This year the Westport Astronomical Society celebrates 41 years of bringing the wonders of the night sky to the thousands who have visited the 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.
SUPPORT SCIENCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY – BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!
Check out and register on our forum! Discuss the sky and upcoming events with members of the Westport Astronomical Society.
View the Transit of Mercury with the Westport Astronomical Society
Monday, May 9th 7:00am to 1:45pm (weather permitting)
Observe the clockwork of the solar system with the Westport Astronomical Society as we watch the smallest planet transit the largest object in the solar system – The Sun! A rare event that only happens 13 to 14 times a century will be on display with our telescopes to safely view the celestial occasion, if the weather cooperates. Read more on Cosmic Pursuits.
NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, May 17, 8:00 pm
Dr. Stella Kafka, Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Variable Stars and Their Stories – The Good, The Bad and the Explosive
Good variable stars show very regular periodic signals that can be directly tied to physical processes – like stellar pulsations. Bad variable stars have messier variability, such as star spots rotating in and out of view as they evolve. Finally, some stars explode and suddenly brighten by orders of magnitude.
The AAVSO has been collecting data on variable stars for over a hundred years since its founding at the Harvard Observatory in 1911. The AAVSO is an international non-profit organization of citizen scientist / variable star observers whose mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy.
The Westport Astronomical Society’s Free Monthly Lecture Series
June 21 – 6:00PM – The 41st Annual Westport Astronomical Society Summer Solstice Star-B-Q Picnic and Board Election
September 20 – Dr. Meredith Hughes – Southern Connecticut State University
Planet Formation through Radio Eyes
Planets form in disks of gas and dust around nearby young stars. Radio telescopes are particularly good at exploring these planetary nurseries, because they allow us to peer deep into the dusty cocoons surrounding the young planets, as well as revealing the microwave emission from the small gas molecules that make up most of the mass of the disk.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the most advanced radio telescope ever built, has recently started operations in northern Chile, and it is revolutionizing our views of planet formation. I will describe some of the ways in which we are using ALMA to unveil the planet formation process and learn about the properties of the youngest planetary systems.
Please Support Science in your Community with a Donation to WAS
The Westport Astronomical Society 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?
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 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.