Page last updated at 01:59 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 02:59 UK

New space observatory completed

Telescope (Pic: HAS)
The new observatory's powerful telescope

Work has been completed on a new 75,000 observatory in the Highlands which is the only one in the region to be available to the public.

Highlands Astronomical Society will officially open the building on 21 June - the Summer Solstice.

The telescope, which was installed in the last few days, allows viewers to see objects 15,000 times fainter than those seen with the naked eye.

The observatory has been built at Culloden Moor, near Inverness.

Society chairman John Gilmour said the observatory would be made available to the public on Fridays during winter months.

He said the aim of the new facility was to encourage greater interest in astronomy, but there had also been approaches made about using it to help in scientific research.

Its site near the National Trust for Scotland's Culloden Battlefield Centre has a reduced affect from man-made light pollution.

Astronomer Royal for Scotland, John Brown, is among the dignitaries invited to the official opening.


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