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National Capital Astronomers

About NCA

NCA logoServing science and society since 1937. The National Capital Astronomers (NCA) is a non-profit, membership supported, volunteer run, public service corporation dedicated to advancing space technology, astronomy, and related sciences through information, participation, and inspiration, via research, lectures and presentations, publications, expeditions, tours, public interpretation, and education. NCA is the astronomy affiliate of the Washington Academy of Sciences. We are also members of the Astronomical League, in fact NCA members helped form the Astronomical League a long time ago.

NCA has for many years published a monthly newsletter called Star Dust that is available for members. Besides announcement of coming NCA meetings and a calendar of monthly events Star Dust contains reviews of past meeting and articles on current astronomical events.

NCA is a very unusual astronomy organization. All are welcome to join. Everyone who looks up to the sky with wonder is an astronomer and welcomed by NCA. You do not have to own a telescope, but if you do own one that is fine, too. You do not have to be deeply knowledgeable in astronomy , but if you are knowledgeable in astronomy that is fine, too. You do not have to have a degree, but if you do that is fine, too. WE ARE THE MOST DIVERSE local ASTRONOMY CLUB anywhere. Come to our meetings and you will find this out. WE REALLY MEAN THIS!

Our Meetings

Monthly Meetings with Educational Presentations are Free and Open to the Public

NCA has regular monthly meetings September through June on the second Saturday of the month. Most meetings are held at the University of Maryland Astronomical Observatory in College Park, Maryland (directions/map).

Public transportation: Directions/maps to the UMD Observatory
Inclement weather: In case of severe weather (tornado/snow/impassable roads), a notice will be placed on the Observatory Website on the day of the meeting. (Be sure to refresh/reload the page to make sure you are seeing an updated page.)

Meeting Schedule for 2016-2017

Next Meeting Date: Saturday, 14 Jan 2017

7:30 pm at the University of Maryland Observatory on Metzerott Road.

Kepler Debates Tycho: Does the Earth Orbit the Sun?

Speaker: Dean Howarth and Jeff Jones

Abstract: The story of the flamboyant Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, and the ingenious German mathematician, Johannes Kepler, is one of the most interesting episodes in the history of science.

Appearing in period attire and using an array of replica instruments and demos, Dean and Jeff capture the dynamic rivalry between the two men of science in a witty, yet scientifically accurate, narrative suitable for all ages and all levels of interest and experience.

Principles of astronomy and physics, and even arcane theories of the past are shared and debated with audiences who learn that the lessons of the past have much to do with the science of today!

Bio: Dean Howarth and Jeffrey Jones are veteran physics teachers in Fairfax County, VA. For over a decade, the two have collaborated on unique and innovative ways to bring science to life. Both men are firm believers that the history of science is a fruitful and compelling way to introduce the sometimes complex principles of science to their students[ and to the public].

Stories about the great scientists of the past show the human element and drama behind great advances in science. This drama remains intriguing throughout the ages and invites listeners to learn more about the science and technologies that so affect modern life.

Weather-permitting, there will be observing through the telescopes after the meeting for members and guests.


Join Us for Dinner Before the Meeting

Telescope-Making and Mirror-Grinding

Telescope-making and mirror-making classes with Guy Brandenburg at the Chevy Chase Community Center, at the intersection of  McKinley Street and Connecticut Avenue, NW, a few blocks inside the DC  boundary, on the northeast corner of the intersection, in the basement  (wood shop), on Fridays, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. For information visit Guy's Website  To contact Guy, use this phone #: 202-262-4274 or Email Guy.

Come See the Stars at Exploring the Sky 2017!

Please check back in early 2017 for the 2017 schedule.

Exploring the Sky is a presentation of the National Park Service and National Capital Astronomers.

For NCA information by E-mail or phone

NCA Documents

HOME | Telescope Making Workshops | Exploring the Sky | Contact Info | Star Dust Archive | Links

Updated by E. Warner on 20 Dec 2016.