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NHAC ‘2018 Late Autumnal’ Gathering!

justin mccollumPublished November 15, 2018 by justin mccollum

Greetings to all of our club members, visitors, and guests!

We welcome you to the regular meetings of the North Houston Astronomy Club on the 4th Friday of every month.

Currently, our club has its monthly meetings at the Montgomery campus of the Lone Star College system for 2018.

Lone Star – Montgomery Campus is north of the Woodlands, TX on the West Side of I45 and East of the WG Jones State Forest near SH 242.

Click below here for a Map of the Campus and Driving Directions!
(Parking permits are not required after 6 PM!)

Lone Star – Montgomery Campus

Physical Address

3200 College Park Dr.

Conroe, TX 77384

Our gathering begins with the Novice Meeting:

Place: Lone Star College – Montgomery Campus

Location: Classroom Bldg. B (2nd Floor – Room B203)

Time: (6:30 – 7:15) PM

Speaker: Annie Wargetz
(NASA Solar System Ambassador)


“A Eulogy to the Kepler Exoplanet Hunter”

NASA Kepler Spacecraft

The NASA Kepler Spacecraft dedicated as an orbiting Space Observatory that operated from 2009 – 2018. Surveying over 500,000 stars and detecting 2,662 exoplanets (planets orbiting) stars other than the Sun.

Ms. Annie Wargetz is a NASA Solar System Ambassador and has held a few positions in the career of Space and Astronomy. She has worked as Integrated Communications and Outreach Intern for the NASA Orion Program and served as the Social Media Lead and a mission specialist for the NASA OSIRIS – REx mission with the SwRI (Southwest Research Institute) in San Antonio, TX, US.

The Kepler Spacecraft is a retired Space Observatory which functioned for over nine years from early March 2009 to the end of October 2018 dedicated to searching and mapping the location of exoplanets in our home galaxy (the Milky Way). In that time the spacecraft observed and analyzed 530,506 stars and detected 2,662 planets confirmed from a total of 4,587 candidates from the vast data collected from Kepler. Kepler was basically a huge photometer capable of detecting and examining the light profile of 150,000 main – sequence stars in any field of view. 16 May 2014 NASA approved the K2 Mission which was an extension of the Kepler Spacecraft duties to searching for habitable Earth-size exoplanets orbiting around dim, red dwarf stars.

Annie will present a talk that discusses the nature, history, engineering, and science performed by the Kepler spacecraft and discoveries of exoplanets.

Learn more from the following References

The Nature of Exoplanets

Exoplanet Exploration

Mapping the Habitable Universe

The Exoplanet Encyclopedia

Spectra of Exoplanets

NASA Kepler Mission & K2

Details of the Kepler Mission

Ball Aerospace (Kepler Mission)

Place: Lone Star College – Montgomery Campus

Location: Classroom Bldg. B (1st Floor Auditorium – Room B102)

Time: (7:30 – 10:00) PM

Speaker: Bruce Brayton
(NHAC Northwest Chapter, CPP – Certified Professional Photographer)


Planetary Nebulae

Scaling of 22 Planetary Nebulae

A Scaling of 22 Planetary Nebulae from the large Abell 33 to the tiny Red Rectangle protoplanetary nebula. The scale at 4 light years shows the difference in the sizes from over 4 light-years across to the Red Rectangle (HD 44179) in the Constellation of Monoceros less than 0.1 light-years across. The two nebulae are both 2700 and 2300 light-years from Earth respectively.

Mr. Robert Brayton starts the evening with his presentation at the novice meeting on Planetary Nebulae. Planetary Nebulae (PNs) are the remains of stars with a Mass range of 0.7 – 8 Suns that exhaust their supply of fusible Hydrogen, Helium, Carbon, and Oxygen which results in these stars losing the balance between the radiation pressure that is formed from the internal nuclear fusion of stars and the gravitational force that binds stars together by their own mass. These stars when the appropriate range of mass will explode as Novae. The shells of material that make up most of a star will be expelled out into space and form the concentric layers as shown in the above image.

The appearance of these shells is a combination of photoluminescence in which high energy light coming from the exposed stellar cores (planetary nebulae central stars) and the outer boundaries formed as bow shocks against the Interstellar Medium (IM) amongst the galactic winds. The central stars will fade gradually into what is known as White Dwarfs which radiate energy due to high electrons exerting pressure within the dwarfs. The radiation stimulates the gases in the nebula and the atoms/molecules will have electrons excited by the radiation and will, in turn, emit EM radiation out into space.

Learn more from the following References

The Concept of Planetary Nebula

A Basic understanding of PNs

Planetary Nebulae & White Dwarfs

Planetary Nebula Sampler

SPM Kinematic Catalogue of Galactic PNs

A Beautiful Catalogue of PN Images

Gallery of PN Spectra