NOVAC Supports US Naval Academy

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On November 5, 2021, the United States Naval Academy (USNA) Physics Department and STEM Center welcomed 170 USNA Faculty and Staff and their friends and families to its annual Family Night.

Presented in collaboration with the USNA Midshipman Astronomy Club, Family Night was a 2-hour “star party” that included a Planetarium Show, observing Venus, Jupiter and Saturn in a visit to the Class of ’41 Observatory, and hands-on STEM activities presented by midshipmen.

LCDR Kai Seglem hosted two separate showings of “Tonight’s Sky” in the Class of ’35 Planetarium, assisted by Astronomy Club midshipmen Max Thibault, Tommy Janosky, Tina Faoro, and Michael Casas.

Professor Jeff Larsen guided participants in the Observatory as they viewed the night sky through the 1857 Alvin Clark 7.75” refracting telescope. Members of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club: Captain John Higbee (USNA ’74 Alumnus), Woody Davis, David Komar and Michael Bond, operated two 4” refracting telescopes, one 8” Schmidt Cassegrain telescope, and a 25X100mm set of large binoculars on a tripod on the lawn surrounding the Observatory, to provide additional attendee viewing venues for Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.

This is the first Astronomy Night in almost two years, due to the Covid pandemic.  USNA Astronomy Night was developed in 2018 by NOVAC member and USNA alumnus John Higbee, in partnership with Professor Jeff Larsen (USNA Physics Department), LCDR Kai Seglem (USNA Math Department) and the USNA STEM Center.  NOVAC supports the observations at the Class of ’41 Observatory, providing additional telescopes and observing expertise for the hundreds of attendees.

NOVAC members who have supported USNA Astronomy Nights in the past include Chris Kagy, Arlen Raasch, Paul Hueper, Bob and Cathy Bunge, Andrew Reisenweb, Michael Robbins, Michael Bond, Dave Komar and Dr. Woody Davis.   Five or six additional Astronomy Nights will be scheduled at USNA between now and May of 2022 so stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved.   Thanks NOVAC for a great turnout and for all the past support as well!!

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