Open House & Star Party @ Hopewell Observatory
Oct 18 @ 6:30 pm


SATURDAY EVENING, October 18, 2014


You, your family, and friends, are invited to join us for an Open House and Star Party at Hopewell Astronomical Observatory on SATURDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 18, 2013. Hopewell is a private, independent observatory association, located on about 4 acres atop a ridge in the Bull Run Mountains, about 6 miles northwest of Haymarket, Virginia.

(Directions are at the bottom of this invitation.)

hopewellobservatoryWe’ll open the observatory before sunset (about 6:30 pm), and will stay open until everyone leaves; come whenever you like, and stay as late as you want! (All night, if you care to.) The Moon won’t rise until after 2 AM. Mars and Saturn will be barely visible in the west near sundown. Jupiter will rise around 11:30 pm but won’t be visible above the trees for a while. Venus won’t be visible at all since it’s too close to the Sun. There will be plenty of other deep-sky wonders as well, including the Andromeda Galaxy, the Hercules Cluster, and the Milky Way itself

Telescopes permanently installed in Hopewell’s roll-off-roof observatory building include a 12″ homemade Wright-Newtonian, a 14″ Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain, and a 6″ refractor. PLUS, we were recently donated two Newtonians: a 14-inch f/5 and a 10-inch f/9, both on portable alt-az mounts, which will be out in the yard.

No, Hopewell isn’t the big greenish dome you may be able to see approaching the mountain. We wish! That’s an FAA ATC radar on the next ridge. Since we are on a ridge, generally there is very little dew. Since we are surrounded by woods and preserves, the viewing is surprisingly good, given how close we are to DC and its suburbs.

If you have a scope too, by all means bring it along! There is a grassy field with plenty of room to set up, and electricity is available (bring your own extension cord).

You are welcome to bring a picnic dinner or snacks, but there’s no running water [bring your own], and sanitary facilities are a composting outhouse. We will provide hot water, instant coffee, tea, and cocoa. Dress warmly, because it can be chilly outside on top of the mountain. We do have a heated building to warm up in. The site is a clearing in the woods, so sturdy shoes are recommended. Also, you’ll probably want a flashlight, but please put a RED filter over it. We’ll have some red cellophane and tape or rubber bands available if you don’t have any.

We hope to see you there! Feel free to pass this invitation along.

Directions are below. For a map, contact Bob Bolster <RBolster@erols.com>, Guy Brandenburg <gfbrandenburg@yahoo.com>, or Jeff Guerber <jeff@guerber.net>. Clear skies!


(1) From the Beltway, take I-66 west about 25 miles to US 15 (Exit 40) at Haymarket. At the light at the end of the ramp, turn left/south onto US 15. (Exit is at approximately latitude 38deg49’00″N, longitude 77d38’15″W.)

(2) Go 0.25 mi, at the second light turn right/west onto VA Rt. 55. There is a Sheetz gas station & convenience store at this intersection; this is a good place to stop for restrooms or supplies. (Haymarket and Gainesville tend to have relatively cheap gas.)

(3) After 0.7 mi turn right onto Antioch Rd., Rt. 681. Look for the signs for the BSA Camp Snyder and the Winery at La Grange.(38d49’12″N, 77d39’29″W)

(4) Follow Antioch Rd. to its end (3.2 mi), then turn left onto Waterfall Rd. (Rt. 601), which will become Hopewell Rd. (38d51’32″N, 77d41’10″W)

(5) After 1.0 mi, bear right onto Bull Run Mountain Rd., Rt. 629 (this is beyond Mountain Rd.). This will be the third road on the right, after Mountain Rd. and Donna Marie Ct. (38d52’00″N, 77d42’08″W) Please note that Google Earth and Google Maps show a non-existent road, actually a power line, in between Donna Marie Ct. and Bull Run Mtn. Rd.

(6) In 0.9 mi, enter the driveway on the right, with the orange pipe gate. There is a stone gate on the left, opposite the entrance. We’ll probably have some signs up. (38d52’36″N, 77d41’55″W)

(7) Follow the narrow road up the ridge to the former microwave relay station. You can park here (but PLEASE don’t block the driveway behind the towers!) and proceed the remaining few hundred feet to the observatory on foot, or…

(8) Take the grassy track around to the right of the station, and continue through (or around) the white gate behind it. Park among the trees near our operations building, the small house-like structure in the woods. Please watch out for pedestrians, especially children! The observatory itself is in the clearing a short distance ahead.

Location of the observatory is approximately latitude 38d52’12″N, longitude 77d41’54″W. The drive takes about 45 minutes from the Beltway. A map to the site follows. If you get lost, the phone number at the observatory is 703-754-2317.



Hubble: The Missions that Enabled the Hubble Space Telescope to Unravel Mysteries of the Universe @ Cosmos Club
Mar 6 @ 8:00 pm

The Missions that Enabled the Hubble Space Telescope to Unravel Mysteries of the Universe”

A free public lecture by
John M. Grunsfeld, Astronaut and Associate Administrator Science Mission Directorate of NASA

Hosted by the Philosophical Soc. of Washington,
on Friday, March 6, 2015, 8:00 PM,
at the Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, WDC
(car & metro directions & parking)