September 2017

Volume XVII Number 9


This Month's remaining events


September 16

Bar-B-Q Star Party

O'Brien Dark Site


September 22

General Meeting

Lone Star College,

Montgomery Campus

Note this change!

Do not go to Kingwood!

See below!


September 30

Atascosita Fall Star Party

Walmart Parking Lot



 Next Month's Events


October 6

Insperity Observatory Public Night.

See below.



October 21

Star Party, Back-up Bar-B-Q

O'Brien Dark Site

See below



October 27

General Meeting

Lone Star College

Montgomery Campus!

See below

September 22, 2017


Novice Session

6:30 P.M.

Montgomery Campus!

Building B, Second Floor

Astronomy Classroom

"The Tea Pot is up...Time for a Tea Party with our Cluster Friends"

Presenter, Bruce Pollard, PhD


Main Meeting

7:30 P.M., Lone Star College

Montgomery Campus!

Building B, Room 102

"How do Planets Form?"


Dr. Andrea Isella, Rice University



What's Up Doc?"

by Dr. Aaron Clevenson for next month

will be posted on the NHAC Website.


 >>>>Very Important Special Notice:<<<<


Due to flooding at the Kingwood Campus, we have had to move our meetings to temporary "quarters" at the Montgomery Campus.  I sent the following out in an email earlier this week, but am reprinting here for anyone who may have missed the email.This is long and detailed, but it is the best I could do to pass the information to anyone who has never been to the Montgomery campus:


The campus is located on Highway 242, just west of IH45.  This is basically the north side of The Woodlands.  The LSC Montgomery campus is on the North side of 242.  We will meet in Room B-102.


OK, so we still don't know how to get to the meeting?  I'm going to give it a shot:

Coming from the West, the first entrance to the campus is the second stoplight AFTER passing Gosling.  Turn left onto West Campus Drive and go about a quarter mile, past the open parking lots, and park in the multi-story covered parking garage.  Hang tight, more in a minute.


Coming from the East, from IH45, after a couple of blocks or so there will be a series of 4 entrances to the campus on your right.  The first entrance is Maverick Way.  Do not take that.  Go to the fourth entrance which is named West Campus Drive and turn right.  Go about a quarter mile  past the open parking lots and park in the multi-story covered parking garage.


Now we have both groups, the Westerners and the Easterners in the parking garage.  Whew!!


When you come out of the parking garage towards the campus, the building straight in front of you is the B building.  Recall we are going to have the general meeting in B-102.  Entering the building, you proceed straight ahead until you reach a hallway going off to the right.  There are stairs at this point.  Do not go up these stairs.  Keep going, and  after one more corner and a brief search you will find Room B-102.


Wait a minute!  What about the Novice session?  It happens that will be on the second floor, in the Astronomy Classroom, almost exactly above the meeting Room, B-102.  If you orient yourself to the meeting room, B-102, then you can easily backtrack, go up the stairs in the stair-well, and locate the Astronomy room, which might even be Room B-202.  I just don't remember, but it is effectively over the meeting room.


I plan to hang out at the corner of the parking garage at the bottom of the stair well starting about 6:15 and help folks get going the right direction.


Bruce Pollard sent us this about the food plans:

With our move to LSC Montgomery we loose our snack subsidy but we have a proposal to keep the Subways coming.  It is called pay it forward.  We have received a donation to cover the first meeting.  Now there will be a jar for people who can contribute to put in some cash to pay for the next meeting snacks.  After this month we will see if we have received enough to continue snacks at our usual level.  As usual anyone wanting to help pick up the food will be reimbursed.




1.  The Club Officers for 2017 are:

President --                              Susan Pollard

Vice-President--                        Bruce Pollard

Secretary--                               Margot Moreno

Treasurer--                               David Lambert

Newsletter Editor--                    Rusty Hill

Astronomical League Coord.--   James Barbasso

Webmaster--                            Justin McCollum

Observation Committee Chair-  James Billings

Membership Committee Chair-  Ken Dwight

Program Committee Chair--      Todd Sullivan 


2.  Our Astronomical League Coordinator is Jim Barbasso.

The Astronomical League URL is:


 3.   Follow-up Item:  Spectroscopy at Insperity.


OOPS!  We dented the main body of the spectroscope. Fortunately it seems to be robustly built, and appears to be still functional.  One of the 2 cameras' fans is inop, and needs to be replaced.  When that is done, we will be able to start shooting, and evaluate whether there is anything else we need do before we are ready to start taking and processing images.  There is still lots to learn, though.


If none of this makes any sense, do not feel alone.  There is a good discussion and illustration of  the spectroscope and how it works on pages 5-6 in the Lhires III user guide found at:


Further information is available in the introductory manual by Ken M. Harrison, available from Amazon, entitled "Grating Spectroscopes and How to Use Them".


If you would like to join our working group or simply learn something about Spectroscopy, let me know by email and I will include you in my group emails.


4.  For all members, please remember to pick up your Name Badge before the meeting, wear it, and return it after this meeting so you will still have a name tag at the next meeting.  We do not want any members to be nameless.  This assumes we are able to retrieve the box of name tags from Kingwood-- not a given!


5. The remaining General Meeting Schedule for 2017 is:

September 22

October 20 or 27

November 17

December 15


6.  Ken Dwight has sent us the following.  The exhibit he mentions is open until September 24, so there is a short window to visit:

Webster Presbyterian Church is exhibiting 61 quilts with a NASA / Lunar Missions / Space theme, from now through Sunday, September 24.  This is the church that Buzz Aldrin attended at the time of the Apollo 11 mission, and it is referenced in the description of the quilt titled “Lunar Communion.”  The church’s website gives detailed descriptions of 12 of the quilts, and photos of the remaining 49.  More details here: http://www.websterpresbyorg/VisualArts.

