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Highlands Astronomical Society

December Club News

Added on 02 January 2020

December Club News presented to Members & Visitors at our last Monthly Club Meeting on Tuesday 3rd December 2019.


Chairman's Chat

Eric opened the meeting by welcoming members and our regular visitors from SIGMA.


  • Sad News

Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland died suddenly on 16th November

Many of you will remember him officially opening our JSL Observatory in 21st June 2008, and

Also for his unusual presentation style where he combined magic tricks with his astronomy talks

Dave has a slide in his presentation showing John cutting the tartan ribbon at the observatory opening


  • Observatory

The weather has been unkind to us last month - not unusual for November however - and curtailed our observing sessions

As part of our cost control efforts we are trialling different ways/times of heating our observatory dome in order to avoid moisture build up. We are aware of not making the mistake of trying to save pennies and cost ourselves thousands of pounds by being over-restrictive on use of electricity for heating!


  • Observing & Outreach

Mercury Transit at UHI, Inverness had to be cancelled due to the terrible weather which wiped out virtually all planned UK events

Loch Ness Rotary Club talk scheduled for Wed 13th Nov had to be postponed due to personal circumstances. It will be planned in again shortly

We have planned in a large number of Observing sessions over the next few weeks

We are keen to increase members interest & participation in practical astronomy & have a good mix of dark sky, lunar, & planetary sessions coming up.

We have identified the need for a Host role at our Observing Sessions which takes the form of meet & greet and chaperone/guide as opposed to a technical observing role.

Karen, Gail, and Sharon have recently tested this out for us and it has proved a great success!

You don’t need to be an experienced astronomer to help us out with this role and we would love to have a few of you volunteer for this.

Contact Dave if you want to learn more about this and think you could help out


  • January Meeting

Our Next Meeting is being held on Tue 7th Jan with a fascinating talk from local professional astronomer Stephen Mackintosh- one for your diaries!


  • Mini-Questionaire Sheets are on your tables

Please comment on the good/bad points of this meeting, the Club in general, and we would especially like to receive feedback on the types of talks you would like to hear!

We are in the process of planning next year’s programme and want to ensure we get the type & level of talk just as you want it!


After pointing out some key points in the Notices, Eric handed over to Quizmaster Arthur Milnes who conducted an excellent and enjoyable astronomy quiz which ended up as close run thing this year.  With mince pies at the interval, and an excellent Club News presented by Dave Davidson we were perfectly set up for next club observing sessions taking us out of 2019 and into 2020.


Dave's Monthly Club News report is attached as a PowerPoint presentation 

The presentation contains news, updates, and photos of the following

Observatory News

Binocular Challenge

Mercury Solar Transit

Members Photos


Clear skies


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