The Highlands Astronomical Society (HAS) began like most astronomy clubs do, with a small group of passionate star-gazers meeting up to observe the world above together. In 1994, HAS was born from a sensible merger of two groups – the Moray Astronomical Society and the Inverness Astronomical Society. Its first public observing session was held in the car park at Culloden Battlefield. These gatherings continued on a somewhat informal basis until about 1997 when members began to push for more structure. Jim Savage-Lowden, Richard Pearce, Mike Reuss-Newlands, James Dick, Richard Green, Maarten de Vries, and Pauline Macrae are just a few of the founders of HAS, and it’s their hard work that brought it to life.
A lot of effort goes into creating an observatory. A permanent site was needed to build the structure, and planning permission was needed from the National Trust for Scotland. And, of course, there was the matter of finding the funds to purchase the required telescopes. But by 2002, membership was gaining momentum as more joined the effort to make HAS a reality. By 2006, HAS became an official registered charity with the support of many Scottish groups that sponsored its growth.
Today, the Jim Savage-Lowden Observatory is located at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, and HAS members meet the first Tuesday of every month in Inverness. Membership is open at the rate of £20 per person or £32 per year for the whole family.