SEE YOUR UNIVERSE EVERY CLEAR WEDNESDAY NIGHT AFTER 8 PM
(After sunset in the summer)
For up-to-the-minute updates on opening the observatory, please check our Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Mastodon, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Meetup feeds.
We hope to see you soon under the bright skies of Westport!
Since 1975, the Westport Astronomical Society has brought the wonders of the night sky to the thousands who have visited the observatory. We’re an all volunteer-run, non-profit organization that’s free and open to the public every Wednesday night from 8-10 pm if the skies are clear. Remember, near the summer solstice it doesn’t get dark until late, so please plan to come after sunset.
As one of the largest astronomy clubs in Connecticut, we are the go-to destination whenever an eclipse or comet makes the news, and our dedicated team of volunteers works hard to encourage an interest in natural science. For many visitors, a trip to our facility is their first opportunity to experience the wonders of space… and it can be life-changing. Young WAS members often go on to pursue degrees in astrophysics or related disciplines while older visitors have been inspired to try their hands at private stargazing and astrophotography.
Beyond our basic mission of keeping science in the community, the Westport Astronomical Society also serves as a crucial bridge between amateur observation and professional research.
The Dome Observatory covers a 14″ Celestron EdgeHD purchased in 2019 on top of a Astrophysics 1200 German Equatorial mount with an Explore Scientific 102mm f/7 Essential Apochromatic ED Triplet Refractor piggybacked on top. The lawn regularly hosts the HUGE 25″ Obsession telescope, one of the largest in Connecticut. You can also occasionally find us doing sidewalk astronomy in the community with various 8-10″ Dobsonian telescopes and we really love viewing the sun with the Lunt LS100Tha double stacked solar telescope.
WAS has free monthly meetings with experts at the top of their fields. We feature speakers from the Hayden Planetarium, The American Museum of Natural History, Yale, NYU, UConn, MIT, Wesleyan, and Columbia or educators from all over the globe who enrich our community with cutting-edge discussions on cosmology, physics, and astronomy. Additionally, there are additional special, private events scheduled throughout the year for our members and supporters.
Dr. Regina M Caputo, NASA Research AST, Fields and Particles – Dark Matters: The Search for the Universe’s Missing Mass
Participate in the Webinar on Zoom or the live stream on our YouTube channel. Please feel free to ask questions in the chat and be a part of the live meeting.
The era of precision cosmology revealed that 80% of the matter in the universe is non-luminous, or dark. The nature of dark matter is crucial to our understanding of the structure and evolution of the universe after the big bang. One promising dark matter candidate, motivated by both particle- and astrophysics, is the Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP). The detection of this elusive particle requires a multi-pronged approach. I will present results from searches for WIMPs using high-energy gamma rays from the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope. I will also discuss complementary detection techniques and their necessity for dark matter discovery. Although no WIMP has yet been found, I will discuss what is ruled out so far, current ongoing searches, and our best prospects for finding the source of the universe’s missing mass.
Originally from the southern Colorado town of Pueblo, I attended the Colorado School of Mines and graduated in 2006 with a B.S. in Engineering Physics and a minor in Math/Computer Science.
I received my Ph. D. from Stony Brook University in 2011 in particle physics using data from the ATLAS experiment at CERN.
After graduating, I joined the ATLAS group at the Universität Mainz as a Postdoctoral Researcher working on numerous data analyses, detector operations, and upgrades. In 2014, I moved to the University of California Santa Cruz where I joined the Fermi-LAT collaboration. Thus started my work in the exciting world of gamma-ray astrophysics!
I became a research scientist at the University of Maryland working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2017 and in 2018 I was hired as a Civil Servant Scientist at GSFC.
I’m interested in dark matter searches, searches for new physics, and all the astrophysics one must understand before discovering something new.
I am currently the PI of AstroPix: Silicon Pixel detectors in space and a mission concept submitted in the 2021 MIDEX Announcement of Opportunity, AMEGO-X; the Swift Observatory Project scientist and the ComPair balloon project manager.
