Our observatory is perched on top of the knoll in our pastures. Redding is fortunate to have some of the darkest skies in Fairfield County and we are in turn fortunate to have an enthusiastic team of amateur astronomers that offers monthly programs for those interested in viewing the night sky.
Upcoming programs and registration can be found here.
We have several telescopes on hand and thanks to generous grants from the Redding Education Foundation and the Meserve Memorial Fund, we have recently purchased a 14″ Celestron telescope. Because of its large diameter it has a great light gathering capability which means that we are able to observe celestial objects with quite a bit of detail, and we have the opportunity to view objects that are found deeper in the night sky like star clusters and galaxies. This scope has “go to” capability, meaning that when preprogrammed, it will automatically move to the desired coordinates in the sky- for example, our astronomers can press a few buttons and the scope will swing from the rings of Saturn to the moons of Jupiter or to the star nebula in Orion’s belt in just a matter of seconds. This capability is particularly useful when searching for fainter, deep sky objects.
As time goes on this 14″ Celestron will allow us to expand into astrophotography, variable star observing, and supernova hunting. Educational research could be performed by the volunteers and used while mentoring high school students.
Our founder, Carmen Mathews, originally built the observatory to be used by students from Western Connecticut State University. Now it is enjoyed by students from Joel Barlow High School’s astronomy programs, by members of the farm, and members of the public.