NOVAC Event Calendar

//NOVAC Event Calendar
NOVAC Event Calendar 2015-05-11T19:16:50+00:00

Cancelled – Monthly Meeting, Elections, and Equipment “Show and Tell” @ George Mason University
Dec 9 @ 12:00 am – 2:00 am

This meeting is cancelled due to weather – Elections will be held in January and “Show and Tell” will be booked for another time in the future.


NOVAC Members,


Our next meeting will be Sunday Evening, December 8, 7:00 pm with an equipment “show and tell” event with NOVAC members bringing their astronomy equipment for others to see.  You will be able to talk with the equipment owners about how and why they use what they have for observing.  We will meet in Room 163,  Research Hall, George Mason University. Check the web page,, if you need directions and details.


We are looking for members to bring their equipment like last year.  Email (and the list for that matter) to let us know what you are planning on bringing.


Also, bring along whatever you use to power your equipment (unless it is your automobile!) so that attendees can see the creative ways folks get power to their scopes and mounts and accessories.


If you are setting up equipment to show, please try to arrive between 6:15 and 6:45 to setup your things.


We will also have light refreshments in the spirit of making this a social event to honor all of our volunteers that served NOVAC so well during the past year.


We will elect officers for 2014 at our December NOVAC Meeting.  Candidate nominations have been received for each position.  If you wish to run for one of the officer or trustee positions, please self-nominate by emailing your desire to do so at this email address:


We look forward to you coming to attend this fun NOVAC meeting!





Image Processing Party @ Thomas Jefferson Library, Falls Church, VA
Sep 6 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

NOVAC’s Byron Bergert Image Processing Group will hold its (Almost) Autumnal Equinox Processing Party on Saturday September 6 from 1-5pm at the Thomas Jefferson Library in Falls Church, on Route 50 just inside the beltway. Same agenda as last time: none. Just bring yourself, your data, a laptop for processing, and/or your questions about imaging. Come when you like, leave when you like. We’ll hang out as long as we have patience for, process images, and talk about imaging.

A suggestion from some folks who were there last time: if anyone would like to bring a projector for a laptop, that could stimulate spontaneous demonstrations! (PixInsight, anyone?) Hope to see you all then.

The Hole in the Trees Skybox:

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 <>, Guy Brandenburg <>, or Jeff Guerber <>. 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.



NOVAC Annual Volunteer Reception @ Research Hall, GMU
Dec 14 @ 6:30 pm – 7:00 pm

We will also have light refreshments before the meeting (around 6:30 or so) to recognize all of the volunteers that served NOVAC so well during the past year.

Since we are having our volunteer reception prior to the business meeting, we will NOT meet for the informal pre-meeting dinner at Brion’s this month. Plan to come out and celebrate our volunteers instead!

Byron Bergert Imaging Group @ Patrick Henry Library
Jan 31 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

NOVAC’s Byron Bergert Imaging Group will hold its Pre-Groundhog Day Image Processing Party on Saturday January 31 from 10am to 2pm at the Patrick Henry Library in Vienna. We’ll be in the meeting room, first door on the right as you come in the main door.

This time around we’ll have an addition to our normal routine of talking about imaging and processing our data. I’ll demonstrate how I processed a recent deep sky image, showing how I use Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop to stack the data and process it. To make the most of this, I’ll post the data online (hopefully tonight), so that other imagers can try their hand at processing the data as well. At the get-together on Jan 31, we can look at different ways of processing the same data, and compare results. I’m hoping that one of the PixInsight users in the club will take a crack at this so that we can compare the different workflows. This walkthrough will require a projector! If you can bring one, please let me know.

I hope to see you there.

Kevin Quin

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)

Meeting of Byron Bergert Imaging Group @ Loudoun Public County Library
May 23 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
After some hunting, we’ve found a time, date, and location for the next meeting of NOVAC’s astro-imaging group, named in honor of late NOVACian Byron Bergert.

Tentatively, we’re hoping to hold this on 23 May from 10:00-1:00, in a meeting room at the Loudoun County Public Library on Hay Road in Ashburn, VA.  This is of course the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, but given availability of meeting space, it was the first option we’ve been able to find for a while that doesn’t conflict with Astronomy Day on the 16th, so we’re going to go ahead and scheduling it.

There’s not typically a really structured agenda; an important part of this is informal discussion.  As a starting point for this session, however, Beth will be talking about solar imaging and processing techniques that she’s used for images she has sent out over the past few weeks to this list.  Kevin Quin also may do an imaging processing walkthrough with PixInsight, unless another member has some imaging data they’d like to try and do a processing walkthrough with.

We’ve had a few of our past attendees indicate that they can make it, but newcomers are always welcome as well.  This is really a low-intensity group; our aim is to make it really painless to join or contribute. If you have some astrophotography data you want some help processing, or something you’d like to show, or an imaging question you’d like to discuss, feel free to bring it up at the meeting–that’s what this is all about.