Public Viewing and Community Outreach

solarkidSharing our knowledge of space has always been an important part of NOVAC. Many of our members are avid astronomers and are very enthusiastic about the hobby. Each year we hold several public observing sessions and the annual Star Gaze to help you learn more. Please make plans to attend.

You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend. All you need is an interest in the wonders of the cosmos. We welcome all ages, though children under 18 who attend an event must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Preparation begins before leaving home. Dress warmly! Summer nights can still become cold. Please check the Thanks for Coming to our Schoolweather forecast.

For lighting, cover a flashlight in red cellophane (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.

Feel free to walk around and enjoy the sights through the equipment on display but please ask the owner before using. It’s best to control children around expensive astronomical equipment. Remember, telescope mirrors are sensitive to cigarette smoke and bug spray. Pets should not be brought onto the observing field.

Please check back with our website prior to leaving for the event. If it’s cancelled, there will be a notice prominently displayed on the homepage News or the calendar events.

Club members will begin to arrive just prior to sunset. We advise you to arrive before darkness, too but please check with each event for specific details for arrival.

For more information on NOVAC outreach check out the specific page or if you are looking to have an event please fill out this outreach request form or contact the NOVAC Outreach Coordinator at: outreach@novac.com

Please Note: NOVAC outreach events should generally be held on one of our scheduled public viewing events. Weather conditions may cause last minute cancellations so check out the event calendar for the event status before you head out.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Other Public Events

The following opportunities are sponsored by other organizations and schools in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland.

The Analemma Society
Sponsors public observing every Friday at Observatory Park, near the village of Great Falls, Virginia.

The Astronomy Dept. of the University of Maryland
Holds a public lecture followed by informal observing at the observatory in College Park, Maryland the 5th and 20th of each month.

The Montgomery College Planetarium
Closed for remodeling until approximately Fall 2021.

NOVAC Monthly Meetings
Don’t forget that our meetings, generally held at George Mason University on the second Sunday evening of each month (except when that Sunday is Mother’s Day), are open to the public.