New astronomy dome needs a home of its own
The Westport Astronomical Society has a dome through which the mysteries and wonders of the universe may be glimpsed on a clear night.
But one dome isn’t enough.
The organization was recently gifted a second dome and, according to president Shannon Calvert, it’s a real humdinger.
“It’s high-end, world-class astronomy gear,” Calvert said. “It was state of the art equipment probably 15 years ago.”
The problem, he said, is that a dome — even two domes — is not enough.
The dome, which had been part of the Round Hill Observatory, privately owned by Greenwich resident Ted Schimenti, is 10 feet in diameter and came with “state of the art equatorial mount and telescopes, a dedicated CCD camera and additional equipment,” Calvert said.
“But we need to refurbish some parts and build a stable platform to support the dome,” he said. “As a non-profit, volunteer organization, our fundraising will determine how far we can take this project.”
Schimenti, by the way, ran the company that laid the foundations for the World Trade Center, among other projects. He died in 2018.
The astronomical society’s current dome is accessible by a long flight of wooden steps, leading viewers 30 feet up.
A fundraiser Wednesday will determine how high the new dome’s platform will be.
“The amount we get will determine the type of building,” Calvert said. “This is a very big deal, not only for us, but for the town of Westport and surrounding communities.”