In partnership with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Log in to Night Sky Network
John J. McCarthy Observatory
The John J. McCarthy Observatory opened in December, 2000. Designed and built almost entirely by volunteers, the observatory is funded by donations and run by an all volunteer staff. Our mission is to further science literacy, both for students and adults of the Western Connecticut region. With the great appeal of astronomy, it is a natural tool for creating scientific curiosity and reinforcing interest and skills in science. The observatory is a world-class astronomical observatory (International Astronomical Union code 932) located on the campus of the New Milford High School, on Route 7 in New Milford, Connecticut.
Our main telescope assembly includes a 16 inch Meade Schmitt-Cassegrain reflector, a 4 inch Takahashi refractor, and a Coronado solar telescope. During public open house star parties, we also set up a 14.5 inch Starsplitter reflecting telescope, a 10 inch Meade Schmitt-Cassegrain reflector, and a 7 inch Questar Maksutov-Cassegrain reflector.
We have a small collection of NASA artifacts, including two Space Shuttle tires that were flown on missions, one servicing the Hubble Telescope. Two collections of meteorites belong to the Observatory. We have a small collection of larger pieces for easy handling, and an extensive set of small, historically significant meteorites that can be studied with the fine stereo teaching microscope donated by Danbury Hospital.
The facility is completely handicap accessible. We are open to all: students, community groups, the general public, educators, and researchers with no charge for its use. Our programs can be tailored for the hearing and visually impaired.
In addition to telescopes, our grounds include beautiful pollinator gardens and a custom made sundial, supporting teaching students about the importance of interacting with the environment. In 2019 our volunteers and master gardeners created a wildlife habitat, and received certification from the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.