Councillor Neil Reilly, his wife Wendy and Councillor Dennis Seage strolled up to Blowhole Point following the May Council meeting
to join the largish crowd gathered on the southern side of the lighthouse.
David Finlay, a keen local amateur astronomer, had let it be known on social media that he would be setting his telescope up to show people Jupiter and its moons, the rings of Saturn and our own moon. At least a hundred people took up his offer, including The Bugle. Being given a glimpse of what’s out in our solar system created an atmosphere of awe and delight. David even held people’s phones to the eyepiece to capture souvenir shots of the spectacular southern night sky.
Councillor Reilly was so impressed with David’s initiative he set a meeting with him to explore how this popular ‘Pop-up’ phenomenon could grow into something more permanent.
“We have a fairly inadequately sized and located tourism tnformation centre on Blowhole Point which hinders and encroaches on the view of the Historic Pilot’s Cottage. The excellently run café attached to this needs work and we need to develop attractions in town to make the most of off-peak tourism,” he says.
“You could imagine, with a bit of ingenuity, using local basaltic rock, we could build a domed observatory. It could serve our community and visitors alike, creating an ionic structure that would serve as a public observatory, café and tourist information centre that is sympathetic to the local environment.
“David tells me that, with easily obtained filters, observation of the sun in daylight hours would also be achieved.”
Neil says subsequent talks with David have convinced him it’s a project with merit on education, tourism and amenity grounds.
“I have asked David to provide information and perhaps present our ideas to the Economic Development Committee I chair, so the merit of an observatory can be explored.
“Building an observatory is a great idea, and I believe it is an opportunity for us to develop an attraction that will benefit the whole community.”