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

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). For 2020-2021, the meetings will be held online via Zoom. Attendees must register to get a Zoom link.

Meeting Schedule for 2020-2021

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 Registration

National Capital Astronomers will be holding its 2020-2021 meetings online via Zoom. Although you do not need to be an NCA member to participate, you will need to register to get your unique link to the Zoom session.

Zoom Etiquette

Given the newness of doing this, these guidelines are likely to be updated as needed.

Next Meeting Date: Saturday, 13 Feb 2021

7:30 pm ONLINE.

The Atmospheres of Extrasolar Super-Earths

Speaker: Dr. Eliza Kempton, UMD

Abstract: Some planets around other stars are super-Earths: planets with masses and sizes intermediate between the Earth and Neptune. Super-Earths do not exist in our Solar System, and models of planet formation and evolution are unable to uniquely predict their bulk compositions. Whether these planets are primarily rocky, gassy, or icy - and, if all three possibilities exist, how the dividing lines between sub-classes are sculpted - remains the subject of vigorous scientific investigation. The atmospheres of super-Earths are an astronomical observer's window into the composition of these planets. I will review the current state of atmospheric modeling and observations of super-Earth exoplanets, focusing on the challenges of uniquely inferring their key physical properties. I will then turn to a forward-looking view of the coming decade with regard to upcoming observational facilities, such as the James Webb Space Telescope and ground-based thirty-meter class telescopes, and how these facilities will revolutionize our understanding of super-Earths and their atmospheres.

Bio: ELIZA KEMPTON is an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland. Her research is focused on the detection and classification of exoplanets, with a particular interest in theoretical modeling of the atmospheres of the small planets known as super-Earths. Dr. Kempton previously served as a NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Cruz and then as an assistant professor of physics at Grinnell College. She has received numerous awards, including a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and an NSF CAREER Award. Dr. Kempton earned her B.A. in physics from Middlebury College and her Ph.D. in astronomy at Harvard University.

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 Tuesdays & 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 2020!

Exploring the Sky is an informal program that for over sixty 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.
Sessions are held in Rock Creek Park once each month on a Saturday night from April through November, starting shortly after sunset. We meet in the field just south of the intersection of Military and Glover Roads NW, near the Nature Center. A parking lot is located next to the field.
Beginners (including children) and experienced stargazers are all welcome-and it's free!
Questions? Call the Nature center at (202) 895-6070 or check: Exploring the Sky @ Rock Creek. !

Exploring the Sky 2020 Status: Because of the ongoing pandemic, EtS sessions have been canceled for the remainder of the year. Please check back in Spring 2021.

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 | Mtg Videos | Links

Updated by E. Warner on 12 Feb 2021.