The Westport Astronomical Society Pre Summer Solstice Election and Picnic!
Join the druids and feast upon a potluck of wonderful mystery meats and odd charred proteins cooked to perfection on the WAS Grill of Carbonation as we elect the next Westport Astronomical Society Board of Directors!
Charles Liu, College of Staten Island City University of New York – Cosmic Evolution with the James Webb Space Telescope
The Westport Astronomical Society welcomes back for his second visit, 5 years to the day – Dr. Charles Liu!
The James Webb Space Telescope has already produced stunning images and data that have advanced our study of the universe like never before. The largest project scheduled for JWST’s first-year observing cycle is COSMOS-Webb, the latest innovative and important follow-up to the Cosmic Evolution Survey first obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope nearly twenty years ago and supplemented ever since with multi-wavelength observations obtained by astronomers worldwide. What new insights on galaxy formation and evolution will be revealed by this ground-breaking study? By this summer, its first results should be ready to share!
Dr. Liu is an extragalactic observational astronomer. His research focuses on colliding galaxies, starburst galaxies, and the star formation history of the universe; and it also wanders into the realm of quasars and active galactic nuclei. He also has a great love of teaching – informal as well as formal – and he feels a great need to help make the scientific community a better place for all people who wish to be a part of it. He is a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, and he currently serves as chair of the department of physics and astronomy at CUNY College of Staten Island and as president of the Astronomical Society of New York.
The BOB MEADOWS STELLAFANE REPORT!
You may also participate in the Webinar on Zoom or the live stream on our YouTube channel. Please feel free to ask questions in the chat and be a part of the live meeting.
Westport Observatory Director BOB MEADOWS returns from the 87th Convention of Amateur Telescope Makers on Breezy Hill in Springfield, Vermont with all the latest and greatest innovations in amateur astronomy.
Marcia Bartusiak, MIT – The Day We Found the Universe
Participate in the Webinar on Zoom or the live stream on our YouTube channel. Please feel free to ask questions in the chat and be a part of the online meeting.
On October 4, 1923, a hundred years ago, a young Edwin Hubble photographed a star in the Andromeda nebula which led to his finding that the Milky Way was not alone but instead accompanied by billions of other galaxies. Six years later, in a series of meetings at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, Hubble and others convinced Albert Einstein that the Universe was also expanding. In this talk, Marcia Bartusiak reveals the key players, battles of will, and clever insights that led to these discoveries, among the most startling in scientific history.
Combining her undergraduate training in journalism with a master’s degree in physics, Marcia Bartusiak has been covering the fields of astronomy and physics for more than four decades.
A Professor of the Practice Emeritus in the Graduate Program in Science Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she is the author of seven books on astrophysics and the history of astronomy, including Black Hole, Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony (winner of the American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award) and The Day We Found the Universe (winner of the History of Science Society’s Davis Prize).
In 2008 she was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, cited for “exceptionally clear communication of the rich history, the intricate nature, and the modern practice of astronomy to the public at large.”
International Observe the Moon Night
International Observe the Moon Night depends on when the moon is in the first quarter. This unofficial holiday was created to spread more awareness about the moon and its importance. We open the Westport Observatory and take out the scopes to celebrate the moon with the entire world!
The moon plays a major role in life on Earth—in fact, Earth wouldn’t be able to function properly without the moon. The tides would be few and far between, we wouldn’t have an eclipse (lunar or solar), and our nights would be a lot darker.
The Westport Astronomical Society Pre-Winter Solstice Holiday Party!
Visual astronomy only works if you can see the sky!
Astronomers, check these links to plan your observing:
• WAS on Weather Underground • Hourly Astronomy Conditions
• NWS Satellite Animation Loops
• Transparency Animation
• Seeing Animation
Since 1975, the Westport Astronomical Society has been introducing new generations to the wonders of the night sky. Become a member today for special access to members-only benefits while helping support science in your community.Become a Member
We want to see you here at the Westport Observatory. Get directions and come to our events!Directions/Talk To Us