We’re a non-profit 501c3 organization comprised of dedicated volunteers that is dedicated to bringing the wonders of the night sky to the public. Come and join 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.
NEXT FREE MEETING: Tuesday March 18, 8:00pm
David Mestre: Manager of Space Science Education at the Discovery Museum and Planetarium returns to update us on Discovery’s upcoming CubeSat program.
Space programs can come in small packages. The Discovery Museum and its partners have embarked on their mission to launch a CubeSat into space. Along the way, we’ve launched actual hardware on suborbital flights from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. David Mestre will be displaying the flight hardware from that launch and talk about how far along we are on our home-grown space program.
Upcoming Speakers at the Rolnick Observatory
On April 15th, WAS welcomes our friends Al Washburn and Greg Barker from the Astronomical Society of New Haven who will present the societies collection of stony, iron, and stony iron Meteorites. These 4.5 billion year old “Rocks from Space” have been retrieved from many global locations. The ASNH collection consists of rocks from Arizona, Africa, Australia, Central / South America, and Siberia.
Al Washburn is an Astronomy and Science teacher at North Branford High School, and is also a former President of ASNH. Greg Barker is the current President of ASNH.
July 15 WAS Member George McDonald takes the summer off from Cornell for a fascinating talk on “Titan’s Surface: Methane Rivers and Plastic Dunes”
Support Science in your Community with a Donation
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.
Upcoming 2014 Astronomical Events:March 9 – Daylight Savings Time March 11- The 70% illuminated waxing gibbous Moon occults the +3.6 magnitude star Lambda Geminorum (Alkibash) for North America in the evening sky, not long after midnight the morning of the 11th March 14 – Mercury at greatest elongation March 16 – Full Worm Moon
March 19 – 7:30 pm Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate: Selling Space Streamed live from the American Museum of Natural History in NYC and shown in the WAS Classroom March 20 – Occultation of Regulus – Beginning at 2:07 am EDT an extremely rare event occurs as an asteroid known as 163 Erigone will pass in front of the bright star Regulus in the constellation of Leo, causing the star to disappear 50 degrees above the Rolnick Observatory! March 20 – The Northward Equinox - Spring begins March 22 – Venus at its greatest western elongation (47°) March 24 - A double shadow transit of Jupiter’s moons occurs from 10:08 to 10:28 pm – Visible from the Rolnick Observatory March 28 or 29 – Messier Marathon at the Rolnick Observatory March 30 – New Moon – This new moon is a Black Moon, the second New Moon in a month April 5 – Space Day at the Discovery Museum April 8 – Mars at Opposition - The red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Mars April 12 – A close conjunction of Venus and Neptune occurs, with the planets just 0.7 degrees apart April 12 & 13 – NEAF – Northeast Astronomy Forum & World’s largest Solar Star Party! April 15 – Full Pink Moon April 15 – Total Lunar Eclipse – Visible from the Rolnick Observatory with totality around 4:10 am. April 22, 23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower - Around 20 meteors per hour in dark locations April 29 – New Moon April 29 – Annular Solar Eclipse – An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is too far away from the Earth to completely cover the Sun. This results in a ring of light around the darkened Moon – NOT visible in USA May 5, 6, 7 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower – Up to 30 meteors an hour in dark locations, could be a good year
May 10 – Saturn at opposition - The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. May 14 – Full Flower Moon May 24 – Possible meteor storm! – In the early morning hours of Saturday, May 24, the Earth will pass through the debris field left behind by a small comet known as P/209 LINEAR. Astronomers are predicting that this interaction may result in a brief but intense burst of meteor activity that could range from dozens to hundreds of meteors per hour. Nothing is certain, but many mathematical models are predicting that this could be the most intense meteor shower in more than a decade. May 25 – Mercury reaches maximum dusk elongation, 22.7 degrees east of the Sun. Mercury’s best evening apparition for 2014 for northern hemisphere viewers. May 28 – New Moon June 7 – Conjunction of the Moon and Mars – The Moon will pass within two degrees of the planet Mars. Look for both objects in the western sky just after sunset. June 13 – Full Strawberry Moon June 22 – The International Space Station enters a period of full illumination near the June solstice, favoring multiple views for northern hemisphere viewers. June 24 – The waning crescent Moon passes within a degree of Venus, a great time for spotting the planet in the daytime. June 27 – New Moon July 4 – Earth reaches aphelion at 2:00 UT, at 152,098,232 kilometers from the Sun. July 4 – Pluto reaches opposition July 12 – Full Buck Moon, The first Full Proxigean “Super” Moon (1 of 3) for 2014 July 24, 25, 26, 27 – Stellafane July 25 to Aug 3 - The Summer Star Party July 26 – New Moon July 28, 29 – Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower – A thin crescent moon shouldn’t affect viewers in dark skies to see up to 20 meteors per hour. August 2 – A close conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter occurs, with the planets just 0.9 degrees August 10 – Full Sturgeon Moon, the Closest Full Moon of the year & “Super” Moon (2 of 3) for 2014 occurs August 12, 13 – Perseids Meteor Shower – Always a favorite, with up to 60 meteors per hour. A waning gibbous moon will wash out some of the meteors this year. August 18 – Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter – The two bright planets will come unusually close to each other, only a quarter of a degree, in the early morning sky. The closest conjunction of two naked eye planets in 2014 August 22, 23 – The Conjunction Aug 22, 23, 24 – Black Forest Star Party August 25 – New Moon August 29 – Neptune at opposition September 9 – Full Corn Moon, the final Full “Super” Moon (3 of 3) for 2014 September 23 – September equinox – Fall begins September 24 – New Moon September 26, 27, 28 – The Connecticut Star Party (CSP) October 7 – Uranus at opposition October 8 – Full Hunters Moon October 8 – Total Lunar Eclipse – totality at the Rolnick Observatory around 7:30 am October 8, 9 – Draconids Meteor Shower – The Full Moon will drown out most of the 10 meteors an hour this shower produces October 19 – Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring passes just 7’ from the planet Mars. October 22, 23 – Orionids Meteor Shower – No moon so possibly a great year to see up to 20 meteors per hour October 23 – New Moon October 23 – Partial Solar Eclipse – Barely visible from the Rolnick Observatory beginning around 6:45 pm November 1 – Mercury reaches its greatest elongation 18.7 degrees west of the Sun, shining at magnitude -0.5. The best morning apparition of Mercury for 2014 as seen from the northern hemisphere. November 2 – Daylight Savings Time November 5, 6 – Taurids Meteor Shower – 5 to 10 meteors per hour will be drowned out by the Full Moon November 6 – Full Beaver Moon November 17, 18 – Leonids Meteor Shower – Up to 15 meteors per hour at best and will not be dramatically affected by the waning crescent moon November 22 – New Moon December 6 – Full Cold Moon December 9 – A double shadow transit of Jupiter’s moons occurs from 11:18 to 11:27 pm, visible from the Rolnick Observatory December 13, 14 – Geminids Meteor Shower – Arguably one of the best meteor showers, possibly producing up to 120 meteors per hour at peak. The waning gibbous moon will wash out the dimmest meteors but there’s plenty to choose from! December 21 – December Solstice – Winter begins December 22 – New Moon December 22, 23 – Ursids Meteor Shower – With no moon visible this could be a very good shower, producing 5 to 10 bright meteors per hour
What’s this thing?
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.