AUGUST 2013

Volume XIII, No. 8

 This Month's coming events:

August 23 -- General Meeting, Kingwood College

August 31--Star Party O'Brien Dark Site

September 6 -- Insperity Observatory Public Night

Please see below for more information.

August 23, 2013


Novice Program

 6:30 - 7:15pm in the Cosmic Forum, upstairs in the CLA building.

The August Topic will be "Filters and Eyepieces", presented by Dr. Aaron Clevenson

Main Presentation

Beginning at 7:30pm in the building CLA Teaching Theater

Dr. Aaron Clevenson will present "Things that go Bump in the Night-- Cosmic Calamities."

August 23 also presents us with a special opportunity:

Andrea Waguespack from NewFix's Subculture segment will be visiting our meeting.  Following the meeting they will continue at the Insperity Observatory.  There is a possibility that there may be some television coverage, so a good turnout is important. We especially desire a good turnout at the Insperity Observatory immediately after the meeting at the Kingwood Campus.

What’s Up Doc?” by Aaron Clevenson for the month of September will be posted on the Website.

 Notices 

1.  Please note that there will be a second August Star Party on August 31.  This will indeed be a Saturday on or just before the New Moon, which will fall on the morning of September 5.  August 31 should be a very good observing night, if the weather cooperates.

 

2.  Our Astronomical League Coordinator, Jim Barbasso, reminds us that Astronomy Day for 2013 will be on October 12, with the All Clubs meeting the evening before on October 11.  The Astronomical League website is http://www.astroleague.org/

Please see the ALCor section below for more.

 

3.  NHAC members are now eligible for a discount on purchases at Land, Sea & Sky. Be sure to make your NHAC membership known when making a purchase.

 

4. The Comet Report is now available online.

 

5.  Ken Dwight has provided us an article giving information on cleaning a telescope mirror.  This sounds like one of those chores which has to be addressed from time to time.  I am keeping this Notice on the Newsletter for a while because it is full of good information on cleaning the mirrors.

 

6.  Name Badges: For all members, please remember to pick up your Name Badge before the meeting, wear it, and return it after the meeting so you will still have a name at the next meeting.  We do not want any members to be nameless.

 

6. To all new members:

We are glad you have chosen to join us.  Please do come to the Novice and General Meetings, and come out to the Dark Site as well.  We are definitely an observing club.  Our next Star Party is August 31 at the O'Brien Dark Site.  Please see below.  We look forward to seeing you.

Star Party August 31, 2013

The Board of Directors has decided the focus of the Star Parties will be to give as much assistance as possible to new observers.  Sundown in August will be about 8:20 PM, so dark observing will start around 9 P.M. or a little after.

For the Star Party itself, the plan continues to be for a number of the more experienced observers to attend each of the Star Parties, with telescopes, so we "novices" will know there is someone who is planning to be at the Star Party with equipment and the desire to share knowledge.

For those who may not have been to the O'Brien Dark Site, it is just north of Dobbin 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 cooperative hosts, and they do turn off any outside lights which might bother us.

The actual Dark Site location is password protected.  Any officer can give you the password, but it is NOT FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

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 10 minutes after you leave Dobbin going north.

Normally Aaron Clevenson, James Billings, and likely Bruce Pollard  are there to offer assistance to any who wish it.  There are several other experienced observers who are there from time to time, as schedules permit.  I (Rusty) will be there on August 31, but I am one of the lesser experienced observers.   I do make up for it with enthusiasm, however!

Star Parties are routinely scheduled for the Saturday on or just before the New Moon throughout the year.  This is to provide the best opportunity for dark skies.  In the month of August please notice there is a second Star Party on August 31.  In September the Star Party will be September 28.

Inclement weather, of course, can force Star Party cancellation or postponement.

Astronomical League Coordinator,

Jim Barbasso

A Message from the AlCor:

  One of the benefits of becoming a member of the North Houston Astronomy Club is that you automatically become a member of the Astronomic League.  This organization promotes astronomy to the general public and astronomy community.  On the home page of the Astronomical League Website, on the right hand side, are lists of Observation Clubs.  The purpose of these clubs is to provide an opportunity to hone a person’s observation skills, as well as, gain knowledge in a particular area of astronomy.   As a benefit of being a member of the Astronomical League, you are eligible to receive an award upon completion of one of these Observation Clubs.  You receive a certificate, suitable for framing and usually a pin, with the name of the observation club on it.  I encourage anyone of our observational astronomers in the club, who are looking for something to challenge them to try at least one of these observation clubs.   That’s what our club is all about, to observe, learn, and share.

