November 2013

Volume XIII, No. 11

 This coming Month's  events:

November 22 -- General Meeting, Kingwood College

November 30-- Regular Star Party O'Brien Dark Site

December 6-- Insperity Observatory Public Night

December 20-- Regular General Meeting, Kingwood College

(Note 3rd Friday due to Christmas schedule)

December 28- Regular Star Party O'Brien Dark Site

Please see below for more information.

November 22, 2013

Novice Program

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

This month's topic is "Astrophotographry for Beginners",

presented by Dr. Aaron Clevenson

Regular General Meeting

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

Featured Speaker  Ramkumar Balasubramanian

Title: "Space Weather-- What We Know"

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


1.  The annual election of Club Officers will be held at the General Meeting on December 20 at Kingwood College.  With thanks to Joe Wagner as the Nominating Committee, the current slate of candidates (volunteers) is:

President--                              George Marsden

Vice-President                           --------

Secretary--                              Susan Pollard

Treasurer-                               David Lambert

Newsletter Editor--                   Rusty Hill

Astronomical League Coord.--   James Barbasso

Webmaster--                           Jamie Martin

Observation Committee Chair    James Billings

Membership Committee Chair    Stuart Davenport

Program Committee Chair           ---------         

Please notice there are no nominees (volunteers) for the positions of Vice-President nor Program Committee Chair.

The Vice-President schedules the Novice Session topics and speakers.  Perhaps someone who has been in the club since May who enjoys the Novice Sessions would like to volunteer for this position.  Just think:  You could schedule topics throughout the year which you would really, really like to hear about.

The same is true of the Program Committee Chair.  This officer schedules the monthly General Meeting Speakers.  Again anyone who has been in the Club since May is eligible, and would be able to contact and schedule speakers for the General Meeting.

These two positions are very important to the Club's activities.  Please consider volunteering for one or the other.


2.   Our Astronomical League Coordinator is Jim Barbasso.  The Astronomical League website is

Please see the ALCor section below for more.


3.  (a)  The Comet Report is available online.

     (b)  You might enjoy this article about Comet                  ISON.


4.  Name Badges: 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. We welcome all new our 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 the Regular Star Party on November 30 at the O'Brien Dark Site.  There will also be a regular Star Party on December 29. Please see below.  We look forward to seeing you.


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

Star Party November 30 and December 28, 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.  Sunset on Nov. 30 will be at 5:22 PM.

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, 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 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:

 Any time of year is a good time for observing the heavens, but with cooler and drier nights developing during the fall, the night sky becomes much clearer.   Now, is a great time for novices or anyone else to begin an observation program.  You must dress appropriately for the sudden drop in temperature after sundown.  It is amazing how cold you get in the evening: once your cold, your c-o-l-d.  Any seasoned observer will attest to that!  A thermos of hot coffee or preferred liquid – nonalcoholic, can become your best friend quickly.

  Some recent new Observation Programs have been added:

The Occultation Program teaches you how to observe occultations; the Hydrogen Alpha Solar Observing Program  in addition to the existing Sunspotter Observing Program and will educate you on the finer aspects of our Sun.   You will need an H-alpha filter for this one.  Stellar Evolution is another new program.   To find out more details, go to and look for observing clubs on the right hand side of the web page or click on this link  Please note the new programs may not be on the list, yet, for those you can click on the links above in this paragraph.

  At every club meeting, observation awards are presented to those who successfully completed an Astronomical League observation club.  You must be a member in good standing to receive an award.

Congratulations to the following:

   October Meeting: Aaron Clevenson Southern Planetary Nebula (regular) – Aaron Clevenson, Stellar Evolution – Aaron Clevenson.

   August Meeting: Outreach Award – David Schmidt, Loyd Overcash, Michael Kramer, Rusty Hill, Thomas Fox.  Stellar level – Todd Sullivan Dan Gava, Eric  Kuo, Jim and Julie Barbasso, Bruce Pollard, Master level – Dave Tomlin and Dave Clark.

See you at the November 22nd NHAC meeting.


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*

December 6, 2013. Sunset at 5:14 P.M.

Doors open at 5:00 to 5:15 P.M..

Open to 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 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 fellow Astronomers;

I have a personal plea:  We need 2 Astronomers with an interest in the Club Activities to volunteer for the 2 positions without nominees for Officer positions:  Vice-President, and Program Committee Chair.  The heart of our club is educational programs for observers and any members who wish to learn more about Astronomic subjects.  These Novice and General Meeting programs do not occur without speakers being scheduled.

If you appreciate these programs and would like to contribute to the Club, please consider volunteering for one of these positions.

See you on 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.