Observatory Project Executive Summary
Hermanus Astronomy Club
As stated in the attached Observatory Project Business Plan, our club has grown beyond our wildest dreams since its inception in January 2008. We have an ever-growing membership, currently standing at approximately sixty. Our monthly meetings provide very interesting and stimulating lectures by both members and guest speakers on a wide range of subjects pertaining to astronomy. Weather permitting, members are able to observe the night sky outside the Fernkloof Hall, using available telescopes and binoculars.
In this the International Year of Astronomy we have and will continue to arrange various activities that will enhance and contribute to a better understanding of the Cosmos for club members and guests. We will also ‘spread the word’ of the wonders of the night sky to residents and visitors to Hermanus via such things as Sidewalk Astronomy which has already been very successfully tried in Fisherhaven where telescopes will be on display in towns and village centres for passers by to observe the Milky Way and to see at first hand planets such as Jupiter and Saturn.
Club members have already enjoyed a trip to Sutherland which included an escorted tour of the South African Large Telescope (SALT). Another trip was made at the end of February, this time to the Cederberg Observatory.
We have recently affiliated to the national Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA). This will open many more doors to us, giving access to an even wider variety of guest speakers and resources, and putting Hermanus on the country map for astronomy.
Our club is now the proud possessor of two large telescopes which require an Observatory for proper and more detailed night sky observations. We want to emulate the success of the Cederberg Observatory in Hermanus and become another centre for astronomy. This new field of activity will enrich the town’s profile, add to the numbers of visitors, and benefit local businesses. To embrace and increase its current profile of being the best land based whale watching centre in the world, the observatory will provide opportunities for Hermanus to also be a centre for scientific and technical study.
The opportunity for club members to provide educational classes and instruction to both adults and schools on the ‘Wonders of the Planets and the Night Sky around us’ in Hermanus is one not to be missed.
I have felt proud over the past year to have so many new friends willing to explain astronomy to novices who have attended our meetings, gaining tremendously from their new-found knowledge.
We hope you will come along with us, and be a part of putting Hermanus permanently on the astronomical map with all the benefits outlined in this report.
John Saunders (Chairman) of the proposed site for the observatory atop the Rotary drive in Hermanus (indicated by green and white overlay)