Past Meetup

Monthly Public Observing Night at Sky Meadows State Park

Location visible to members


I will not be there but NOVAC member, Terry Cabell will be there at 6pm. It is a go! Below is a note the coordinator.Weather is looking good for tonight. I hope that everyone who has the time can join us. We've had a number of respondents, but we could always use a few more.

If this is your first time at Sky Meadows, or even your first public night, here are a few tips:

1. Astronomers are admitted to the park at no charge. Just tell the ranger at the gate you are there for the Astronomy event.

2. There will be a clipboard available at the gate. Please sign in with your name, the number in your party and the time.

3. Weather will be cool this evening, and night time temperatures will be in the 40s. Be sure to bring clothing sufficient to keep you comfortable at temps about ten, or so, degrees cooler. Sitting still in the dark doesn't generate a lot of heat.

4. Although there is a soda machine and a water fountain, there are no vending machines or eateries. Bring a hot drink, food for supper, snacks etc. so you'll be comfortable. If you are cookie-powered we will have those on hand.

5. Whether you have an observing chair, or not, bring a folding chair to sit in to relax.

6. Check your batteries for your equipment, and try to bring extra power just in case.

7. A red light flash light of some sort is a must to find your way around in the dark.

8. Be sure to allow yourself sufficient time to sight in your finderscope prior to darkness, and allow yourself sufficient time for set up prior to dark.

9. The entrance to the observing field is a gated entrance. Unless you arrive very early, you will see some folks already on the observing field. To access the field, you should drive through the gate entrance just before the field, and travel to the left of the split rail fence. There is a gate in the split rail fence that allows you to bring your equipment out onto the field. If you can do so safely, park with your headlights facing away from the observing field.

10. As I've mentioned before, the public are not expecting all of us to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the night sky. If you pick out one, or two, of your favorite objects to view, they'll be quite happy. You'd be amazed at how many folks have never seen the Milky Way.

11. We'll have the field to ourselves after 10PM, and anyone may stay as long as he, or she, likes.

12. There is a detailed review of the site in the NOVAC member's section of our club's website. Nevertheless, don 't hesitate to ask questions. I'll be on the field around 4PM to make sure everything is as it should be. I'll be the chubby guy with white hair in a baseball cap that says "Ad Astra Per Aspera"

I will be on line until around 2PM if you have any specific questions. After that, feel free to post to the listserv and others will probably be able to help.

See you there.


Sky Meadows State Park is west of Washington, D.C. on US Route 17 North, 1 mile south of US Route 50, or 7 miles north of Interstate 66, Exit 23. The park contact phone number is (540) 592-3556. There is a $4 parking fee per car. Please cover flashlights with a red filter or a brown paper bag. Dress warmly. In case of clouds or rain, an amateur astronomer will lead a short alternate program.