What we're about

http://www.novac.com

*** The events posted here are open to the public and are offered monthly. NOVAC Members have access to viewing sites in northern Virginia and West Virginia and access to loaner telescopes, an extensive astronomy library, special interest groups and member observing sessions. Please attend one of our online monthly meetings to see if NOVAC fits your interests in astronomy. We would love to have you as a member!! ***

NOVAC is an astronomy outreach focused non-profit organization formed in 1990, however, the club met informally for many years before that!

We provide enjoyment and education to the public (and ourselves!) through amateur astronomy. We discuss telescopes, astrophotography, and anything above our atmosphere! :)

We strive to be a friendly club with a focus on observing, and we are one of the largest clubs in the United States with over 800 members.

Some might call this plain old "Star-gazing." If you wish to grow your knowledge and help others grow their knowledge of astronomy NOVAC will help you achieve that goal. With our large membership covering all aspects of astronomy, you are sure to find others with interests in astronomy and equipment similar to yours.

By joining NOVAC, you will have the opportunity to meet others who have common interests and the opportunity to exchange ideas. Through our public programs, you can be directly involved with the public events NOVAC sponsors to introduce others to the joys of astronomy.

NOVAC sponsors numerous public events that are free and open to the public ! To facilitate the club's operations members pay small annual dues to support the outreach events, provide the web site, provide loaner scopes and purchase books for the library. Dues also include membership in the Astronomical League. NOVAC is non-profit charitable 501(c)(3) corporation. Funding is primarily through membership dues with some corporate charitable contributions and various partnerships that support the viewing sites.

Whether an interested beginner or an experienced amateur astronomer , we think you will find joining NOVAC a rewarding experience.

Our motto is To Observe and to Help Others Observe: we welcome everyone who wishes to learn more about astronomy.

Upcoming events (4+)

C.M. Crockett Park Public Night

Needs a location

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.

Astronomy for Everyone at Sky Meadows State Park

Needs a location

Sky Meadows and NOVAC invite you to enjoy an evening under the stars. Our evenings begin with a half-hour children's "Junior Astronomer" program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) Ambassadors for a presentation on the latest news in astronomy. Visitors should bring their own lawn chairs and/or blankets. Next, get oriented to the celestial skies with a brief sky tour. Finish the evening by relaxing and enjoying the beautiful night sky. Join Northern Virginia Astronomy Club members in viewing the night sky. Feel free to bring your telescope or binoculars for your own exploration.

The event's programs will take place rain or shine.

Details: https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/sky-meadows

Rappahannock County Park Dark Sky Event

Needs a location

Members of the public are invited to view the wonders of the universe through the telescopes of Rappahannock County Park volunteers and NOVAC members. Members of the public may bring their own telescopes and binoculars as well.

This program begins with a 15-minute presentation followed by night sky observing.

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.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center Star Party

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.

Past events (279)

Rappahannock County Park Open Observing Session

Needs a location

Photos (83)