December 2018

Volume XVIII Number 12


This Month's Upcoming Events


December 14

General Meeting

Lone Star College,

Montgomery Campus

Do not go to the Kingwood Campus!

See below!


Next Month's Events


January 4

Insperity Observatory Public Night.

See below.


January 5

Star Party/BBQ

O'Brien Dark Site

See below.


January 25

General Meeting

Campus to be determined

See below.


December 14


6:30 P.M.

There will be no novice session.  The general meeting will start at 6:30 in Room B-102, the main auditorium where we regularly meet.

This is our traditional December Holiday potluck dinner.  Bar-Be-Que meat will be furnished.  Please feel free to bring an appetizer, vegetable, side dish or dessert.

We will have the election of officers for 2019.


We will also be having an unusual event, centered around Mythical, Historical or Current figures in the fields of Astronomy (or Astrology if someone wishes), Astrophysics,  Astrobiology or Physics, non-Astronomy related.  Anyone can come as and present a talk or act "by" whomever he or she has chosen to "represent".  If you have any favorite "character" whom you would like to have present at the meeting, please let Jesse Roberts or me (Rusty) know so one of us can add your "character" to the list.

Costumes are welcome.

There will be prizes for participants.

The following "characters" are expected to be present at the meeting:

>Sir Isaac Newton

>Santa Claus

>Neil Armstrong

>Henrietta Leavitt

>Stanley Miller.

More "characters" would be welcome.


"What's Up Doc?"

 for next month

by Dr. Clevenson

will be posted on the NHAC Website.



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


Due to Hurricane Harvey flood damage at the LSC Kingwood Campus, we moved our meetings to temporary "quarters" at the Lone Star College Montgomery Campus.


>>>> We anticipate that the LSC Kingwood campus will reopen sometime in 2019 and our meetings may again be held there.  The January 2019 meeting site is yet to be determined.  Stay tuned! <<<<


The Montgomery Campus is located on State Highway 242, just west of IH45.  We meet in Room B-102 on the ground floor of Bldg. B, adjacent to the Parking Garage on the west end of the Montgomery Campus, at the back corner.


Novice Sessions are held in Room B-203, on the second floor almost exactly above Room  B-102.


Another Special Note:


At the General Meeting on November 16, we announced a new dues structure, effective April 16, 2019. 

Fundamentally, it will be:

Students $10

Individuals $30

Family Groups $40





1.  The Club Officers for 2018 are:

President --                              Susan Pollard

Vice-President--                        Bruce Pollard

Secretary--                               Mike Comeaux

Treasurer--                               Joana Tan

Newsletter Editor--                    Rusty Hill

Astronomical League Coord.--    Aaron Clevenson

Webmaster--                            Justin McCollum

Observation Committee Chair--  James Billings

Membership Committee Chair--  Carlos Gramajo

Program Committee Chair---      Vacant


2.  Our Astronomical League Coordinator is Dr. Aaron Clevenson.  The Astronomical League URL is:


A recent addition to the Observing Programs from the AL includes the Master Observer Progression.  It has 6 levels, and is designed to provide a road-map and recognition from novice through expert. It starts with the Observer Award for the newbees.  After you complete 5 introductory level Observing Programs, you will be recognized.  Master Observer is for those attaining 10 certifications.  It goes up from there through Advanced Observer, Master Observer - Silver, Master Observer - Gold, and Master Observer - Platinum.  There is also a new Binocular Master Observer for those who prefer binocular observations.  Check out the Astronomical League website:


The more experienced members of your astronomy club are here to help you start your journey.  If I can help, please email me: <>


3.   Follow-up Item:  Spectroscopy at Insperity.

For those interested in learning about Spectroscopy, Dr. Bruce Pollard, PhD, NHAC, is our expert.  There is an ongoing program to develop the Spectroscopy program at Insperity,  and Bruce is a very effective teacher.


If you would like to do hands-on 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. 


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.  There will be a regularly scheduled meeting of the new Executive Board held on January 21 at the Insperity Observatory at 7:00 P.M.  All members in good standing are welcome to attend.


6. The final General Meeting for 2018 is on December 14.


Meetings in 2019 will be:

January 25

February 22

March 22

April 26

May 24

June 28

July 26

August 23

September 27

October 25

November 15

December 13


Star Party

January 5, 2019


In January  the Star Party is one day before the New Moon.   Sunset will be 5:36 P.M.  The moon will set at 5:29 P.M.

In addition to the Star Party, we are going to try to have a Bar-Be-Que. If the weather is good, it will be a good evening for eating, socializing, viewing, and maybe for imaging.  My anticipation is that the serving for the BBQ will start around 4 P.M.


January is sort of a transition month.


Early in the evening you will be able to see Lyra, with Vega and M57, to the southwest, as well as Cygnus, with Deneb and M29, both of which are part of the Summer Triangle.  Altair in Aquila, the third star of the Summer Triangle, will still be visible, though not for long.


At the same time Orion will be up in the East, together with Gemini, announcing the arrival of winter.  Sirius in Canis Major will not be far behind.


Pegasus and Andromeda will be pretty much overhead, and M31 should be an easy catch.  Not far from M31, towards Triangulum, is M33, somewhat challenging to see.  It is one of those face on galaxies, with its features spread out over a large area, making it look dim.  The  Pleiades, M45, will be overhead, slightly to the East.


To the north, the Double Cluster is easily seen between Perseus and Cassiopeia with a binocular.


Special Note:  There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse on the evening of January 20, visible from our area between 10:41 P.M. and 11:44 P.M.


If you are new to the club these events are especially for you.  We, the members, are the reason we have observing Star Parties, and they are great occasions to get familiar with observing.  We  have 10" Dobsonian telescopes

available at the Dark Site for your use. There will also 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.


New moon and planned Star Party Dates for 2019 are:


New Moon                 BBQ?                        Star Party

January 5                  YES                          January 5

February 4                                                February 2

March 6                                                    March 9

April 5                                                      April 6

May 4                                                       May 4

June 3                                                      June 1

July 2  Note:  July has two New Moons.       June 29(?)

July 31                                                     July 27

August 30                                                 August 31

September 28                                           September 28

October 27                                               October 26

November 26                                            Nov. 23 (?)

December 25                                            TBA

NHAC is a proud member of:

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

Public Night will be on Friday,

January 4, 2019


Sunset will be at  5:35 P.M.  The moon sets at 4:40 P.M. and will not be a factor.


Doors will be open by about 5:15 P.M. and remain open to the public until 10:00.


These Public Nights are a great 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, and provides an awesome view of the sky.  There are usually about 75 to 100 guests, sometimes more, on Public Night, with many repeating.  Our guests are very appreciative of the opportunity to enjoy the sky 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.  This may be an excellent chance to see

Mars in a big scope!


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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