Volume XVII Number 12 


This Month's Upcoming events


December 15

General Meeting

Annual Election of Officers

Lone Star College,

Montgomery Campus

Note this change!

Do not go to Kingwood!

See below!


December 16

Star Party

O'Brien Dark Site


Next Month's Events


January 5, 2018

Insperity Observatory Public Night.

See below.


January 26,2018

Lone Star College

Montgomery Campus!

See below.


January 13, 2018

Star Party

O'Brien Dark Site

See below.

December 15, 2017

Please note the changed location below!


Novice Session

6:30 P.M.

Montgomery Campus!

Building B, Second Floor

Astronomy Classroom, Room 203


"DSLR Astrophotography"

Presented by:

Mr. Robert Brayton, CPP, NHAC

Rob will be using the Great Orion Nebula, M42, as his model in discussing using your DSLR .



Main Meeting

7:30 P.M., Lone Star College

Montgomery Campus!

Building B, Room 102

This meeting will be a pot luck dinner, and also the election of officers for 2018. NHAC will bring the BBQ- please bring a dish to share!

Please make this meeting and vote!  We need you to help make it happen!

We are also going to have an equipment give-away table for any of us with 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.


Lecture Subject:

"So Where Are They?  The Search for Intelligent Life"

Presented by:

Dr. Bruce Pollard, 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.  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.



Bruce Pollard sent us this about the food plans:

With our move to LSC Montgomery we lose 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.



I will continue this posting for as long as we continue to meet at the Montgomery Campus, LSC.





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


This meeting will be the annual election of NHAC Officers for the following year, in this case, 2018.  Please make this meeting and help determine who will be fulfilling the various functions necessary for the operation of our Club!


2.  Our Astronomical League Coordinator is Jim Barbasso.

The Astronomical League URL is:


3.   Follow-up Item:  Spectroscopy at Insperity.

There have been no recent Spectroscopy Group emails, due to Bruce Pollard, Aaron Clevenson and my (Rusty)'s preoccupation with the Honors Project with Aaron's student.  This endeavor has led us down several paths as we have learned more about taking spectral images, and processing them with the RSpec program.  This project is just about completed, and we should be getting back to more general Spectroscopy in January.


For those interested in learning about Amateur Spectroscopy using an effective but inexpensive grating filter, 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 full of good information.  I have learned a lot from studying this book.


I have personally been using the 200 line per mm Star Analyzer with my DSLR, and it has also been 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:

December 15


6.  It is that time of the year, again:  Time to consider and elect our Officers for 2018.  That happens this meeting! 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.


7.  Currently planned General Meetings for 2018 are:

January 26

February 23

March 23

April 27

May 25

June 22

July 27

August 24

September 28

October 19 or 26(variable, depending on the Scheduling of A-Day)

November 16

December 14 or 21, depending on a later decision.


   Star Party:

January 13, 2018

Sunset on December 13 will be at 5:43 P.M.  and the moon will be not be rising until well after midnight so "Moonshine" should not be a problem.  Depending on the weather, it could be a very good evening for observing.

At this time of the year, even if the day is pleasantly warm, if will get pretty cool if not downright cold after the sun goes down.  Dress warmly, and bring some sort of hot drinks with you.  You will be glad you have them.

At this time of the year, the Summer Triangle is pretty well gone.  Only Deneb, in Cygnus, will be visible for a short while in the  Northwest.  To make up for that lack, we have the Andromeda Galaxy visible in-- wait for it-- the Andromeda Constellation to the East, and somewhat north.

The Orion Constellation, with the gorgeous Orion Nebula-- M42-- will be spectacular to the East, fairly high in the sky.  Sirius, in Canis Major, will be very bright.  The only easily seen planet will be Mars, mostly overhead, but somewhat to the West.


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 via the NHAC email.  It is only necessary for any 1 member to request access-- Access approved for any of us is access approved for all of us.


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

December 16


2018 New Moon dates, followed by probable Star Party dates, subject to Executive Board approval, are:

January 16, SP on 1/13

February 15, SP on 2/17

March 16, SP on 3/17

April 15, SP on 4/14

May 14, SP on 5/12

June 13, SP on 6/9

July 12, SP on 7/14

August 10, SP on 8/11

September 9, SP on 9/8

October 8, SP on 10/6

November 7, SP on 11/3

December 6, SP on 12/8

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, January 5, 2018


Sunset will be at  5:35 P.M.  The moon will not rise until 9:53 P.M. and will effectively not be in view above the Observatory Walls until after Public Night.


Doors will be open by about 5:15P.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 6" 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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