Observing sessions had been curtailed due to the lack of an observatory and work going on at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre. The building of our new observatory made steady progress and, apart from a slight delay due to the fireproofing of the timber, it was opened on the 21st June by Professor John Brown the Astronomer Royal for Scotland (see News Headlines "JSL Observatory Opened by Astronomer Royal).
The Rt Hon Charles Kennedy, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, and the Provost of Inverness were also present and spoke a few words. A large number of members came along to support the event and helped out in numerous ways. Simon Urry managed to persuade the Storehouse of Foulis to provide a marquee free of charge for refreshments and the possibility of rain. However it turned out dry, sunny and warm, which helped to make the day a great success. Arthur and Lorna Milnes opened their garden afterwards in a continued bid to raise money.
First light for the members took place on an intermittently clear night at the end of August and gave many a chance to look through the new ‘scope as well as a chance for the Telescope Team to put it through its paces – fantastic! There have been a number of open days this year to promote our observatory, and the public observing session after the last one was attended by around 100 people even though the skies were overcast.
STV liked the pilot programme, made last year, enough to make a series of four programmes with HAS featuring in the third one. They were aired in July this year.
A childrens group was started in September by Trina Shaddick and myself, and helped by Emma Tidey. Numerous groups have asked HAS to give talks and, once the observatory was opened, for tours as well.
In December our first Christmas dinner took place at The Anderson in Fortrose to complete a busy year.