Variable Weather - Always Analemma Tweets & Clear Skies Pages
The Roll-Top observatory is available to the public for viewing the skies on Friday nights:
7:30-9:30 PM Friday 6 October 7:30-9:30 PM Friday 13 OctoberCancelled
- 7:30-9:30 PM Friday 20 October
- 7:30-9:30 PM Friday 27 October
The Analemma Society holds Friday Night Public Viewing Sessions at Turner Farm in Great Falls, VA. With the Roll-Top operational, volunteers will be available to help the public use the newly mounted telescopes.
We continue to invite the public to bring their own telescopes and set up outside the Roll-Top. There is a lot to see in the spring sky. On several of our Friday Night sessions, we have had more than 100 visitors! As we enter the summer season, think about bringing your own telescope or binoculars.
And, don't forget to sign up with Fairfax County Parktakes for the following courses at Observator Park, Turner Farm:
- 7:30pm Wednesday October 18 Introduction to Telescopes
- 7:30pm Thursday October 19 Meteor Astronomy
- 7:30pm Wednesday October 25 Exploring the Moon
- 7:30pm Thursday October 26 Astronomy for the Family: Black Holes
- 7:30pm Wednesday November 8 Our Solar System and its Planets
Read the article below about these courses or read on to see what's up in the sky for Friday nights in October.
These public observing sessions are open to all. We get everyone from families with older kids, families with young children, individuals, couples, and students attending these public sessions. Please double check the weather and sky before attending. Check our Observing page for the Clear Sky Chart and Analemma Tweets for last minute messages. Wear appropriate clothing - nights can be cool. The Roll-Top observatory has an enclosed classroom, but the observatory room is not heated and open to the sky.
Here's what's up in the sky for October
- Planets: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune
- Double Stars: Albireo, Rasalgethi (Alpha Hercules), Double-Double (Epsilon Lyrae), Almach (Gamma Andromeda), Eta Cassiopeia
- Stars with Color: Arcturus (Red Giant), Mu Cephei (Hershel's Garnet Star), T Lyra (Carbon Star)
- Globular Clusters: Messier Objects M13 (Great Cluster in Hercules), M22, M92, M15
- Open Clusters: Messier Objects, M29, M39, M52, M11 (Wild Duck Cluster), NGC 7789, Double Cluster 869 & 884
- Planetary Nebulae:M57 (Ring Nebula in Lyra), M27 (Dumbbell Nebula), NGC6543, NGC6826
- Bright H-II Nebulae: M17 (Swan Nebula)
- Galaxies: Messier Objects M31 (Andromeda), M32 & M110 Satellite Galaxies
There are 4 telescopes set up for viewing in the Roll-Top observatory including a 7" high quality refractor. For public sessions, we may also have telescopes set up outside the building along the walkway to look through. Members of the public are welcome to bring their own telescopes and set them up as well. If you bring your own telescope equipment and have not been at one of our public sessions before, we recommend you contact one of the volunteers first upon arrival so we can guide you on where to set up.
When you pull into the access road leading into the park, follow the road to the parking lot that will be to the left. Please put your headlights on low when entering the parking lot. All visitors must park in the parking lot. Enter through the pedestrian gate in the Northwest corner of the parking lot and follow the walkway up to the Roll-Top building (the squat building with the moveable roof). For public sessions, the Analemma Society will have a coordinator present to greet people and provide directions. But if the coordinator is busy or providing assistance inside the building, enter through the gray door on the walkway side of the Roll-Top building.
These events are very weather dependent. Please check the Analemma tweet page on this website (or directly at @AnalemmaSociety ) for updates on Friday viewing if the weather looks questionable.