  On a separate note, Astronomy Day is October 12 at the George Observatory at Brazos Bend State Park.  The "All Clubs Meeting" is at the Houston Museum of Natural History, at the edge of Hermann Park.  For anyone who has not been to this, I encourage you to come and enjoy some time with fellow Astronomers from the local astronomy clubs in the Houston area.  Below is an edited note from the coordinators of A-Day:

Folks:

As a reminder:   Astronomy Day 2013 is a few months away and it is time to start planning for the event. 

The All Clubs meeting will be Friday October 11th, and ADAY at the George Observatory will be on Saturday, October 12th, 2013.

The All Clubs meeting is largely set as we have Dr. Reggie Dufour, of Rice University, as our keynote speaker.   This will be in the same location as last year in Arnold Hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, near Hermann Park.

Again, we'd ask that notes concerning ADAY not be forwarded to untrustworthy individuals not on this Netslyder.

David Haviland & David Louw
ADAY Organizers

CALL FOR DOOR PRIZE ITEMS: 

                     
DOOR PRIZE AND MAGAZINE SAMPLES

The Membership Committee DOOR PRIZE segment of our general meetings
is being received quite well.  So keep your outgrown astro items coming
while refining your own collection.  If you do win a prize you won't use, bring it back for a future drawing. 

In addition,  we will be trying the "gifting" of past copies of Reflector, Astronomy and Sky&Tel magazines primarily as samples for new members.  If you have fairly recent past copies of these publications that you can spare, bring them in to the Membership Committee.
 
......George Marsden

Upcoming NHAC Meeting Schedule

   July 26 and August 23

NHAC is a proud member of:

2013 Public Nights*

September 6, 8:00 PM

October 4

November 1

December 6

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 see, otherwise.  The Observatory has a 16" and a 20" telescope, each computer controlled, which provide awesome views of the sky.  There are typically 30 or 40 guests at the Public Night, several repeating, who are very appreciative of the opportunity to expose their kids to Astromony, and who enjoy the observing in their own experience, as well.  And then after all our guests have departed, several of us usually stay for a while and enjoy the views.  I (Rusty) have seen more detail on Jupiter from the Insperity Observatory than at any other time or place.

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 Humble Elementary School on the East side of S. Houston Ave.

For information, see the web site.

 

*Dates and times are subject to change.

The Insperity Observatory at Humble ISD, 2505 S. Houston Ave., Humble, TX 77396 281-641-STAR

Rusty's Ramblings...

Hi Folks:  Last month I mentioned planning to talk about my experience with the Binocular Double Star Program.  It is not really so dramatic. In spite of the many advantages of this program, it is challenging.  The individual star pairs are bright enough to be seen in a decent  binocular, but the problem is that with a binocular I can see so many more stars than with my naked eye that I easily get disoriented.  And I find it challenging to know exactly which bright star I am looking at through the binocular.

The answer for me seems to be to know that the field of view through this particular binocular is 5 degrees.  This of course allows me to "field hop" from a known easily identified bright star to my target, after I have figured out just how many degrees and in what direction my target lies.  This of course parallels the "field hopping" method I described in May, June and July Ramblings.  It does of course require a decent set of sky charts, and I continue to like the Sky and Telescope Pocket Atlas for this purpose.

New Subject:  I totally missed the Perseids this year.  I was in Sitka, Alaska, on vacation.  That far north, Sol never gets very far below the horizon, so the darkness does not become very complete.  Combine that with a small town surrounded by mountains or the ocean and no way to get away from the lights of town, even without the persistent humidity it was not inviting observing.  But the 9x63 binocular I took was great for looking at wildlife!  And the fishing was excellent!

Maybe next year I will plan my vacation dates with an eye to the Perseids.

Or not....

I expect to be at the August 23 General meeting and the Insperity event right after.  I guess I need to find my pair of bluejeans without holes!

I should also be at the Star Party August 31.

Clear Skies,

Rusty

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 & Sky. Be sure to make your NHAC membership known when making a purchase.
  • Loaner telescopes
  • Observe from Dark Sky Observing Sites
  • Learn from experienced amateur astronomers
  • Share your knowledge at club hosted picnics and star parties
  • Discount magazine subscriptions (contact our Treasurer)
  • Includes membership in the Astronomical League
  • The quarterly Astronomical League magazine “Reflector”
  • Borrow from the NHAC “Library”
  • Eligibility for NHAC Executive Board

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 held each month on the fourth Friday.