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

May
15
Sat
2021
Astronomy Day @ C.M. Crockett Park
May 15 @ 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Astronomy Day @ C.M. Crockett Park

RSVP here.

Join NOVAC members who will be on hand to share views of the night sky including Mars, star clusters, the Milky Way, and many other deep sky objects.

Activities during Astronomy Day 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: Masks are required throughout the event. This event is also weather-dependent and may be cancelled because of significant cloud cover or precipitation.

Head over to the Astronomy Day page for more information.

Jun
12
Sat
2021
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Jun 12 @ 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park | Midland | Virginia | United States

 

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

 

Rappahannock County Park Public Night @ Rappahannock County Park
Jun 12 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Join NOVAC and the Rappahannock County Park for a public observing session.

Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 12 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park

NOVAC supports this event by providing remote telescope viewing capabilities to visitors in order to ensure safe social distancing.

  • Sky Meadows State Park (11012 Edmonds Ln.), behind the Mount Bleak House within the white fence.
  • Participation will be limited to 100 people (including staff and volunteers).
  • Social distancing is required and face masks are strongly encouraged.

Please visit the official website for more details.

Jul
10
Sat
2021
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Jul 10 @ 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park | Midland | Virginia | United States

 

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

 

Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jul 10 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park

NOVAC supports this event by providing remote telescope viewing capabilities to visitors in order to ensure safe social distancing.

  • Sky Meadows State Park (11012 Edmonds Ln.), behind the Mount Bleak House within the white fence.
  • Participation will be limited to 100 people (including staff and volunteers).
  • Social distancing is required and face masks are strongly encouraged.

Please visit the official website for more details.

Jul
24
Sat
2021
Rappahannock County Park Public Night @ Rappahannock County Park
Jul 24 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Join NOVAC and the Rappahannock County Park for a public observing session.

Aug
7
Sat
2021
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Aug 7 @ 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park | Midland | Virginia | United States

 

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

 

Rappahannock County Park Public Night @ Rappahannock County Park
Aug 7 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Join NOVAC and the Rappahannock County Park for a public observing session.

Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 7 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park

NOVAC supports this event by providing remote telescope viewing capabilities to visitors in order to ensure safe social distancing.

  • Sky Meadows State Park (11012 Edmonds Ln.), behind the Mount Bleak House within the white fence.
  • Participation will be limited to 100 people (including staff and volunteers).
  • Social distancing is required and face masks are strongly encouraged.

Please visit the official website for more details.