Updated June 15, 2022. It’s time to start preparing for the next big event in the sky. Starting June 19, stargazers have the opportunity to spot Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and maybe Uranus, align during the morning twilight hours. For both amateur and seasoned astronomers, there are plenty of ways to get lost looking into space in DC, like the National Air and Space Museum. But get out of the city and under the night sky, and you might just find Northern Virginia is the best spot to catch a peek of the first big celestial event of summer. Plus, many stargazing spots in NoVA host regular classes and programs for both fledgling hobbyists and anyone curious about the sky above, so you can develop a hobby that’ll last you all summer long.
Burke Lake Park’s open fields lend themselves well to stargazing. Plus, you can learn more about constellations and try out provided telescopes when the park hosts stargazing events. 7315 Ox Rd., Fairfax Station
C.M. Crockett Park’s expansive open field is an ideal location to spot constellations, planets, star clusters, and galaxies. The Northern Virginia Astronomy Club holds monthly public viewings, and club members and nonmembers of all experience levels are welcome. 10066 Rogues Rd., Midland
On the first Monday of every month at 7:30 p.m., the staff of the David M. Brown Planetarium goes outside into the night to host its Stars Tonight program (contact directly for details on virtual programming amid COVID-19). Regular attendees can track changes in the solar system. 1426 N. Quincy St., Arlington
While George Mason University’s observatory is typically reserved for students, it frequently hosts its Evening Under the Stars program, where any old schmuck can look through the school’s primary telescope. George Mason University College of Science: 10401 York River Rd., Fairfax
Out in Great Falls, you can see the stars from one of the region’s darkest locations, and even better, Turner Farm has a roll-top observatory that offers programs and equipment for optimal viewing. The Analemma Society helms educational programming at the park. Participants who stop by might just be able to see Venus, the Andromeda galaxy, or the Orion nebula. 925 Springvale Rd., Great Falls
Sky Meadows offers a dedicated observing field, perfect for taking advantage of its Dark Sky status, near the Bleak Hill House for Northern Virginia Astronomy Club members as well as nonmembers, and the park regularly partners with the National Air and Space Museum for events. 11012 Edmonds Ln., Delaplane
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