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

Apr
17
Sat
2021
Great Meadow Public Night @ Great Meadow
Apr 17 @ 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.

Featured objects include a First Quarter Moon, Mars, the Orion Nebula, various star clusters, and distant galaxies.

From 5pm until sunset (7:47pm) 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.

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

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

May
15
Sat
2021
Astronomy Day @ C.M. Crockett Park
May 15 all-day
Astronomy Day @ C.M. Crockett Park

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.

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.

 

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.

Sep
4
Sat
2021
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Sep 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.