October 2017

Volume XVII Number 10


This Month's Upcoming events


October 20

General Meeting

Lone Star College,

Montgomery Campus

Note this change!

Do not go to Kingwood!

See below!


October 21

Star Party

O'Brien Dark Site



Next Month's Events


November 3

Insperity Observatory Public Night.

See below.


November 17

Lone Star College

Montgomery Campus!

See below.


November 18

Star Party

O'Brien Dark Site

See below.

October 20, 2017

Please note the changed location below!


Novice Session

6:30 P.M.

Montgomery Campus!

Building B, Second Floor

Astronomy Classroom, Room 203


Looking into the Milky Way


Bruce Pollard, PhD, NHAC


Main Meeting

7:30 P.M., Lone Star College

Montgomery Campus!

Building B, Room 102


What's Up With Gravitational Waves?

Presented by:

Dr. Aaron Clevenson, PhD, NHAC


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 State 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 on SH 242 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.  Make the right turn, but do not go up these stairs.   Keep going, and  after one more right corner and a brief search you will find Room B-102 where we will have the Main Meeting at 7:30 P.M.


Wait a minute!  What about the Novice session at 6:30 P.M.?  It happens that will be on the second floor, in the Astronomy Classroom, Room 203, 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 next to B-102, and locate the Astronomy room, 203.


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 (maybe a hat?) 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 normal 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: https://www.astroleague.org/


3.   Follow-up Item:  Spectroscopy at Insperity.

Our current endeavor is learning the R-Spec processing program to assist one of Aaron's honors program students with her honors spectroscopy project.

For the time being we have put the Lhires III spectroscope project on hold as well as the ISIS processing program until after we get the honors student and her project to a successful conclusion.  Bruce and I are working almost exclusively on this particular project.


For those interested in learning about Amateur Spectroscopy using an effective but inexpensive grating filter, further information is available in the introductory manual by Ken M. Harrison, available from Amazon, entitled "Grating Spectroscopes and How to Use Them".  It is detailed, and is a very useful learning tool.

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.


5. The remaining General Meeting Schedule for 2017 is:

October 20

November 17

December 15


6.  It is that time of the year, again:  Time to consider and elect our Officers for 2018.  Please do consider whether you are interested in helping out at one of the positions listed above.  We are a member directed and operated club.  Especially if you believe there is something that we could or should be doing better, please help make it happen!  Any club member who will have been a member for a year as of January 1, 2018, is qualified to be an officer.


 Star Party:

October 21, 2017

Sunset on October 21 will be at 6:45 P.M. and the moon will be setting at 8:20 P.M.  The moon will only be 2 days past New Moon, so will be just a sliver hanging low above the horizon.  It makes a good picture for those interested.


In the early evening the Summer Triangle (Altair, Deneb and Vega) is almost straight overhead in the early evening.  To its east the Great Square of Pegasus is high, and the Andromeda Galaxy is well up. To the north Cassopeia is easily seen, and the Double Cluster to its south is very pretty.  Due south Saggitarius (the Teapot) is still just above the horizon, and Saturn is visible to the southwest.


Around midnight Orion is up, and Sirius rises about an hour after Orion.


It has been cooling 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:

October 21

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, November 3, 2017

Sunset will be at  6:43 P.M.  The moon will be effectively full and will be well up for at least part of the evening.  Saturn should be nice viewing for a while after sunset. The rings are still open at 27° degrees, so the view is very good.  Weather permitting, the Cassini Division is quite apparent.


Doors will be open by about 6:30 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 5" Takahashi refractor, a 16" Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain, and a 20" Plane Wave telescope.  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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