National Capital Astronomers

About NCA

Serving 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. For 2022-2023, the meetings will be held online via Zoom.

Meeting Schedule for 2022-2023

The meetings for this year will be VIRTUAL and not in-person.

With permission of the speakers, most meetings will be recorded. Once available the audio and video will be linked.

Online Meeting Information

National Capital Astronomers will be holding its 2022-2023 meetings online via Zoom. This year, the Zoom meetings have been set up so that there is no registration required. This is the direct Zoom link, it is the same for everybody for every meeting this year (2022-23). If we have problems with Zoom bombing at a meeting, then the link will be canceled and a new one created that will require registration for subsequent meetings.
As usual, the Zoom room "doors" open at 7pm ET with the actual meeting starting on time at 7:30pm! While you do not need to sign in right at 7pm, please do not wait until 7:35pm!! And since we are not registering folks, it will be important that you have a recognizable name showing so that I can let you in from the virtual waiting room.

Finally, as last year, with the permission of the guestspeakers, we will be recording the meetings.

Join Zoom Meeting: NCA Monthly Zoom

Zoom Etiquette

These guidelines will be updated as needed.

Presolar Stardust in Asteroid Ryugu

Jens Barosch, Carnegie EPL

Next Meeting Date: Saturday, 12 Nov 2022

7:30 pm ONLINE.

Abstract: The Japanese Hayabusa2 mission collected and returned ~5g of material from the carbonaceous asteroid Ryugu. Since the successful delivery to Earth in late 2020, several international science teams have been working on the initial analysis of these precious samples. It was recently discovered that the Ryugu samples contain tiny and rare presolar stardust grains*. These stardust grains were produced in winds and explosions of ancient dying stars and were part of the molecular cloud from which the Solar System formed. Some of these dust grains were trapped in asteroids, where they survived for billions of years.
Studying presolar grains is the only known way to directly examine some of the building blocks of the Solar System in the laboratory. Presolar grains can tell us what type of material and which processes ultimately formed the Sun and planets. They can also be used as tracers for secondary processes that occurred on asteroids such as aqueous alteration and thermal metamorphism.
In this talk, we will examine the presolar grains found in Ryugu, and explore what they can tell us about the early evolution of our Solar System.

Bio: Jens Barosch received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Geoscience from Heidelberg University, Germany. In 2020, he completed his PhD in cosmochemistry at the University of Cologne. He has since been working as a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Larry Nittler at Carnegie Institution, Earth and Planets Laboratory, Washington, DC. Jens uses advanced microanalytical techniques to study the mineralogy and petrology of extraterrestrial samples and determine their chemical and isotopic compositions. Currently, he studies presolar stardust grains in meteorites, as well as samples returned from asteroid Ryugu as part of the Hayabusa2 mission. Jens aims to understand how the Solar System formed and evolved.

Telescope-Making and Mirror-Grinding

The telescope making, maintenance, and modification workshop with Guy Brandenburg is held in the basement (wood shop) of the Chevy Chase Community Center which is located at the intersection of McKinley Street and Connecticut Avenue, NW, a few blocks inside the DC boundary, on the northeast corner of the intersection. The workshop is open on Tuesdays & Fridays, from 5:00 to 7:30 PM. For information visit Guy's Website. To contact Guy, call 202-635-1860 or Email Guy.

Come See the Stars at Exploring the Sky 2022!

Exploring the Sky is an informal program that for over seventy years has offered monthly opportunities for anyone in the Washington area to see the stars and planets, through telescopes, from a location within the District of Columbia. During all those years, it has been co-sponsored by NCA and the National Park Service. Face masks are optional.

Questions? Call NCA at 202-635-1860 and leave a message.

Date Time Things of interest
2 Jul 9:00pm rained out
6 Aug 8:30pm 70% Moon; no planets; Globular Clusters M22, M4, M5, M13; Open Cluster M45
3 Sep 8:00pm 56% Moon; Planets Saturn and Jupiter; Globular Clusters M22, M4, Open Clusters M44 and M45
1 Oct 7:30pm 96% Moon; Planets Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter; Globular Clusters, Open Clusters M44 and M45
5 Nov 7:00pm 94% Moon; Planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; Globular Clusters M13, M3, M15, M92, and M2;, Open Clusters M44 and M45
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