For over 40 years, 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.
The Dome Observatory covers a 16″ Meade LX200 with an Explore Scientific 102mm f/7 Essential Apochromatic ED Triplet Refractor piggybacked on top. The lawn regularly hosts the HUGE 25″ Obsession telescope, the largest in Connecticut available to the public. 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, Cornell, Wesleyan, Columbia as well as 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.
A peek into the future of astronomy, from LSST to Urban Science | Dr. Federica Bianco, Research Scientist at NYU CUSP, the Center for Urban Science and Progress, and in the NYU CCPP Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics.
I will talk about LSST, the largest astronomical survey ever planned, which starting in 2022 will image the entire southern hemisphere sky once every 3 nights to depth and spatial resolution that approach that of the Hubble Space Telescope, and about Urban Science, an emerging discipline where we use astronomical techniques to image and study city lightscapes to study the sociology, ecology, and economy of the city microcosm.
Dr. Bianco studies lightcurves, time series of light, in astronomy, with applications in stellar evolution, cosmology, and solar system science, and in the urban environment at the CUSP urban observatory, where the study of urban lightcurves enables sociological, ecological, economical inference.
She is the co-chair of the LSST Transients and Variable Stars Collaboration: a group of over 170 scientists who are preparing to optimally exploit the revolutionary LSST survey for transient science and to assure that the survey design is suitable to support the study of the transient sky.
This talk is appropriate for High School and above audiences with enough included to also engage advanced members.
International Observe the Moon Night
**** OBSERVATORY WILL OPEN ONLY IF THERE ARE CLEAR SKIES ****
International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is an annual worldwide public event that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of our Moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration, as well as the cultural and personal connections we all have with Earth’s nearest neighbor. Everyone on Earth is invited to join the celebration by hosting or attending an InOMN event — and uniting on one day each year to look at and learn about the Moon together.
If the skies are clear, we’ll open the dome and use the new 16″ dome telescope to look at features on the 1st quarter moon which will be in Capricornus where there are no bright planets, stars, or deep space objects. The Moon will be all alone.
InOMN is sponsored by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter with support from NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) and the Lunar and Planetary Institute.
WAS Astrophotography with Shannon Calvert
Shannon Calvert has really stepped up what was recently thought impossible with his incredible astrophotography abilities on the WAS campus. A self-employed professional photographer/graphic designer with Hireimagination.com by day, Shannon has taken his profession to a new high with incredible deep sky photography that blows away the professionals.
During this talk, Shannon will show some of his best and latest images and describe his process so that you too can learn the secrets of incredible night sky photography. This is an introduction to a future astrophotography class hosted by Shannon exclusively for our members using the equipment at the Westport Astronomical Society.
This talk is appropriate for ALL audiences with enough included to also engage advanced members.
Westport Astronomical Society Winter Solstice Holiday Party!
Join your WAS friends for our annual Winter Solstice Holiday Party! (Details to come)
First Night Westport/Weston
It’s First Night again! Before the fireworks, take in the view of 2017’s final night sky and the beautiful Full Long Nights Moon at the Westport Library’s Jesup Green, on the riverbank from 4 – 10 PM with the telescopes from the volunteers at the Westport Astronomical Society!
Future Speaker to be announced soon!
Kepler’s Hidden Gems | Alex Teachey, Columbia University, NSF Graduate Fellow, Astronomy
In the last two decades, we’ve discovered thousands of planets orbiting nearby stars. But do these planets have moons? And if so, could they be hospitable for life? In this talk, I will discuss the latest developments in the search for exomoons, including our recent observations of an exomoon candidate with the Hubble Space Telescope.
Teachey is a third-year graduate student at Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy. His work focuses on the search for exomoons with the Kepler data and measuring stellar ages using time-domain photometry. He also loves teaching and public outreach. As an undergraduate (BA in Physics, CUNY Hunter College) he worked as a research intern at both the American Museum of Natural History and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, studying giant molecular clouds in the Milky Way with radio, near-infrared and gamma-ray data.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) | Gabor Furesz, MIT
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. In a two-year survey of the solar neighborhood, TESS will monitor more than 200,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. No ground-based survey can achieve this feat.
Astronomy only works if you can see the sky! Check the forecasted sky conditions and see what the chances are that the observatory will be open.
For over 4 decades, 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
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