Welcome to the Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club

The LHAAC promotes the enjoyment of amateur astronomy through public star parties, education, and meetings.  We host 10 public star parties each year at White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield.  Most star parties begin with a talk on an interesting topic, followed by a discussion of what’s visible tonight.  Then, if the weather is cooperative, we do some star and planet gazing.  All are welcome.

Please see the calendar for dates and talk topics.  If no events are shown please see our calendar at NASA’s Night Sky Network.

On request, we also do stargazing events and presentations for schools, scout groups and community service organizations. You can get in touch via our contact page.  The club meets on the second Friday of each month except July at 7:30pm at Center Congregational Church, located at 155 Main Street in Torrington, CT, usually in Room 21 or 23.  Visitors are more than welcome.

Recent Club News

The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017

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What’s all the fuss about? “A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, lasting for up to about three hours from beginning to end, according to NASA. The lunar shadow will darken the sky, temperatures will drop and bright stars will appear at a time that is normally broad Read More…

PiKon Telescope – DIY, 3D printed, Raspberry Pi enabled

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This neat project from Royal Astronomical Society member Mark Wrigley showcases what can be done with new low cost disruptive technologies like 3D printing and single board computers such as the Raspberry Pi. Costing only ~$312 as a fully built kit or much less if you have some of the parts and tools needed. This is among one Read More…

Russ Leonard builds 6in refractor

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Member Russ Leonard recently put the finishing touches on a brand new 6in F/15 refracting telescope, mounted on a DIY Alt-Az mount built from stained Oak, the design utilizes a friction clutch complete with precision settings circles, much like a Dobsonian. Weighing in at almost 500lbs and standing taller than Russ (who is pretty tall to start with) this telescope means business, Read More…

Member published in Astronomy Technology Today

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Member Shef Robotham recently had an article published in the “Astro Tips” section of Astronomy Technology Today, detailing a modification for mounting the guide scope used for imaging. You can see a copy of the article below (click to enlarge). Great job Shef!

Work on the Observatory telescope nears completion

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In April, 2016, members of the Mattatuck Astronomical Society and the Litchfield Hills club installed the motors and electronics needed for the telescope to move.  Next step is star testing to make sure the optical components are aligned and working properly. When done, the telescope will be operated under computer control, making it possible to Read More…

Gravitational Waves Discovered

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At a press conference on Feb. 11, 2016 we learned that researchers detected gravitational waves, predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.  In the early 1600’s Johannes Kepler worked out the mathematics of the motions of the planets, showing that they orbit the Sun in nearly circular ellipses.  Though Kepler’s laws Read More…

News From New Horizons Spacecraft

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The New Horizons mission to Pluto was a complete success.  On July 14, 2015, the spacecraft flew past Pluto at 7 miles per second and took thousands of photos and measurements.  Over the next month a few hundred low-resolution images were returned to Earth.  (Images and lots more information about the mission here.) The first Read More…

New Horizons Spacecraft Approaches Pluto

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The New Horizons spacecraft, launched in January 2006, is now in the Pluto system and returning photos.  It will fly by Pluto and its 5 known moons on July 14.  This region of the Solar System contains a number of Pluto-like objects; what makes Pluto particularly interesting is that it appears to have an atmosphere Read More…

Unusual Comet Survives a Fiery Plunge

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Click here to view an animated image sequence of the comets trip around the sun. Astronomers using NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) are puzzling over a new comet that recently made a dive towards the sun and lived. According to recent observations the comet appears to be getting brighter as it heads earthwards, possibly turning into a Read More…

Incoming! Comet C/2014 Lovejoy Makes An Appearance

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Comet Lovejoy is at its best this week and next, especially now that the Moon is gone from the evening sky. The comet is glowing at about 5th magnitude well to the west of Orion early in the week — nice in binoculars and possibly visible very dimly to the unaided eye, depending on your sky conditions. Read More…

Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club