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The Fairfax County Park Authority offers a variety of activities such as classes, camps and tours in a wide variety of categories including aquatics, fitness, nature, dance, outdoor recreation, performing arts, history and many more. Special events, trips/tours and specialty workshops are listed in Parktakes, the Park Authority’s quarterly guide, available through free subscription to county citizens. .

Astronomical Seminar & Telescope Viewing

(8-Adult) The roll-top observatory at Turner Farm holds a classroom seminar and nighttime observing session focused on a specific astronomical topic each month. Topics include planets, comets, open clusters, double stars, stellar color spectrum, globular clusters, galaxies, nebulae and more. Telescopes are used to view the objects discussed in the classroom (weather dependent). Check the Analemma site for monthly topics. www.analemma.org. Advance registration required, no walk-in registration available.

Astronomy Merit Badge

This program satisfies most of the requirements to earn the Astronomy Merit Badge. Visit the site's website for pre-work and information. See session notes for details.

Astronomy-Listening to the Universe (8-Adult)

(8-Adult) What can you hear from space? Join the adventure to understand cosmic noise and what it tells us about the sun, the magnetic structure surrounding some of our planets and the radio signals from Jupiter. Learn how our galaxy is mapped using the faint signals from hydrogen atoms and the behavior of molecules. Listen to the sounds of pulsars, strange dense fast rotating stars. Come hear what our universe is saying. The class will be held in the roll-top observatory at Turner Farm Park.

Exploring the Moon (8-Adult)

(8-Adult) The Moon is as old as the Earth, and its surface is marked by craters and lava flows billions of years old. Explore these lunar features through a high-powered telescope and learn about their origins. See where the Apollo lunar landings occurred, and discuss what the astronauts found. Class meets rain or shine with alternate viewing sessions available for cloudy days. Advance registration required, no walk-in registration available.

Intro to Telescopes (8-Adult)

(8-Adult) Class covers astronomy basics and how to set up and use your telescope. Course content depends on telescope type and includes observing selected objects in the sky using the roll-top observatory, weather permitting. You can bring your own telescope to class. Advance registration required, no walk-in registration available

Introduction to Astronomy (8-Adult)

(8-Adult) Do you wonder where our calendar and the days of the week came from? Why are days 24 hours long? This class covers these questions and others in the light of what astronomy had to do with them. We explore the basic types of astronomical objects from the smallest to the largest and their motions through the universe. The course will be held in the roll-top observatory at Turner Farm Park with an observing session weather permitting.

Meteor Astronomy (10-Adult)

(10-Adult) This class covers basic meteor astronomy including what meteors are, their origins, best time to view, fireball reporting, past meteor showers videos. An optional observing session is held outdoors after class, weather permitting. Advance registration required, no walk-in registration available.

Meteorites-Exploring Visitors from Space (8-Adult)

(8-Adult) What are meteorites? Where do they come from? What do they tell us? This class is an introduction to these visitors from outer space. Participants will be able to examine actual meteorites including specimens from the Moon and Mars. The course will be held in the Roll-Top observatory classroom at Turner Farm Park.

Topics in Astronomy at the Roll-Top Observatory

(8-Adult) The Roll-Top observatory at Turner Farm holds a classroom talk on an astronomy related topic each month. Topics range from planets, the Solar system, constellations, stars, galaxies, space missions and other subjects. The talk will be followed by an observing session with telescopes in the observatory if the weather allows. Advanced registration required. Check the Analemma Society website for the monthly topics (www.analemma.org).

Transit of Mercury Celebration

(5-Adult) In this rare event, Mercury will pass directly between the earth and sun. Witness this transit as you safely view Mercury gliding slowly across the face of the sun. Many different telescopes and viewing methods will be available along with educational stations to enjoy while clouds pass by.