Club member Denis Williamson gives a well received lecture on Astronomy 101
 
 
 
 
 

Star Parties

As part of the club’s outreach effort we hold a public star party once a month February through November at the White Memorial Conservation Center, a sprawling 4,000 acre wildlife preserve and nature center, located just 5 minutes from both Litchfield and Bantam.

The evening starts off by having a roughly 30-40 minute talk with topics ranging from Astronomy 101 to deep dives on Saturn, Mars, or even exotic objects like black holes and pulsars; all while striving to entertain and present the science clearly.

Then it’s out to the observing field, where a number of our members set up their equipment, big and small.  We also have a large 17.5 inch reflecting telescope housed in the onsite roll-off roof observatory, which is truly a treat.  This is the time to ask to see some of the objects you have always wanted to look at but never got the chance to, things like the Moon with its long valleys and deep craters, Saturn’s rings, faint galaxies and nebulae, or maybe even a meteor or satellite.

Everyone is welcome; whether you are a veteran astronomer or an eager learner, there is something for everybody, a telescope isn’t even required.

In 2015 the club formed a partnership with the Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield.  The library purchased two 4.5″ reflecting telescopes.  The club modified the telescopes to prevent loss of parts and provides technical assistance.  Club members have given talks at the library and conducted daytime star parties there to observe the sun using both white-light and hydrogen-alpha scopes.

On request the club can conduct star parties for scout groups, civic organizations and private groups.  You can reach us via the Contact page.

For upcoming star parties have a look at our Calendar page. We also have selected past talks available as PDF’s on our Presentations page.

A running list of talks and club events is listed below, with dates and presenters.

Presenter Key

Liam O’Brien (LO)
Paul Pompa (PP)
Jon Wallace (JW)
Denis Williamson (DW)
David Brazee (DB)
Jim Butler (JB)
Mark Croce (MC)
Joe Dougherty (JD)
David Hyatt (DH)
Pete Kandefer (PK)
Russ Leonard (RL)

2010

Date Time     Topic  (8 events, running total 10) Presenter
2/05 7:00 Mars (DW)
5/21 7:30 Summer Constellations (JB)
6/18 8:00 Selecting and Using Binoculars & Telescopes (JW)
7/16 8:00 The Sun (JW)
8/20 8:00 Between the Stars: the “Messier” Objects (DH)
9/17 8:00 Meteorites:  The sky really is falling! (JW)
10/15 7:00 The Outer Solar System (DW)
11/19 7:00 Auroras:  What are the Northern Lights? (JW)

2011

Date Time Talk Topic (10 events, running total 20) Presenter
1/21 6:00 Winter Constellations (MC)
4/22 7:00 Comets—Space Snowballs (PK)
5/27 7:30 Picturing the Sky—Astrophotography (JD)
6/24 8:00 Birth, Life & Death of a Star (JW)
7/22 8:00 Saturn—World of Rings and Moons (DW)
8/26 8:00 The Moon (JB)
9/23 8:00 No talk—stargazing only
9/24 11am -4pm Solar viewing at WMCC Family Day (club)
10/28 7:00 Aliens! (JW)
11/25 7:00 Star & Constellation Names & Myths (DW)

2012

Date Time Talk Topic (12 events, running total 32) Presenter
2/17 7:00 Jupiter (PK)
3/16 7:00 Astronomy 001— How the Sky Works (PK)
4/20 7:00 Mars!  The Red Planet in Fact & Fiction (DW)
5/18 7:30 Binoculars, Telescopes & Eyepieces (JW)
6/05 5:30 Transit of Venus Event (no talk)
6/15 8:00 Moons of Mars (PK)
7/20 8:00 Astrophotography (JD)
8/17 8:00 Transit of Venus (DW)
9/21 8:00 No Talk—Observing Only
9/22 11am-3pm Solar viewing at WMCC Family Day (club)
10/19 7:00 Nebulae (JW)
11/16 7:00 Meteors & meteorites. (JW, PP)

2013

Date Time Talk Topic (12 events, running total 44) Presenter
2/15 7:00 Asteroids & Meteors (PK)
3/15 7:00 Our Magnetic Sun (DW)
4/19 7:30 Nebulae (JW)
5/17 8:00 Astrophotography (JD)
5/26 8:30 Intro to Astronomy for CT RV & Family Camping Assoc. (at Goshen Fairground) (DW)
6/28 8:00 Exoplanets (PK)
7/26 8:00 Life in the Universe (DW)
8/23 8:00 Saturn—World of Rings and Moons (DW)
9/27 8:00 No Talk—Observing Only
9/28 11am-3pm Solar viewing at WMCC Family Day (club)
10/25 7:00 DAWN Mission to Vesta & Ceres (JW)
11/22 7:00 Comet ISON (PK)

