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

Dec
17
Sat
2022
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Dec 17 @ 4:00 pm – 10:00 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.

Before sunset, feel free to inspect the 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!

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope 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
Dec 17 @ 4:30 pm – 7:30 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 not 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.

Jan
21
Sat
2023
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Jan 21 @ 4:30 pm – 10:00 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.

Before sunset, feel free to inspect the 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!

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope 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
Jan 21 @ 4:30 pm – 7:30 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 not 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.

Jan
28
Sat
2023
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center Star Party @ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Jan 28 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center Star Party @ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | 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 at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend.

The event will take place on the bus parking lot of the museum. Please park your vehicle in the main visitors lot and follow signs to the observing site from the main entrance. As a reminder, parking after 4pm is free.

Shortly before sunset, feel free to inspect the different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field. Have a cosmic question? One of NOVAC’s astronomers or museum staff will be happy to help you. After sunset be prepared to enjoy the wonders of the night sky!

Don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather. Please check the 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.

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

 

Feb
18
Sat
2023
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Feb 18 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 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.

Before sunset, feel free to inspect the 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!

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope 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
Feb 18 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 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 not 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.

Feb
25
Sat
2023
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center Star Party @ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Feb 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center Star Party @ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | 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 at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend.

The event will take place on the bus parking lot of the museum. Please park your vehicle in the main visitors lot and follow signs to the observing site from the main entrance. As a reminder, parking after 4pm is free.

Shortly before sunset, feel free to inspect the different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field. Have a cosmic question? One of NOVAC’s astronomers or museum staff will be happy to help you. After sunset be prepared to enjoy the wonders of the night sky!

Don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather. Please check the 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.

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

 

Mar
11
Sat
2023
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center Star Party @ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Mar 11 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center Star Party @ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | 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 at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. You do not need to be a member of the club or own any astronomical equipment to attend.

The event will take place on the bus parking lot of the museum. Please park your vehicle in the main visitors lot and follow signs to the observing site from the main entrance. As a reminder, parking after 4pm is free.

Shortly before sunset, feel free to inspect the different telescopes and other visual equipment on the field. Have a cosmic question? One of NOVAC’s astronomers or museum staff will be happy to help you. After sunset be prepared to enjoy the wonders of the night sky!

Don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather. Please check the 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.

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

 

Mar
18
Sat
2023
C.M. Crockett Public Night @ C.M. Crockett Park
Mar 18 @ 6:30 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.

Before sunset, feel free to inspect the 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!

As a reminder please ask permission from the telescope 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.

 

 

 

 

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.