Posted by Andrew Winig on Aug 16, 2018

If you feel like spring comes a little late every year... “You’re right!” says Don McCasland of the Blue Hill Observatory.

The Blue Hill Meterological Observatory has the longest continuous homogenous weather data set going back to February 1, 1885. They have used the same equipment in the same location for the entire time, which means that they can accurately answer questions like are average temperatures rising, and are the seasons shifting (in fact, seasons start about a month later now than they did 60 years ago).

He introduced us to the Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder, a device to record hours of bright sunshine. It’s a clear glass sphere that focuses sunlight on a paper card. The burn lines on the card show when there was direct sunlight during the day. It is a truly low tech device with no moving parts, no cleaning, and no maintenance required.


The Blue Hill Observatory offers tours and is supported by memberships. More info at:



WGBH, our PBS station, has a communications tower on the top of the Blue Hill. By the way, did you know what GBH stand for?

Don shared the origin of the call letters for several of our local TV stations:

WGBH - Great Blue Hill

WCVB - Channel Five (think roman numerals) Broadcasting

WLVI - 56 (in roman numerals)

We have great speakers every week! Check out our speaker schedule on our home page and join us at the Needham Sheraton Tuesdays at noon.