October 2013

Volume XIII, No. 10

 This coming Month's  events:

October 25 -- General Meeting, Kingwood College

November 1-- Insperity Observatory Public Night

November 2-- Regular Star Party O'Brien Dark Site

November 9-- Special Event, Moon-B-Que, Cookout by Moonlight, O'Brien Dark Site

November 30- Regular Star Party O'Brien Dark Site

Please see below for more information.

October 25, 2013

Novice Program

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

The topic is "Observing the Sun",

presented by Dr. Aaron Clevenson

Regular General Meeting

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

Featured Speaker Ken Dwight

"20th-century Amateur Astronomer Ted Komorowski"

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


1.   Our Astronomical League Coordinator is Jim Barbasso.  The Astronomical League website is http://www.astroleague.org/

Please see the ALCor section below for more.

2.  The Comet Report is now available online.

3.  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.

4.  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.

5. We welcome a large group of new members who have joined us since June 1:

Brandon DeBlaw                          Shanna Deering
Helen Dorsi                                 Kenneth Drake
John Fu                                      Angel Hardy
Darrel and April Jenkins

Andrew Johnson + Family
Kurt Johnson                              Bernard Koudelka
John Lane                                   Fred Lazor
James Lindsay                             Jason Michelli
David Naylor                                Jan Porter
Steve Shelton + family                 Ahmad Siddiqi
Mohammad Siddiqi                       Mahammad S. Siddiqi
Bobie "Bob" Townsend II

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 the Regular Star Party in November 2 at the O'Brien Dark Site and don't miss the Cookout by Moonlight, November 9, also at the O'Brien Dark Site.  There will also be a regular Star Party on November 30. Please see below.  We look forward to seeing you.

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


7.  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 November 2 and November 30, 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 November 2 will be around 6:35 PM.  But notice Daylight Savings Time ends on November 3.  For the Cookout by Moonlight on November 9, Sunset will be at 5:30, not 6:30, as you might expect.  On November 30, Central Standard time Sunset will be at 5:22.  So plan arrival and setup times accordingly.

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, astroleague.org.     

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*

November 1, Doors open at 6:45 to 7:00

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:  Please notice the end of Daylight Savings Time on the morning of November 3.  Not only do you set your clocks backwards 1 hour, the Sun also sets 1 hour earlier in case you are looking at your clock.  This will mean you need to get to the O'Brien Dark Site in time for Sunset to be about 6:35 on November 2 for the regular Star Party, but for the Moon-B-Que sunset will be at 5:30, not 6:30, if you have properly set your clocks back by 1 hour on November 3.

I am looking forward very much to Aaron's presentation on Astrophotography for Beginners at the Novice Session this coming Friday just before the General Meeting.  I have just started taking some "baby steps" with a Digital SLR, and know I will be hearing things I need to know about.

See you at the Novice Session this Friday.

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.