Stargazing - Astrotourism in Connecticut Last Updated 6/20
Astrotourism is gaining in popularity. You can find vast night skies above parks, forests and lakes throughout Connecticut, and there are many campgrounds that improve your chances of seeing a celestrial show overnight. In places where city lights make viewing the stars challenging, regional observatories and rural locations are offering visitors opportunities to see the night sky in Connecticut as never before. Each observatory has public viewing nights and events, so be sure to check their websites for schedules, new safety guidelines, and visitor requirements before you go. Here are few ideas to get you started on your search for the stars.
Stay up all night
With cities like Boston and New York, it’s hard to find a spot for guaranteed stargazing anywhere along the east coast unless you move further north and west. Camping through the night may improve your chances. For the most up-to-date safety guidelines for outdoor recreation and information about park closures, check Connecticut DEEP's twitter channel and website. Here are a few Connecticut state parks and forests where you can camp under the stars:
View With the Experts
Connecticut has quite a few privately operated observatories around the state that offer public viewing on certain nights.
Rolnick Observatory, Westport (header picture)
Visit Connecticut’s largest public-viewing telescope at the Westport Astronomical Society’s Rolnick Observatory.
Bowman Observatory, Greenwich
Affiliated with the Bruce Museum, this observatory is open to the public free of charge, on the first and third Wednesday evenings of every month, if skies are clear, and also for special celestial events.
Westside Observatory, Danbury
Start with a visit to the planetarium on the Western Connecticut State University campus and then head to the Westside Observatory to get a look at the real thing.
Check out Educational Observatories
Many observatories are associated with colleges and universities, while others are connected to local astronomy societies. Each has scheduled days when you can find public viewing or keep up with astronomical events.
Find Stargazing Spots & Star Parties
Here are few less formal viewing spots that offer unobstructed views of the skies at night. Pack your binoculars and telescopes and head out to these locations. Use the Mattatuck Astronomical Society’s Clear Sky Chart to plan your viewing.
Talcott Mountain Science Center, Avon
Look at the night skies from a mountain top, where astronomers will tell fascinating facts while giving you a look at the stars though multiple telescopes.
Grace Farms, New Canaan
A stunning spot during the daylight, and even more so on starry nights. From watching meteor showers to learning about circumpolar constellations in the skies above Connecticut, Grace Farms hosts events for stargazers throughout the year.
And don’t miss the annual Connecticut Star Party, happening on September 18-20, 2020, in Goshen!