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, December 16, 8:00pm

The Westport Astronomical Society’s Free Monthly Lecture Series

Dr. Ashley Pagnotta

Dr. Ashley Pagnotta

Dr. Ashley Pagnotta – Observational Astrophysicist 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.

Humans have long been interested in the history and fate of the universe in which we live. I will talk about how astronomers used a particular type of supernova explosion to discover that not only is the universe expanding, but that expansion is in fact accelerating, everything flying apart faster and faster as time goes on. I will also discuss the aspects of these supernova explosions that remain mysterious and the work we are doing to solve these mysteries.

Coming Soon:

Michele Limon

Michele Limon


January 20Michele 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 – 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 - Imre Bartos, Columbia University Astrophysicist. 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 2664744-interstellar-space-trailer-christopher-nolan-wbreach 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.



April 21 – William Zmek – “Interferometry for the Amateur Telescope Maker”



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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.