This was the Year of Astronomy. Societies all over the UK took part in various events to celebrate this occasion, which was to commemorate the 400th anniversary of when Galileo first looked through a telescope.
HAS took part in three events. The first was a mini science festival called “4000 years of astronomy in the Highlands”, which took place in March. Held at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, in conjunction with the NTS, the week long festival included a children’s activity afternoon, a planetarium, visits to four schools and a number of speakers including Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland. In addition the observatory was opened all week for public viewing. Many members helped with all the activities.
In May a joint HAS/Sigma event took place in Nairn with Steve Owens giving a talk entitled “Refuting Astrology”.
The third event was in October when we hosted Saturn for the day. Glasgow Science Centre represented the Sun whilst the other planets within our solar system were located at other towns and cities in Scotland at true scale distances hence the reason we were Saturn. A large image of the ringed planet was projected onto the Eastgate wall in Falcon Square and the observatory was open to the public that evening. The sky was beautifully clear allowing 38 people to view Saturn as well as other objects through the Society telescope.
Also this year saw the launch of our new website, our Chairman Eric began broadcasting live images from his garden observatory onto the website, Lynn Robinson made a collection box using marquetry showing a picture of our observatory where it is now housed.
We also had a stand at the Inverness Highland Games, the Black Isle Show, the Eastgate Centre, and the Open Doors event took place at our observatory with 70 visitors. Not only do these events raise our profile but also help with funding along with the monthly raffle and the bag packing that took place in M&S and Tesco.
In November HAS visited the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and in December the second Christmas dinner took place at Bogbain Bristro rounded up the social activities for HAS this year.
Sadly we had to give up our venue at the Green House because it became too expensive to continue our meetings there. Smithton-Culloden Free Church kindly offered their premises and this has become our monthly meeting place.