Even from the north side of town, a drive to Webster to see this exhibit should be well worth the effort.  I know nothing about quilts or quilting, but am looking forward to seeing these works of art in person.


7.  The Fall Atascosita Star Party at Walmart, Atascosita, is scheduled to be held on September 30.



 Bar-B-Q Star Party:

September 16, 2017


This is a change to our schedule.  As chaotic as the past month has been, it seems a good idea to have a social event at the O'Brien Dark Site.  Since our last meeting in July, we have had a Solar Eclipse, Hurricane Harvey, a regular general meeting cancellation, flooded Kingwood Campus, and temporarily relocating our meetings to the Montgomery Campus of LSC.  Even if it is cloudy, unless there is rain, this seems to be a good opportunity for us to get together and talk about what we have been doing over the past 6 or 8 weeks.  If any of us get to do some observing, that will be a bonus.  Especially new members, come join us!

James is planning to fire up the grill around 5 or 5:30, and have food ready about 6:00 or so.  As always, any pot luck item you can bring contributes greatly to the event.


Sunset on September 16 will be at 7:27 P.M. and the moon will not rise until 3:24. A.M. It is starting to cool off, so if the weather cooperates, it should be a good evening for observing.


If you are new to the club  this event is especially for you.  We, the members, are the reason we have observing events such as this, and it is a great occasion to get familiar with observing.  We do have 10" Dobsonian scopes available at the Dark Site for your use, and there will be several other scopes available for all to try.  And do bring a Binocular-- you can do lots of successful observing with nothing more.


NHAC Club Policy is that the focus of the Star Parties will be to give as much assistance as possible to new observers.


For those who may not have been to the O'Brien Dark Site, it is just north of Dobbin, which is on Highway 105 west of Montgomery.  It has reasonably dark skies, and a great low horizon in all directions.  The Owners, Tim and Wanda O'Brien are very generous hosts, and they do turn off any outside lights which might bother us, if we remember to ask.


The specific Dark Site location is password protected.  Any club officer can give you the password, but it is


Access to the Dark Site must be requested from the O'Briens in advance.


On our NHAC web site, click on "Observing" then select "O'Brien Dark Site".  Scroll down to the O'Brien Dark Site information and look for the "detailed directions" link.  You will need to enter the password.  There are maps as well as directions.  It is well worth the drive, which is about 6 or 7 minutes driving time North of Dobbin off of State Highway 105 west of Montgomery.


Star Parties are routinely scheduled for the Saturday on, just before, or just after the New Moon throughout the year.  This is to provide the best opportunity for dark skies.

The anticipated schedule for the remaining 2017 Star Parties, subject to change, is:

September 16

October 21 (BBQ)

November 18

December 16

NHAC is a proud member of:

Astronomical League/NASA Night Sky Network/International Dark-Sky Association

Insperity Observatory, Humble I.S.D.

Public Night will be on Friday, October 6, 2017

Sunset will be at  7:00 P.M.  The moon will rise at 8:02 P.M.  The terminator should be striking in the large telescopes at the Observatory.  Jupiter is gone in the evening, and visible in the early morning.  But Saturn should be nice viewing. The rings are still open at 27° degrees, so the view is very good.


Doors will be open by about 6:45 P.M. and remain open to the public until 10:00 P.M.


These Public Nights are a tremendous opportunity for us to be a part of Astronomy Outreach, and also to observe with scopes we might never get to use, otherwise.  The Observatory has a 16" and a 20" telescope. We have recently aquired a 5" Takahashi refractor, a very high quality observing and imaging instrument.  Each is computer controlled, which provide awesome views of the sky.  There are usually about 75 guests, sometimes more, on Public Night, with several repeating.  Our guests are very appreciative of the opportunity to enjoy and also expose their kids to Astronomy.  Then after all our guests have departed, several of us usually stay for a while and enjoy the views and each other's company.


The Observatory is about 3/4 of a mile south of Will Clayton Parkway on S. Houston Ave, just north of Rankin Road in Humble, in the back part of the Jack Fields Elementary School on the East side of S. Houston Ave.  For information, see the web site or the address below.


Dates and times are subject to change.


The Insperity Observatory is at:

Jack Fields Elementary School

2505 S. Houston Ave.

Humble, TX 77396


The Observatory Phone number is 281-641-STAR.


The North Houston Astronomy Club (NHAC), was formed for educational and scientific purposes, for people of all races, creeds, ethnic backgrounds and sex, for the primary purpose of developing and implementing programs designed to increase the awareness and knowledge of astronomy, especially for those living near the north side of Houston Texas.

NHAC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the opportunity for all individuals to pursue the science of astronomy, by observing in a dark-sky site, learning the latest technology, and sharing their knowledge and experience. Thus, our “Observe-Learn-Share” motto.

North Houston Astronomy Club is Sponsored by:

 Membership Benefits

Discounts on Purchases at Land, Sea and Sky.  Be sure to identify yourself as an NHAC member.

Loaner Telescopes after being a member for 6 months.

Opportunity to observe from Dark Sky Observing Sites.

Learn from Experienced Observers.

Astronomy Magazine subscriptions at a discount.

Membership in the Astronomical League, with multiple Observing Clubs available.

Included subscription to the Astronomical League magazine "Reflector".

Access to the NHAC Library

Observe - Learn - Share

The North Houston Astronomy Club is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by Lone Star College-Kingwood, dedicated to increasing the awareness and knowledge of the science of astronomy. Public meetings are normally held each month on the fourth Friday.  In the months of October, November and December they are usually rescheduled for the third Friday of each month, so as to not conflict with the Annual All Clubs meeting, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

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