Latest News Articles

Click here to see an index of all News articles.

12 September 2020Observing For Absolute Beginners - OISF 2020 Online

The Orkney Night Sky For Beginners

“May Your Constellations Ever Glitter”  - (Howie Firth MBE to Eric Walker on 9th September 2020)


This is a series of short talks and a one hour-long interactive presentation given to the 2020 Orkney International Science Festival Online in September.

The aim of the talks is to show absolute beginners how to find their way around the night sky and pick out a few well known, and beautiful, objects to observe.

It is designed so that no telescope is needed – naked eye observing and a pair of standard binoculars is all that is required.

My virtual observatory for the Science Festival was located on the small island of North Ronaldsay and all the talks are relevant for anyone observing in the Northern Hemisphere.  If you live further south, all the objects will be higher in the sky.  If you live further east or west then objects will be visible earlier or later respectively.

Don’t be too concerned if you are viewing these talks a few weeks or months later – most of these objects are observable throughout the autumn and early winter.  They will be located in different positions and rise & set at different times from those given in the talks but the techniques shown will enable you to account for that.

For the short talks, I have a 5- to 7-minute slot and I was always the last person to be presenting, so, if you slide the viewing bar to about 8 or 9 minutes from the end you should be close to the start of the astronomy segment.

The short talks contain more detail than the single long talk, but the long talk has everything in one place and there’s no other topics to distract you.

Hope you enjoy them and that they encourage you to get out, look up, and start observing the beautiful night sky.


Clear Skies!


Eric Walker

Highlands Astronomical Society - Chair


The Orkney Night Sky For Beginners (55m07s)



Peedie Kirk Lunch – Selene’s Chariot (The Moon) (17m28s)



Peedie Kirk Lunch – The Triangle & The Plough (Constellations & Asterisms) (15m24s)



Peedie Kirk Lunch – A’m An Orcadian … Get Me Oot O’ Here (Navigation Stars) (14m00s)



Peedie Kirk Lunch – The Wanderers (Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, & Venus) (19m28s)



Peedie Kirk Lunch – The Ash Of Yggdrasill (The Milky Way) (16m22s)



Peedie Kirk Lunch – Clusters & Clouds (Seven Sisters, The Double Cluster, & The Andromeda Galaxy) (18m25s)







17 August 2020Arthur Milnes 25.06.1930 - 14.08.2020


It is with overwhelming sadness that we learned that Arthur died on Friday morning.

Arthur had been a stalwart of our Club virtually since its inception and had been very supportive of, and kind to all members, and people in general.  He had an extraordinary intelligence, with an ability to explain difficult astronomical concepts to beginners and he could always answer any question put to him.

Despite turning 90 in June, he was still on the Committee and had agreed to run our Christmas Quiz yet again. His last talk to us was in January last year and he gave a couple more to another club later on in the year.

His passion for space, for flying aircraft in his youth (and what stories he could tell!) as well as aeronautical engineering, ran deep. His practical skills came into their own when it came to both observatories, playing a major role in the taking down, and the erection of, our first observatory, and also making a large contribution to the maintenance of our current Observatory which included  instigating the raffle in order to raise enough money to run the Observatory.  

He gave so much of himself to make the Highlands Astronomical Society as successful as it is and he will very much be missed by us all. 

We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Lorna, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The HAS Committee

10 July 2020HAS Observer's Bingo Card - July & August 2020

Please click on this link to download our Observer's Bingo Card for July & August 2020.  The card is in .pdf format.

We would like to know how you're getting on prior to our August and September Club Meetings so email us with your progress and we'll ensure appropriate recognition is given!

Eric (HAS Chairman)

View All Stories

sitemap | cookie policy | privacy policy | accessibility statement