December 2013

Volume XIII, No. 12

 This coming Month's  events:

December 20-- General Meeting, Kingwood College

December 28-- Regular Star Party O'Brien Dark Site

January 3, 2014-- Insperity Observatory Public Night

January 24, 2014-- Regular General Meeting, Kingwood College

January 25, 2014-- Star Party O'Brien Dark Site

Please see below for more information.


2014 General Meeting Schedule

January 24

February 28

March 28

April 25

May 23

June 27

July 25

August 22

September 26

October 24

November 21 note: third Friday

December 19 note: third Friday

December 20, 2013

Novice Program

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

This month's topic is "How Far Away is That?",

presented by Dr. Aaron Clevenson

Regular General Meeting

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


We will have BarBeQued Beef and Turkey for the main dishes.  The Appetizers, Side Dishes and Desserts will be Pot Luck, so please bring an item to share.


The Main Presentation will be a "Member Medley", featuring:

Mary Moore-- Mars Update

David Lambert-- Practical Dob Use

Bruce Pollard-- Astronomy Distance Measurement

Ken Dwight-- Computer Safeguards, special to Club Activity


What’s Up Doc?” by Aaron Clevenson for the month of December 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--                       Desiree Carmona

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         OPEN!      

I want to caution the general membership:  This person "OPEN" has not been paying dues, and does not care at all if we have Club Programs.  The current Club Officers and Committee Chairmen are prevented by the Club By-Laws from occupying more than one position.  We need a non-Officer/Board Chairman to step up into this position.  Incidentally, the Board Chairmen are members of the Executive Board, so here is your chance to join the Executive Board and help run the Club.


2.  2014 Executive Board Meetings:

January 8

March 12

May 14

July 9

September 10

November 12

All Executive Board meetings are open to any members in good standing.


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

4.  The Comet Report is available online.  


5.  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.


6.  We welcome all 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.


7.  The Texas Star Party, one of the Nation's premier Astronomy Events, will be held at the Prude Ranch, near Ft. Davis and the McDonald Observatory in West Texas on May 25 - June 1, 2014.  Lodge rooms, Rv sites, and Tent camping are all available.  There is a limit of 500 Astronomers, so a drawing will be held among all applications.  To be considered in the drawing an application must be submitted by January 22, 2014, at:

Information about activities is at

Star Party December 28 and January 25, 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 December 28 will be at 5:31 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.

 2014 Star Party Schedule

January 25

March 1-- BarBeQue

March 29-- Messier Marathon

April 26

May 24-- BarBeQue

June 21

July 26

August 23

September 20

October 18-- BarBeQue

November 22

December 20



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:

2014 Public Nights*

January 3, 2014  Sunsets at 5:34 P.M.

Doors will open at 5:15-5:20 and remain open to the public until 10:00 P.M.

Remaining 2014 Insperity Public nights are projected to be:

February 7

March 7

April 4

May 2

June 6

July 4-- might be moved

August 1

September 5

October 3

November 7

December 5

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


Rusty's Ramblings...

Hi Everyone.

The most important item is the Club need for a Program Chairman.  If you want to contribute to the success of the Club, this is your chance.

Observing for the past month for me has been dismal.  Weather, you know.

I will be out of town with family on December, and will miss the General Meeting.  I will also be out of town with family during the Star Party on December 28.

I should be at the Insperity Public Night on January 3, weather permitting.  I want to encourage everyone to come on out and see what thte Public Nights are all about.  They are fun, and we have met several of our more active members when they came to a Public Night and learned about the Club for the first time.

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.