September 2013

Volume XIII, No. 9

 This Month's coming events:

September 27 -- General Meeting, Kingwood College

October 5--Star Party O'Brien Dark Site

October 4 -- Insperity Observatory Public Night

Please see below for more information.

September 27, 2013

Novice Program

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

The September topic is "Lunar Observing",

presented by Dr. Aaron Clevenson

Main Presentation

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

Dr. WIlliam Leach, "The Local Group in 3D"

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


1.  The Star Party on September 28 is cancelled, due to its close scheduling with the Star Party on October 5.  Any NHAC members wishing to schedule the O'Brien Dark Site for September 28 or any other time are welcome to do so, with of course the usual 24 hour lead time for the request.


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

Please see the ALCor section below for more.


3.The visit from the Channel 39 Television crew to the Inspeirty Observatory was a big success.  Thanks to all who were part of it.


4. The Comet Report is now available online.


5.  The Star Party schedule for November will be somewhat different.  November 2 will be our normal New Moon Star Party.  November 9 will be a Special Event "Moon-B-Que" Lunar Party with a Cookout by Moonlight.  And then the normal cycle of New Moon Star Parties will resume on November 30.


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 October 5 at the O'Brien Dark Site.  Please see below.  We look forward to seeing you.


7.  There is a Kingwood community web site which tells folks about our club:, go to events, then select educational.


8.  We are approaching the end of the year when we elect new officers for the coming year.  To make this an effective process we need a nominating committee to consider the best interests of the club membership.  All members are invited to be part of the committee.  Nominees will be announced at the November 22 meeting, and the election of the 2014 Officers will be at the December 27 meeting.

Star Party October 5, 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 on October 5 will be about 7:03 PM, so dark observing will start around 7:30 or 7:45 P.M. if weather permits.

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.

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.

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

Astronomical League Coordinator,

Jim Barbasso

A Message from the AlCor:


Periodically, I received updates from the Astronomical League (AL) President, Carroll Iorg.

The latest edition of the “What’s Up With the Astronomical League” ALCor newsletter is now posted on the (AL) website.

  This issue includes:

1.       A reminder about the September 6 night launch of LADDE which will be visible on the Atlantic seaboard.

2.       A report from the recent League award presentations at the Grand Rapids, WI Public Museum.

3.       Information regarding a southeastern region organizational meeting scheduled for October 30-November 3 at the Deep South Regional Star Gaze.

4.       An update from the 1st planning meeting of the ALCon 2017/Total Solar Solar Eclipse committee in Casper.

5.       A report from Stellafane 2013 where a presentation of the League’s Webmaster Award and the Northeast region’s Walter Scott Houston Award occurred.

6.       A call for a request of League members to loan us Reflector copies for scanning the four  issues that will complete the archiving project for all Reflectors from 1949 forward.

If you need further information please visit the Astronomical League website,


Astronomy Day at the George Observatory is quickly approaching. Astronomy Day 2013 will be held Saturday, October 12, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the George Observatory, satellite facility of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located in Brazos Bend State Park, one hour southwest of Houston.

The annual Astronomy Day event offers numerous activities for adults and kids of all ages:

·         Indoor and Outdoor Presentations starting at 4:00 p.m.

·         Challenger Center Flight Simulations

·         Safe Solar Observing of Sunspots and Prominences

·         Domed Telescopes and Amateur Telescopes to View the Night Skies

·         Face Painting and Astronomy Buttons for the Kids

·         Advice on How to Get Started in Astronomy

·         How to Purchase and Use Telescopes

·         Free Material on Astronomy and Deep Space exploration

·         Meet Amateur Astronomers from Local Astronomy Clubs

·         Indoor Displays

·         Deck scopes available for public viewing

·         36” dome telescope – obtain tickets at the observatory, presently unavailable.

For more information please visit the website at,, and  Under “Regional All Clubs Meeting” you will find information on the annual all clubs meeting.  All are welcomed.

The Region All Clubs Meeting will be at Houston Museum of Natural Science - Arnold Space Hall, 1 Hermann Circle Drive, Houston 77002 on Friday, October 11, 2013


Clear Skies,

Jim Barbasso –NHAC-ALCor



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

NHAC is a proud member of:

2013 Public Nights*

October 4, Doors Open at7:15 PM

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: Here is a NASA web site URL concerning the Voyager Mission which has now officially left the Solar System and is in Interstellar Space: 

This is a neat, readable article, with some good illustrations-- well worth your time.  It is an historical landmark event.


As we get into fall, the days are getting shorter, and the nights longer.  This of course gives us more hours of observing.  The night is already more than 2 hours longer than it was in June.Hopefully this translates into more productive observing.

Do mark your calendars for the Star Parties, especially for the November 9 "Cookout by Moonlight"


Clear Skies,


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 after being a member for 6 months
  • 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.