To start the meeting our President Mark Phillips updated us on the upcoming Society programme. This was important because this meeting also included our AGM. Mark also pointed out that our membership now stands at 171.
Our guest speaker was Mr Jim Paterson, a semi – retired lighting engineer based in Moffat, who spoke to us about “The mustard seed which grew into an observatory”, the story of his involvement in International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) accreditation for places as far apart as Orkney and St Helena, and, in the case of Moffat, how that led to a brand new community observatory !
Jim led us through the ins and outs of navigating the “red tape” jungle of creating lighting plans for communities and then persuading local authorities to make the necessary changes and applying for IDA accreditation. In the case of Moffat, this took the best part of 10 years !
This was followed by the fascinating details of the observatory build, utilizing a bespoke kit built garden log cabin and a commercial prefab dome. Funding from SSE plc, clever design and the enthusiasm, hard work and unquenchable spirit of the Moffat Astronomy Club, plus the support of youngsters from Moffat Academy, made the observatory a reality.
I think we were all impressed with Jim himself, who, having already “retired”, had by his own efforts, given back dark skies to over 133,000 people and 4,000 square miles of our planet.
Nigel Goodman gave us the “Sky in June” and reminded us that astronomy is still possible through this season of light nights.
Lastly, our AGM once again thanked the Council and membership of the Society, for a hugely successful year and set the scene for another star-filled year to come.