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

Oct
30
Sat
2021
Star Gaze @ C.M. Crockett Park
Oct 30 @ 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Star Gaze @ C.M. Crockett Park | Midland | Virginia | United States

Due to the rain forecast on October 9, 2021, Star Gaze was delayed to October 30, 2021.

RSVP here.

For more information on the event, visit the Star Gaze page.

Nov
6
Sat
2021
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Nov 6 @ 6:00 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.

Featured objects will include Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and deep sky objects like star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.

Arrive up to an hour before the event if you want to inspect different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field as they’re being set up. 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!

Feel free to walk around and enjoy the different telescopes on display but please ask the 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
Nov 6 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 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 no longer 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.

Nov
13
Sat
2021
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center Star Party @ Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center
Nov 13 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Event Website
  • Date(s):  Saturday, November 13; 5pm to 8pm
  • Location:  Chantilly, VA- NASM Udvar-Hazy Center (14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy.)
  • Pandemic Precautions:

    • For individuals who are fully vaccinated, face coverings and social distancing are optional outdoors. Individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated should continue face covering and social distancing procedures.
    • More information here.
Nov
27
Sat
2021
Great Meadow Public Night @ Great Meadow
Nov 27 @ 5:00 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. Masks are required and up to 10 visitors at a time are allowed around a single telescope.

From 5pm until sunset you can inspect 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!

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. Feel free to walk around and the different telescopes on display but please ask the owner before using. Please monitor your children around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Finally, pets should not be brought onto the observing field unless they are service animals.

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

 

See front page of NOVAC Site for changes to event. More information about Great Meadow including directions and parking visit the Great Meadow Site page.

Dec
4
Sat
2021
Sky Meadows State Park- Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 4 @ 4:30 pm – 7:30 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.

C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Dec 4 @ 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.