HAS reached its 10th birthday this year and we celebrated with a group trip to the Glasgow Science Centre and Planetarium where we were given a short presentation by John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland.
A newsletter is now written every month by Antony McEwan to inform members, unable to attend meetings, of what they have missed.
Society members observed the Venus transit – a once in a lifetime event for the Highlands – and we also invited the general public to watch the transit safely with us, through our telescopes. All schools in the region were informed and invited either to join us or view the Venus transit live on our website. A few schools contacted us for further information and one class managed to come along to our observing site on the day.
In September, an open day for HAS was held in the Eastgate Centre, the main shopping mall in Inverness. A large number of the public stopped to look at the telescopes, equipment and poster we had on display, and the children enjoyed the competitions. This was followed by an open evening at our observing site.
A number of talks were given this year to schools, a Brownies group and a couple of other clubs, including neighbouring astronomical clubs.
Dr. Mark Sims made a return visit to the Highlands to report on the possible reasons for the sad loss of the Beagle 2 mission to Mars and what the future plans for further exploration were.
We were disappointed to learn that it was not going to be possible for our observatory to be incorporated as part of the new Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre but we have been offered a site on their land for a permanent observatory. A formal agreement is now being drawn up between HAS and the National Trust for Scotland, which will allow us to proceed with funding applications. Rob Nuttall is in the process of designing the new observatory.
A new website was designed for us by Plexus Media and populated with information by Maarten de Vries and Andy Ferguson.