2014

Date Time Talk Topic (12 events, running total 56) Presenter
1/25 7:30 Introduction to Astronomy for BS Troop 102 (JB, DW)
2/28 7:00 Black Holes, Neutron Stars & Other Weird Objects (JW)
3/28 7:00 Meteorites (JW)
4/25 7:30 Our Radio Sun (JW)
5/23 7:30 Moons of Mars (PK)
6/28 8:00 Saturn—the Real Lord of the Rings (DW)
7/25 8:00 Astrophotography (JD)
8/22 8:00 Great Observatories of Chile (LO)
9/26 8:00 No Talk—Observing Only
9/27 11am-3pm Solar viewing at WMCC Family Day (club)
10/24 7:00 The Solar System—Hands on Activity (DW)
11/21 7:00 Connecticut Yankees and Captain Cook (PK)

2015

Date Time Talk Topic (14 events, running total 70) Presenter
2/13 7:00 The Solar System—Hands on Activity (DW)
3/13 7:00 The Solar System—Interactive Activity (DW)
3/14 7:00 Our Magnetic Sun for BS Troop 198 (DW)
4/17 7:30 Hubble’s Greatest Hits (PK)
5/15 7:30 Our Magnetic Sun (DW)
6/19 8:00 George Hale & Telescopes of the Early 20th Century (LO)
7/17 8:00 Pluto—To the Heart of Darkness (PK)
8/21 8:00 Astrophotography (JD)
9/18 8:00 Scope Clinic — no talk, bring your scope (Club)
9/26 11am-3pm Solar viewing at WMCC Family Day (Club)
10/16 7:00 Life in the Universe (+ Intro talk at OWL on 10/13) (DW)
11/4 7:00 Pluto – 2 (At Oliver Wolcott Library) (PK)
11/20 7:00 Supernova! (DW)

2016

Date Time Talk Topic (14 events, running total 70) Presenter
2/26 7:00 Binoculars and telescopes (RL)
3/09 7:00 Oliver Wolcott Library: Space Rocks! (Meteorites) (PK)
3/25 7:00 Astronomy 001 – How the Sky Works (DW)
4/22 7:30 The Moon (MC)
5/09 8am-2:40pm Transit of Mercury! No talk, meet at observatory (club)
5/11 7:00 Oliver Wolcott Library: Mars! The Red Planet … (DW)
5/27 8:00  Jupiter – King of the planets (PK)
06/24 8:00 Mars! The Red Planet in Fact, Lore and Fiction (DW)
07/22 10:30am Oliver Wolcott, talk topic: Our Magnetic Sun (DW)
07/22 8pm Saturn (DW)
08/19 11:00am Morris Library, talk topic: Our Magnetic Sun (DW)
08/26 8:00 Astro-imaging (JD)
09/23 8:00 observing only, no talk (DW)
09/24 11-3 Solar observing at WMCC Family Nature Day (no talk) (club)
09/28 7:00 Oliver Wolcott Library: Astro-imaging (JD)
10/05 7:00 Flanders Nature Center in Woodbury: Intro (RL)
10/28 7:00 Pluto 2.0 and comets (PK)
11/18 7:00 The Outer Solar System: Ice Giants & Asteroids (DW)
11/20 1:00 Rededication of Hoffleit Observatory (with MAS) (PK)

2017

Date Time Talk Topic (18 events, running total –) Presenter
2/24 7:00 Astronomy 001 (DW)
3/24 7:00 Gravity – Stranger than you Think! (DW)
3/28 7:00 Oliver Wolcott Library: astronomy 001 (DW)
4/22 1pm Litchfield HS: Minds in Motion, topics: imaging, pocket solar system (DB, DW)
04/28 8:00 Eclipse! (PK)
5/26 8:00 Jupiter (PK)
6/23 8:00 The Story of Light (JD, DW)
07/28 8:00 Saturn & Cassini (DW)
08/05 8:00 no talk, private party for Morris Land Trust, Diane L. (DB)
08/21 1-3pm The Great American Eclipse (no talk) (RL,Club)
08/25 8:00 Eclipse wrap-up (100th event) (club)
09/07 6:30 Gunn Library in Washington; topic: Saturn & Cassini (DW)
09/09 8:00 Great Hollow in New Fairfield; topic: Astronomy 001 (DB, DW)
09/22 8:00 observing only, no talk (club)
09/23 11am-3 solar observing at WMCC Family Nature Day (no talk) (club)
10/24 7:00 Talk at Oliver Wolcott Library, 7:00pm; talk topic: Light (JD)
10/27 7:00 talk topic: Astro-imaging (JD)
11/17 7:00 talk topic: tbd
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Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club