Well, alright then: here's the TS TLAPO906T ED Triplet refractor. Read the review of it by Antony McEwan.

Space Exploration News Update – January 2019 by Pat Williams

  • China's Chang'e-4 probe takes first image of moon's far side.
  • New Horizons' newest and best-yet view of Ultima Thule.
  • Dark Energy Survey completes six-year mission.
  • Solar flares: from emergence to eruption.
  • Concrete in space.
  • Scientists finally know what time it is on Saturn.
  • Links to other space and astronomy news published in January 2019. 

This and all previous editions can be accessed HERE



JSL ObservatoryNext Observing Session
Public & Members

Sat 23rd Feb


All welcome!
Directions can be found here, and a list of planned observing sessions is on the JSL Observatory page. Please check back here for the latest status before setting out.

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