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

Rare Sighting of “Bantam Phantom” at WMCC

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Just in time for the Halloween season, authorities believe that the photo above is the first time that the elusive “Bantam Phantom” has been captured on film.  Recent sightings in South Carolina where he is known as “Pumpkin Head” may also be true, since reported sightings only occur in the dark and South Carolina recently experienced Read More…

Eclipse 2017 Wrap-up

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Total eclipse 2017 was a big event in many ways,  not only was it the first total eclipse to cross the contagious United states in nearly a 100 years, but it was a door buster in terms of crowd size for both club members at White Memorial and those scattered across the lower 48, including Read More…

Member presentation at the Connecticut Star Party

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At 10:30AM the 23rd of this month, member Pete Kandefer will be giving a presentation on meteor impact sites at the Connecticut Star Party (CSP); a brief description of the talk is below.  The CSP runs from September 22nd to 24th at the Edmund D. Strang Scout Reservation in Goshen, CT, rain or shine.  For more information Read More…

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…

Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club