The Annual 2017 ‘Holiday’ Potluck Gathering!

justin mccollumPublished November 30, 2017 by justin mccollum

Greetings to all of our club members, visitors, and guests! We welcome you to our next monthly gathering of the North Houston Astronomy Club on the 3rd Friday of this month (15 December 2017). This will be our third gathering at the new location in Conroe, TX!

We will be returning to our usual fourth Friday of the month meetings starting in January.

Make note that the Lone Star – Kingwood Campus will continue to remain closed through May 2018! 

Due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the facilities at the Lone Star – Kingwood College (our usual monthly gathering) is not available for the rest of the year and so we have temporarily shifted our location to a new spot; Lone Star – Montgomery Campus north of the Woodlands, TX on the East Side of I45 and West of the WG Jones State Forest near SH 242.

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

LSC – Montgomery

Click Here for Directions from Google Maps: Directions to Montgomery

Click Here for Directions from Mapquest: Directions to Montgomery

Physical Address

3200 College Park Dr.

Conroe, TX 77384

This will be our annual Holiday Potluck Dinner!

The club will provide the BBQ Brisket and every member of the club is encouraged to provide a dish as a contribution to the Potluck.

Salads, Bread, side dishes, casseroles, vegetable dishes, chips, special dips,  cranberry dishes,  cheese trays, fruit dishes, pies, cakes, special desserts, etc…

Your choice! The greater the variety of items the better!

We are also going to have an equipment give-away table for any of us with some kind of equipment we are not using to bring and make available to others who might want to have it.  Please bring any gear you would like to pass on to others. Just be sure it is in good working order, or identify it otherwise.

The Annual NHAC Board Elections!

It is that time again for as many club members as possible to come and participate at this meeting and decide the future of the club by participating in the voting for the next generation or continuation of current board members to continue on in their elected positions for 2018. We also will want to welcome any new board member and give honor to those who are retiring from their positions.

Please make this happing! We will need plenty of the membership to make this meeting and vote!

Our novice and general meetings will be taking place at this new location from now through December 2017.

Our special gathering will commence 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: Robert Brayton, CPP



‘DSLR Astrophotography’


The magnificent Orion Nebula once again graces the winter night skies.  In this presentation, we discuss real-world examples of how to capture the Orion Nebula using a modest telescope (or lenses) and DSLR camera.  We will cover what equipment is needed, how to set it up for the best image, what exposure to use, and strategies for efficient capture (post-processing will be covered in a later presentation).  We will end with a question and answer session, so bring your most nagging questions and we will attempt to answer them.

Short Bio

This will be Robert’s fourth presentation on astrophotography for the North Houston Astronomy Club.  Robert is a volunteer astronomer and astrophotographer at Insperity Observatory. He is a second generation professional commercial photographer, Certified Professional Photographer, and owner of

Below is a series of links extending on Robert Brayton’s Talk

Shooting Stars for Beginners!

How to Astrophotography 101

Jerry Lodriguss: Catching the Light!

David Reneke’s Guide to Astrophotography

DSLR Astrophotography

Deep Sky with your DSLR (Link to a free eBook)!


Our monthly gathering will conclude at the General Meeting:

Place: Lone Star College – Montgomery Campus

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

Time: (7:30 – 10:00) PM

Speaker Lead: Dr. Bruce Pollard, Ph. D. (VP NHAC)

Discussion Role – Play

‘So Where Are They? The Search for Intelligent Life’

Image result for where are the aliens

At the December 15 NHAC Meeting/Pot Luck, we will explore the possibility of detecting some kind of life beyond the Earth in the next 100 years. The starting point will be the famous Drake equation for estimating the number of broadcasting civilizations, developed over 50 years ago at a conference that triggered SETI.  We will reenact the meeting by having volunteers from the club play the parts of people at that meeting.  To make it interesting, we will add new characters that were not at the meeting but would have been valuable contributors.

There will be members of our club who will play the role of a certain Astronomer or important person in the world of Space knowledge.  Each person will be asked to introduce themselves and to present some insight into what we think now or what the future might hold.  After everyone presents themselves, there will be an open discussion. The players may decide to dress up and assume the role they are portraying throughout the meeting. Name tags will provided.

Roles to be played by our volunteering members:

Frank Drake – Started and ran SETI

Harold Urey – Prof of Chemistry – Univ of Chicago

Carl Sagan – the famous astrophysicist

Ann Druyan – Wife of Carl Sagan

 Neil deGrasse Tyson – Astrophysicist, Hayden Planetarium

Sara Seager – Professor of Interplanetary Science at MIT

John Baross – Professor of Oceanography at Univ of Washington.

Michael Gillon – Lead Researcher for TRAPPIST-1A star/planet system

Stephen Hawkings – will appear by video.

Lee Billings – Author of “Five Billion Years of Solitude”


Below is a series of links to explore the topic of ET!

Fermi’s Paradox

The Drake Equation

BigThink: Where are All the Aliens?

The SETI Institute

Mission of METI (Messaging ET Intelligence)

The Planetary Society: Videos on SETI and Cosmic Life!

Brakethrough Initiatives

An Opposite View of Contacting ETs!