Observing Sites

One of our many observing sites

NOVAC maintains formal agreements which grant the club access to certain public and privately owned observing sites in Northern Virginia. Members can use these sites (for astronomical purposes) with the full cooperation of the landowners and authorities.

The nature of the agreements do not allow us to disclose the exact location of all the Novac observing sites to the public. They are located in Loudoun, Fauquier and Fairfax counties of Virginia.

C.M.Crockett Park in Fauquier County, Virginia, and Great Meadow, The Plains, VA are used for public viewing events. NOVAC members can access a complete listing of the official observing sites in the members section.Novac is an observers club!

In addition to the official observing sites, there are several other places near Washington DC where NOVAC members observe, note these are not necessarily NOVAC sites and may in some cases require special permission to use.

Some members make use of Little Bennett Regional Park and Tuckahoe State Park in Maryland. Others enjoy the dark skies at Big Meadows in the Shenandoah National Park. Watch the NOVAC member’s e-mail list for announcements about events at these sites. 

For NOVAC members in southern Maryland, Aquasco Farm is part of the Patuxent River Park system in southern Prince Georges County and can be accessed by NOVAC members on specific dates. The NOVAC “Southern Maryland Fringers” maintain information about observing from southern Maryland.

NOVAC maintains a relationship with Experience Learning at Spruce Knob Mountain Center (previously The Mountain Institute). The Spruce Knob Mountain Center (SKMC) provides an outstanding observing location as well as civilized amenities like hot showers, meal service, and Internet access.

Because we use these sites with the permission of the landowner or the state/county authorities, there are some rules and restrictions governing their use. Please read through and understand the rules before visiting any of the sites. Refer to the official membership guide in the members section for further details.

 

NOVAC Public Events Calendar

Jun
4
Sat
2022
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Jun 4 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park | Midland | Virginia | United States

RSVP here.

Members of the public are invited to view the wonders of the universe through the telescopes of NOVAC volunteers. You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend.

Before sunset, feel free to inspect the different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field. Have a cosmic question? One of our astronomers will be happy to help you. After sunset be prepared to enjoy the wonders of the night sky!

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope owner before using. Please monitor your children if they’re around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Pets should not be brought onto the observing field as well (unless they are service animals).

Don’t forget to dress warmly. Please check the weather 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. If you’re arriving after dark, please dim your vehicle’s headlights as you approach the gravel parking lot.

Note: This outdoor event is weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.

Please read the C.M. Crockett Page for park details.

 

Jun
11
Sat
2022
Rappahannock County Park Dark Sky Event @ Rappahannock County Park
Jun 11 @ 8:30 pm – 11:00 pm

RSVP here.

Members of the public are invited to view the wonders of the universe through the telescopes of Rappahannock County Park volunteers and NOVAC members. Members of the public may bring their own telescopes and binoculars as well.

This program begins with a 15-minute presentation followed by night sky observing.

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope owner before using. Please monitor your children if they’re around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Pets should not be brought onto the observing field as well (unless they are service animals).

Don’t forget to dress warmly. Please check the weather 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. If you’re arriving after dark, please dim your vehicle’s headlights as you approach the gravel parking lot.

Note: This outdoor event is weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.

Please visit the official website for more details.

Jun
18
Sat
2022
Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 18 @ 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park

RSVP here.

NOVAC supports this event by providing telescope views to visitors.

  • Sky Meadows State Park (11012 Edmonds Ln.), behind the Mount Bleak House within the white fence.
  • For individuals who are fully vaccinated face coverings and social distancing are not required but recommended. Individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated will be asked to continue face covering and social distancing procedures.
  • The event’s programs will take place rain or shine.

Please visit the official website for more details.

Jun
24
Fri
2022
Great Meadow Public Night @ Great Meadow
Jun 24 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

RSVP here.

Members of the public are invited to view the wonders of the universe through the telescopes of NOVAC volunteers. You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend.

Before sunset, feel free to inspect the different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field. Have a cosmic question? One of our astronomers will be happy to help you. After sunset be prepared to enjoy the wonders of the night sky!

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope owner before using. Please monitor your children if they’re around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Pets should not be brought onto the observing field as well (unless they are service animals).

