Members of the public are invited to view the wonders of the universe through the telescopes of NOVAC volunteers at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend.
The event will take place on the bus parking lot of the museum. Please park your vehicle in the main visitors lot and follow signs to the observing site from the main entrance. As a reminder, parking after 4pm is free.
Shortly before sunset, feel free to inspect the different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field. Have a cosmic question? One of NOVAC’s astronomers or museum staff will be happy to help you. After sunset be prepared to enjoy the wonders of the night sky!
Don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather. Please check the forecast. For lighting, cover a flashlight in red cellophane (the darker the better). Bring along water to keep hydrated and plan on staying the entire evening or as long as the weather allows.
Note: This outdoor event is weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.
Join NOVAC members who will be on hand to share views of the night sky.
Activities during Star Gaze will include a telescope meet and greet, solar observing, a guided sky tour, night sky observing, and other demonstrations.
Feel free to walk around and enjoy the views of objects through a variety of telescopes on the field. Please ask the owner before using a telescope. If you have young children, please watch them around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Pets should also not be brought onto the observing field.
No astronomy experience or equipment is necessary to attend. If you have your own equipment, feel free to bring them along, even if it’s just a pair of binoculars.
For lighting, cover a flashlight in red cellophane (the darker the better). Bring along water to keep hydrated and plan on staying the entire evening or as long as the weather allows. Please dim your vehicles headlights when arriving and departing.
Crockett Park charges $7 per vehicle if you’re not a Fauquier County resident. However the event itself is completely free. NOVAC members are admitted free upon presentation of a membership card (available from the members-only section of the website). If you’re not a member but would like to become one, you can join the club online and print your membership card in only a few minutes.
Note: This event is weather dependent and may be cancelled due to overcast or precipitation.
For more information, see our Star Gaze page.