Expand Your Horizons at Astronomy Day 2018!
April 21st – 3 PM to 11 PM at C.M. Crockett Park
The whole family will enjoy this free event as part of Global Astronomy Month!
Hosted by the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC), the event is located at beautiful C. M. Crockett Park in Midland Virginia and convenient to all D. C. area visitors.
You can click on the flyer above to download and print to post it at workplaces, schools, libraries, etc.
Activities will include; safe views of the sun in the afternoon, fun activities for kids, special astronomy and space exploration presentations rain or shine in our big tent, a human orrery on the field, a special guided tour of the night sky and spectacular views of the universe through club member’s telescopes.
No astronomy experience or equipment is needed to enjoy Astronomy Day. Free star maps and brochures about amateur astronomy will be available to help you get started. Experienced amateur astronomers will show you how to use them to learn and enjoy the night sky. Just ask.
If you own a pair of binoculars, bring them. Binoculars are great for looking at the night sky. The free star maps point out features in the night sky that are best viewed with binoculars.
There will be no shortage of optics of all sizes and shapes offering views of everything overhead. Walk around and enjoy the sights through the equipment on display. The telescope owner will be glad to let you have a look, but please ask before using.
Crockett Park charges $7 per vehicle if you’re not a Fauquier County resident, but 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.
Special presentations in our big tent – Rain or Shine
“Star Clusters, Star Clusters” – Ed Witkowski – NOVAC member – 4 PM
“The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017” – Dr. Harold Davis – JPL Solar System Ambassador – 5 PM
“SOHO: History’s Greatest Comet Finder” – Karl Battams – Naval Research Laboratory – 6 PM
“Curiosity and ExoMars: A Tale of Two Martian Rovers” – Eric Lyness – NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – 7 PM
Activities on the Field
Browse the NOVAC club tent for astronomy-related collateral – 3 PM to dusk
International Dark Skies Tent – 3 PM to dusk
Safe Solar Viewing – 3 PM to dusk
Face Painting by Khuyen Dinh – 3 PM to dusk
“Your Place in Space – A Human Orrery” – 5:30 PM
Astronomy Bingo for Kids – 6:30 PM
Night Sky Tour – Led by Cal Powell – 8:30 PM
Night-time Observing (weather permitting) – Full dark to 11 PM
What you should know before you visit…
- Bring layers of clothing to add as the evening cools. Temperatures can be chilly and little body heat is generated while standing still to peer through a telescope eyepiece. Check the forecast for Midland, VA before you start out to get an idea of what the weather will be like.
- Bring water and other beverages to keep hydrated. No food concessions will be available at the park so you may want to bring snacks and a picnic dinner. Crockett park is truly rural. There are no restaurants nearby; the closest are in Nokesville, Calverton or Bristow.
- Bring a flashlight, but cover it in layers of red cellophane, the darker the better. Astronomers use red lights because of a phenomenon called dark adaptation. Our eyes slowly increase in sensitivity to light in dark environments but very quickly lose it when exposed to white light. Red lights, specifically those with a wavelength longer than 620 nanometers, dark ruby red, don’t cause this, so we use them to illuminate our path or charts.
- Children are welcome, of course, but please help us to encourage them to be careful around the astronomical equipment. Scouts are encouraged and this is a great way for Girl Scouts to work on their Space Explorer Try It or work on the Sky Search Program. Webelos can work on their Astronomy belt loop and Boy Scouts on their Astronomy Merit Badge!
- No smoking around the telescopes. Telescope mirrors (and some of the owners) are sensitive to tobacco smoke. Move far away from the telescopes if you use any kind of spray. A tiny droplet of insect repellent spray could significantly damage the coating on a telescope lens or mirror.
- Pets, except service dogs, are not permitted on the observing field.
<!–We look forward to seeing you on April 21st!–>