Don’t forget to dress warmly. Please check the weather 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. If you’re arriving after dark, please dim your vehicle’s headlights as you approach the gravel parking lot.

More information about Great Meadow including directions and parking visit the Great Meadow Site page.

Note: This outdoor event is weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.

 

Jun
25
Sat
2022
Astronomy Festival on the National Mall @ National Mall, Washington, DC
Jun 25 @ 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Astronomy Festival on the National Mall @ National Mall, Washington, DC

RSVP Here.

Members of the public are invited attend the largest annual astronomy outreach event in the U.S.

NOVAC will join 30 other astronomy/science organizations on the National Mall to share astronomy concepts during the day and share views of the D.C. sky at night.

The festival is hosted by Hofstra University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and their Astronomy Outreach Program.

The event will be on the National Mall between 4th and 7th Street, sandwiched between the National Gallery of Art and the National Air and Space Museum.

Note: This outdoor event is weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.

Jul
2
Sat
2022
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Jul 2 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park | Midland | Virginia | United States

RSVP here.

Members of the public are invited to view the wonders of the universe through the telescopes of NOVAC volunteers. You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend.

Before sunset, feel free to inspect the different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field. Have a cosmic question? One of our astronomers will be happy to help you. After sunset be prepared to enjoy the wonders of the night sky!

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope owner before using. Please monitor your children if they’re around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Pets should not be brought onto the observing field as well (unless they are service animals).

Don’t forget to dress warmly. Please check the weather 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. If you’re arriving after dark, please dim your vehicle’s headlights as you approach the gravel parking lot.

Note: This outdoor event is weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.

Please read the C.M. Crockett Page for park details.

 

Jul
22
Fri
2022
Great Meadow Public Night @ Great Meadow
Jul 22 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

RSVP here.

Members of the public are invited to view the wonders of the universe through the telescopes of NOVAC volunteers. You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend.

Before sunset, feel free to inspect the different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field. Have a cosmic question? One of our astronomers will be happy to help you. After sunset be prepared to enjoy the wonders of the night sky!

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope owner before using. Please monitor your children if they’re around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Pets should not be brought onto the observing field as well (unless they are service animals).

Don’t forget to dress warmly. Please check the weather 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. If you’re arriving after dark, please dim your vehicle’s headlights as you approach the gravel parking lot.

More information about Great Meadow including directions and parking visit the Great Meadow Site page.

Note: This outdoor event is weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.

 

Jul
30
Sat
2022
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Jul 30 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park | Midland | Virginia | United States

RSVP here.

Members of the public are invited to view the wonders of the universe through the telescopes of NOVAC volunteers. You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend.

Before sunset, feel free to inspect the different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field. Have a cosmic question? One of our astronomers will be happy to help you. After sunset be prepared to enjoy the wonders of the night sky!

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope owner before using. Please monitor your children if they’re around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Pets should not be brought onto the observing field as well (unless they are service animals).

Don’t forget to dress warmly. Please check the weather 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. If you’re arriving after dark, please dim your vehicle’s headlights as you approach the gravel parking lot.

Note: This outdoor event is weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.

Please read the C.M. Crockett Page for park details.

 

Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jul 30 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park

RSVP here.

NOVAC supports this event by providing telescope views to visitors.

  • Sky Meadows State Park (11012 Edmonds Ln.), behind the Mount Bleak House within the white fence.
  • For individuals who are fully vaccinated face coverings and social distancing are not required but recommended. Individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated will be asked to continue face covering and social distancing procedures.
  • The event’s programs will take place rain or shine.

Please visit the official website for more details.

Rappahannock County Park Open Observing Session @ Rappahannock County Park
Jul 30 @ 8:15 pm – 11:00 pm

RSVP here.

Members of the public are invited to view the wonders of the universe through the telescopes of Rappahannock County Park volunteers and NOVAC members. This is an open observing session and members of the public may bring their own telescopes and binoculars as well.

Note this program is only an observing session (no presentation).

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope owner before using. Please monitor your children if they’re around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Pets should not be brought onto the observing field as well (unless they are service animals).

Don’t forget to dress warmly. Please check the weather 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. If you’re arriving after dark, please dim your vehicle’s headlights as you approach the gravel parking lot.

Note: This outdoor event is weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.

Please visit the official website for more details.