Last month, the Perseid Meteor Shower filled the sky. It was an awe-inspiring sight.
It was even better to see — and understand — the show with the help of experts from the Westport Astronomical Society.
Volunteers were on hand — as they have been, at least once a week for 40 years — at the Rolnick Observatory on Bayberry lane.
A Norwalk resident was one of those who took advantage of the experts. “They were special,” she says.
Two were at the telescope inside the dome. Two more were on the platform. They talked about the night sky. They answered questions. They gently quizzed the children who were there.
Last year, the Westport Astronomical Society hosted hundreds of people for an eclipse.(Photo/Frank Rosen)
Their new admirer says, “they were so generous with their time. They were so knowledgeable. They welcomed every question from anyone, without pretension. They did not laugh or snicker when someone said something potentially silly.”
She adds, “They have made the Rolnick Observatory accessible to anyone, even if they’re disabled.”
Heroes come in many forms. The Norwalker nominates the members of the Westport Astronomical Society as Unsung Heroes. They certainly are this week’s “stars”!
(To visit the Westport Astronomical Society’s superb website, click here. To nominate an Unsung Hero, email email@example.com)
The largest Rolnick Observatory crowd since the formation of the universe clogged Bayberry Lane today. Westporters of all ages — particularly kids — headed to the highest spot in town, to watch the much-anticipated solar eclipse.
It was — at least this afternoon — also the coolest place to be.
A group of Coleytown teachers watched (safely) at Compo Beach:
Meanwhile, Robin Singer had her own special glasses:
Though the full total solar eclipse next Monday (August 21) is visible along a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina, Westporters can enjoy 70% of the event.
The Westport Astronomical Society is opening the Rolnick Observatory (182 Bayberry Lane) to anyone who wants to watch. They’ll provide solar telescopes and safety glasses. Experts will be on hand to provide commentary and insights.
The eclipse runs from 1:24 p.m. to 4 p.m. The maximum eclipse is at 2:45 p.m.
The Astronomical Society is not responsible for clouds.
Last week’s photo challenge took us to the highest point in Westport.
And therein lies the story.
Peter Tulupman’s image showed an abandoned building next to the Rolnick Observatory, behind the Westport Weston Health District on Bayberry Lane.
Those buildings were originally part of the Nike missile launch site. The reason they were there — to protect Bridgeport’s electronics manufacturing industry from Russian attacks — was that the launch site (and the missiles themselves, on the North Avenue land that’s now Bedford Middle School) had to be at the highest elevation possible. Bayberry Lane fit the bill.
Edward Bloch, Dan Lasley, John Sexton, Susan Huppi, Sharon Paulsen and John Brawley all knew the photo was taken at the former Nike missile site. To see it, click here.
This week’s photo challenge comes with a back story — but I don’t know it. If you have any idea why the bridge in the background was built — or when, by whom, whatever — please add those details when you comment. Inquiring minds want to know!
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