Welcome to the Rolnick Observatory

The Observatory Tower

This year the Westport Astronomical Society celebrates 40 years of bringing the wonders of the night sky to the thousands who have visited the Rolnick Observatory. We’re a non-profit organization of all volunteers that’s free and open to the public every Wednesday night from 8-10 pm, if the skies are clear. 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.

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, Columbia and 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.


Check out and register on our new forum! Discuss the sky and upcoming events with members of the Westport Astronomical Society.

 NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, April 21, 8:00pm

The Westport Astronomical Society’s Free Monthly Lecture Series

telescope-colorApril 21 – William Zmek – “Interferometry for the Amateur Telescope Maker”

So what is interferometry? How does it work? How would an amateur telescope maker use it for testing a mirror? These questions and more will be addressed in this talk.

Join us Tuesday the 21st for Cal’s Corner and a quick run down of everything else you may have missed in the Universe.

Coming Soon:

 May 19 – Statia Luszcz-Cook, postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Dr. Statia Luszcz-Cook

Dr. Statia Luszcz-Cook

Dr. Luszcz-Cook is an observational astrophysicist interested in giant planets. She uses observations at several different wavelengths, along with atmospheric models, to learn about the composition, structure, and variability of the atmospheres of the giant planets within our solar system. She is also a member of the Project 1640 team, which directly images planets and brown dwarfs around other stars.

The outer solar system is home to giant planets and numerous small bodies; each of these objects provides us with unique clues as to how our solar system formed. I will highlight some of the ways scientists are using observations of the outer solar system to investigate solar system formation, highlighting the contributions of the New Horizons mission, which will fly past Pluto this July.

Summer SolsticeJune 16 – The Westport Astronomical Society’s Members-Only Pre-Summer Solstice Star-B-Q and Election!

This is a members, friends and family occasion. We break out the mighty WAS grill of Carbon and cook up tasty bits of bovine, some mystery meats as well as veggie favorites for our annual picnic and Board of Directors election.

Bob Meadows!

Bob Meadows!

August 18 – The Bob Meadows Annual Stellafane Report

The intrepid Director of the Rolnick Observatory returns from the 80th annual Stellafane Convention, the home of the Springfield Telescope Makers in Springfield VT.  Bob has the low down on all the latest amateur telescope innovations and how they performed during the Convention.


Imre Bartos

Imre Bartos

September 15 – 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 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.

Heidi B. Hammel

Heidi B. Hammel


December 15 – Heidi B. Hammel – Planetary Astronomer – Executive Vice President of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy


Please Support Science in your Community with a Donation to WAS

84bc2b31-cefa-4954-8026-6044c1b5b2c9The Rolnick Observatory is an all volunteer organization 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.