To the Editor:

To friends of the McCarthy Observatory, don't let these first cool, fall evenings deter you.

We had a hearty group of Girl Scouts here recently, and they had a great time seeing Jupiter and its moons, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades, the International Space Station, and a few other awesome fall objects such as colorful double stars, star clusters, and nebulae.

It just doesn't get any better than this time of year.

There are two important events coming up at your observatory soon... so please get them on the calendar.

The next "Second Saturday Stars" event will be Nov. 13.

The featured presentation will be a behind-the-scenes look at the observatory's true-scale, solar system project -- an entertaining glimpse at what went into the planning, locating, designing, fabricating and installing what turned out to be a very complex array of artistic objects.

The sun itself was a fascinating project, with at least 20 people involved in making it happen.

We hope you will be touring the solar system soon if you haven't already. In either case, come hear about what turned out to be a most challenging and enlightening endeavor.

The big event of 2010 will be the observatory's 10th anniversary celebration.

Yes, it has been operational for 10 years, with more than 15,000 pairs of eyes visiting and enjoying the heavens through the Harcourt telescope.

This event will coincide with a "Second Saturday Stars" Super-Sized. Starting time will be 7 p.m. in the New Milford High School theater.

Our guest speaker is none other than Dr. Heidi Hammel, a renowned planetary scientist and close friend of the McCarthy Observatory, presenting a very intriguing talk: "Cosmic Collisions."

Things in space don't just go bump in the night. When they collide, pretty exciting things happen.

Come and hear more, and hear a little about our highlights of our first 10 years serving you, and some ideas about what would like to do in the next 10 years.

Refreshments will be served at 8 p.m. and visitors can adjourn to the observatory for viewing the great fall sky.

Thanks to all of you for wonderful support and encouragement during these amazing 10 years. As a facility done completely by volunteers, it is so gratifying to hear from and be supported by so many families and organizations throughout the region.

All-volunteer staff

McCarthy Obervatory

New Milford