Welcome to the Rolnick Observatory

We’re a non-profit 501c3 organization comprised of volunteers that are dedicated to bringing the wonders of the night sky to the public. You can find us every Wednesday night from 8-10pm (weather permitting & when the skies are clear) for our public nights and enjoy the views of planets, nebulae, and other deep sky objects through our telescopes.

The Dome Observatory houses a 12.5″ Newtonian telescope and the lawn regularly hosts the newly upgraded and HUGE 25″ Obsession telescope, the largest in Connecticut available to the public. In addition, please join us for our free monthly lectures, featuring the best speakers from around the world in diverse fields such as astronomy, cosmology, and physics. There are additional special, private events scheduled throughout the year for our members.

 

 

 NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, November 18, 8:00pm

The Westport Astronomical Society’s Free Monthly Lecture Series

atlantis-from-remoteStan Honda, is a New York-based photographer and worked as a photojournalist for 34 years, most recently for Agence France-Presse (AFP), the French news agency. He covered a wide range of topics including news events, politics, economics, sports and human interest stories. Photographing the space shuttle program for five years was a highlight of his time at AFP since he has been following the space program since childhood.

Personal projects include documenting the U.S. concentration camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II, his parents and relatives among those held. Photos of the sites and survivors can be seen in the Internment Camp section.

A continuing project involves night sky landscapes, combining his long time interest in astronomy and photography. He has worked as an artist-in-residence at four national parks: the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Wupatki in Arizona and Rocky Mountain in Colorado, photographing the sky and the landscape with the aim of helping preserve our view of the night sky. Photography of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico was used in a report that led to Chaco being designated an International Dark Sky Park.

Lunar Eclipse 10/8/14 NYC

Lunar Eclipse 10/8/14 NYC

He manages to photograph celestial events even from New York City.

On Tuesday November 18th I’ll show some recent highlights from my photojournalism career including covering five years of space shuttle missions as well as the best of my astro-photos. As a boy I was very interested in astronomy and the space program so it was a thrill to photograph the shuttle. In the past few years I’ve been able to combine my interest in the stars and photography into what I call night sky landscapes. The photographs show the sky in relation to terrestrial features, which allow people to see the celestial objects on a human scale with the Earth. This sky and the Milky Way should be seen everywhere, though in much of the country it can’t be seen due to light pollution. Preservation of the night sky as a resource is one aim of the photographs. In the past few years I’ve been a National Park Service artist-in-residence at four national parks out west, and have been able to capture the beauty of truly dark skies.

Coming Soon:

Dr. Ashley Pagnotta

Dr. Ashley Pagnotta

December 16 – Dr. Ashley Pagnotta – Observational Physicist at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Pagnotta is interested in a wide variety of stellar explosions, specifically those that occur on and in white dwarfs, the leftover cores of stars like our Sun, everything from classical novae to Type Ia supernovae. She uses a variety of observational tools to conduct her research across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from the latest space X-ray telescopes to archival glass plates taken more than a century ago. Dr. Pagnotta is currently working on a survey program to determine how novae behave after their eruptions, and continues to remain interested in solving the Type Ia supernova progenitor problem.

Michele Limon

Michele Limon

CMB_Timeline75

January 20, 2015Michele Limon – Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University. “The CMB from Curiosity to Tool”

Discovered in 1965 the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is the relic thermal radiation from the hot Big Bang that gave birth to our Universe 13.7 billion year ago. In the nearly 50 years since its discovery the CMB has developed in one of the most powerful tool in the hands of cosmologist to study the evolution and compositions of our Universe. In this talk I will walk thought the major theoretical and observational milestones of the last five decades, describe the current state of the art in CMB research and speculate about its future.

 

Dr. Carter Emmart

Dr. Carter Emmart

February 17, 2015 – Dr. Carter Emmart, Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium – Carter is the Director of groundbreaking space shows and heads up development of the interactive 3D atlas The Digital Universe.
Imre Bartos

Imre Bartos

March 17, 2015 - Imre Bartos, Columbia University physicist. Black Holes, and What We Can Learn from Them without Falling in Breakthroughs in our understanding of the physical world often come from the exploration of Nature at its extremes. In many cases these explorations lead us far away from Earth, into the cosmos. From the earliest times and greatest distances, to the strongest forces and highest energies, astronomical observations helped us reach depths unachievable on Earth. Black holes are one of the most mysterious creatures of the cosmos. They are barely observable from afar, but show peculiar behavior once something or someone is nearby. We have surprisingly little information about them (none has been directly observed so far!), and we seem to have no mechanism at our disposal, even in principle, to peek into their inner workings. Beyond being distant, enigmatic objects, black holes are also one of the best tools to examine extreme phenomena and expand our horizon of fundamental physics and astronomy. I will present black holes from this, somewhat unusual, perspective: their role in helping us better understand Nature.

Please Support Science in your Community with a Donation to WAS

Contribute $29.95 to WAS and use Slooh for 90 days – FREE!

Slooh

Click the banner and contribute $29.95 to the Westport Astronomical Society and you get Slooh FREE for 90 days!

The Rolnick Observatory is 100% supported by your donations and memberships. We are all unpaid volunteers and completely rely on YOU for financial support. No tax-deductible amount you can give is too small and no amount is too great! Please donate or become a member today: Individual, Family and Corporate memberships are available.

What’s this thing?

Clear Sky forecast

Clear Sky Forecast for the Rolnick Observatory

It’s the astronomer’s forecast. It shows when it will be cloudy or clear for up to the next two days. It’s a prediction when The Rolnick Observatory will have good weather for astronomical observing. Hint: If you see white blocks at night near the red vertical line (midnight), there’s a good chance we’ll be closed. Click the image to refresh.


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