Public nights will be scheduled approximately once per month and for special occasions. MASKS ARE MANDATORY. For updates, please check the events listing below or our Facebook, YouTube and Twitter feeds.
Thanks and 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.
The Dome Observatory covers a brand new 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, 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.
Damian Peach – High Resolution Astrophotography
An astrophotographer recognized by the world for his incredible planetary and deep space images joins us for a lively talk on how he makes some of the most detailed, gorgeous images of the universe – without using the Hubble Space Telescope.
The talk will cover high resolution imaging of the moon and planets. The talks covers a wide range of information from the basics of choosing a suitable telescope and camera, to guidance on how to get the best results from the equipment you have.
Damian A. Peach FRAS is a British amateur astronomer, astrophotographer, lecturer and author. Best known for his photographs of a wide variety of astronomical objects. His career in the field spans nearly thirty years. In 2017 he formed part of a small team of observers who used the famous Pic du Midi Observatory 1.06m telescope to obtain some of the most detailed ever ground based images of Jupiter and Saturn. The same year asteroid 27632 was re-named Damianpeach by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for his contributions to amateur astronomy. In 2018 he was elected to the board of the Aster Academy scientific committee and also awarded the Astronomical League’s prestigious Peltier award again for his contributions to astronomy.
Dr. Lisa Upton – Space Systems Research Corporation – The Sun, Space Weather and the Solar Activity Cycle
WE WILL NOT BE OPENING THE OBSERVATORY
The Sun is an exciting and challenging area of study. The Sun provides Earth with warmth, light, and energy. As the largest body in the solar system, the Sun is the focal point. It guides the planets in their orbits and is the source of all space weather. Worshiped by cultures throughout history, the Sun was once thought to be constant and unchanging. It is only in modern times that is has become evident that the Sun is in fact extremely dynamic. Since the invention of the telescope, knowledge of the Sun has grown at an extraordinary rate.
In this lecture, I will provide a general introduction to the Sun, Space Weather, and the Solar Activity Cycle. I will describe many phenomena observed on the Sun, including sunspots, coronal loops, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). I will discuss how the frequency of solar phenomena varies with the 11 year solar activity cycle, and how this is produced by the solar dynamo. I will discuss how these phenomena drive space weather, interacting with the Earth and the rest of the heliosphere. Finally, I will conclude with the current state of solar activity and the outlook for Solar Cycle 25
Dr. Lisa Upton received her Ph.D. in Physics from Vanderbilt University in May of 2014. For her PhD dissertation (Characterizing and Modeling Magnetic Flux Transport in the Sun’s Photosphere and Determining Its Impact on the Sunspot Cycle), Dr. Upton developed (along with David Hathaway) a cutting-edge Surface Flux Transport model, the Advective Flux Transport (AFT). Lisa used the AFT model to investigate the importance of high latitude meridional flow variations in modulating the solar cycle as well as the ability of AFT to produce solar cycle predictions.
September of 2014, Dr. Upton relocated to Colorado. There she began working for Space Systems Research Corporation (SSRC) and held a role as a Visiting Scientist at the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, CO.. In the spring of 2017, she took a sabbatical from SSRC to accept an NSF postdoctoral fellowship for two-years. In the fall of 2018, NOAA and NASA convened the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel. Lisa was asked to serve as the NASA representative co-chair of the panel alongside Doug Biesecker (NOAA). Together, they led a panel of 12 to conduct a survey of forecasts for the amplitude and timing of Solar Cycle 25 in order to obtain and recommend a consensus forecast. This forecast serves as the official Solar Cycle 25 Prediction for NOAA, NASA, and the International Space Environment Services (ISES). In March of 2019, she returned to and continues to work as a solar physicist for SSRC.
Lisa’s current research goals are aimed at understanding the solar dynamo, solar cycle variability, and the impact on the Sun-Earth environment. In particular her interests lie in observing and modeling magnetic flux transport of the Sun in order to improve Space Weather and Space Climate predictions.
Thierry Legault – Capturing the Most Elusive Objects in the Solar System
WE WILL NOT BE OPENING THE OBSERVATORY
NOTE: This lecture will be hosted as a Webinar on Zoom and alternatively a live stream on our YouTube channel. We encourage you to participate, ask questions and be a part of the live meeting.
One of the best astrophotographers in the world joins the WAS Team for a fantastic evening of stories from his home in the light polluted suburbs of Paris. Thierry has traveled all over the planet capturing some of the most elusive objects in the solar system, many of which last for just seconds.
Known for his many submissions to Astronomy Picture of the Day as well as his images of the ISS, eclipses, transits, and the extreme lengths he’ll go to capture just about every unusual and difficult astrophotography image. Thierry Legault is at the top of his game.
The WAS Pre-Solstice Summer Picnic and Board Elections
It’s been a very trying year and since we couldn’t have the picnic in 2020, we hope to fire up the WAS Grill of Questionable Carbonation this year for a well deserved Star-B-Q for our members, friends and family. And we vote for the 2021 WAS Board of Directors.
The Connecticut Star Party – CSP30 – Connecticut’s Premier Star Party!
Never been to a star party with large aperture telescopes? Here’s a great opportunity!
For the 30th year, our friends at the Astronomical Society of New Haven will open online registration later this year for Connecticut’s premier star party CSP30 in one of the darkest locations in the state! This is the sixth year at the beautiful Edmund D. Strang Scout Reservation in Goshen, CT.
Join the WAS Away Team this weekend and take in the cool and beautiful skies of Northwest CT!
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
• Current/Future conditions
• 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