“Bringing Astronomy to the People of Hampton Roads”

Updated on January 14, 2014


  • Observing the night sky is done in the dark! To fully enjoy the experience, observers need to be dark adapted and do their utmost to preserve the dark environment. But of course, safety must come first!

  • Visitors are requested to be considerate and thoughtful of the need for maintaining the darkness. When arriving at an event after dark, you should dim your headlights as soon as safety permits. When preparing to leave an event, please warn others before turning on your headlights or other white lights.

  • Avoid displaying any white light at the event. This includes cell phones, flashlights, car dome lights, or camping lanterns. The best light to use is a variable red LED flashlight.

  • Bright lights of any color should be avoided. A regular flashlight can be modified with red cellophane over the lens, or the bulb can be painted with red nail polish and the lens covered with paper to dim the light. Keep flashlights pointed down away from observer’s eyes.

  • Green laser pointers are permitted, but they should be used carefully. They are not toys as they can cause considerable damage to the eye.

  • The BBAA does not generally provide refreshments or snacks at events. If food or drinks are shared they are offered by individuals, and are enjoyed at the user’s own risk. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to bring their own snacks and drinks to events.

  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

  • Please keep all food and drink away from the telescopes.

  • Please do not smoke near the telescopes.

  • Bringing a pet to observing sessions, while not forbidden, is also not encouraged. If you must bring your pet, be sure you can control the animal and keep them away from the telescopes, food, and other guests.

  • Please dress appropriately. In warm months, you should expect to encounter mosquitoes and other biting insects, especially at dusk. The less skin exposed the better; shorts are never recommended. Always come prepared for cooler than expected temperatures even in summer. In cold months be sure to dress in layers and wear a hat.

  • Please avoid spraying bug sprays in the vicinity of the telescopes, as they can damage optics.

  • Do not touch the scopes and especially never touch an optical surface. Club members are sharing their own equipment, and it is usually both delicate and expensive. Please be considerate.

  • Be careful when moving around or approaching a telescope. There may be electrical wires or other trip hazards on the ground leading to the scope.

  • Be careful not to bump the scopes. You could knock the scope off its target or even cause damage to its drive system.

  • It is never necessary to grab the eyepiece, as looking is done with the eye. The image is always formed above the glass surface of an eyepiece; your eye should not contact it.

  • Please ask before attempting to adjust the focus of a telescope.

  • You may have to climb a ladder to reach the eyepiece for larger scopes. You should hold onto the ladder and not the scope.

  • You observe at your own risk! The BBAA assumes no responsibility for any injury, damage, or loss.

  • All outdoor events are weather dependent.

Skywatch at Northwest River Park