January, 2016

Volume XVI, Number 1

This Month's  remaining events

January 22 --  General Meeting, Lone Star College,

Kingwood Campus

Next Month's Events

February 5 -- Insperity Observatory Public Night

February 6 -- Star Party O'Brien Dark Site

February 8 -- New Moon

February 26 -- General Meeting, Lone Star College,

Kingwood Campus

January 22, 2016

Novice Program

 6:30 - 7:15pm in the Cosmic Forum, upstairs in the CLA building, Lone Star College, Kingwood Campus.


"Pleides and Thank You"

Presented by Dr. Bruce Pollard, PhD

General Meeting

 7:30 P.M., Lone Star College, Kingwood Campus,

CLA Lecture Hall

Main Lecture Subject:

Professional Presentation

Selected by Todd Sullivan, NHAC

"What's Up Doc?" by Dr. Aaron Clevenson for next month will be posted on the NHAC Website.




1.  The NHAC officers for 2016 are:

President --                              Aaron Clevenson

Vice-President--                        Bruce Pollard

Secretary--                               Susan Pollard

Treasurer--                               David Lambert

Neewsletter Editor--                  Rusty Hill

Astronomical League Coord.--    James Barbasso

Webmaster--                            Justin McCollum

Observation Committee Chair--  James Billings

Membership Committee Chair--  David Tomlin

Program Committee Chair--       Todd Sullivan


2.  Our Astronomical League Coordinator is Jim Barbasso. 

The Astronomical League URL is: https://www.astroleague.org/


3.  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.


 4.  2016 Remaining General Meeting Schedule:


February 26

March 25

April 22

May 27



August 26

September 23

October 28

November 18

December 16

5.  I have moved the URL for the 2017 Solar Eclipse here to the Notes section for ease of access.  I will keep it here through the August, 2017, Newsletter.

 August 2017 Solar Eclipse URL:


or simply google <2017 solar eclipse>




Star Party February 6 2016!


Sunset will be at 6:03 P.M. and there will be no moon.  Weather permitting, we should have a very nice evening for observing.


If you are new to the club  this is especially for you.  You, the members, are the reason we have social events such as this, and it is a great occasion to get your feet wet observing.  We do have 10" Dobsonian scopes available at the Dark Site for your use.


Club Policy is that the focus of the Star Parties will be to give as much assistance as possible to new observers.


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 specific Dark Site location is password protected.  Any club 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 6 or 7 minutes driving time North of Dobbin off of State Highway 105 west of Montgomery.


Star Parties are routinely scheduled for the Saturday on, just before, or just after the New Moon throughout the year.  This is to provide the best opportunity for dark skies.


2016 tentative projected schedule, subject to change:

February 6

March 5 -- Bar-Be-Que

April 2 -- Messier Marathon

April 9 -- Back-up Messier Marathon

May 7 Bar-Be-Que

June 4

July 2

July 30

August 27

No date in September

October 1 Bar-Be-Que

October 29 Backup Bar-Be-Que

November 26

December 17

NHAC is a proud member of:

Astronomical League/NASA Night Sky Network/International Dark-Sky Association

Public Night will be on February 6, 2016.


Sunset will be at  6:03 P.M. Central Standard Time.

Doors will open by about 5:45 P.M. or so and remain open to the 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 get to use, otherwise.  The Observatory has a 16" and a 20" telescope, each computer controlled, which provide awesome views of the sky.  There are usually about 75 guests, sometimes more, on Public Night, several repeating, who are very appreciative of the opportunity to expose their kids to Astronomy, and who enjoy the observing in their own experience, as well.  Then after all our guests have departed, several of us usually stay for a while and enjoy the views and each other's company.


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 Jack Fields Elementary School on the East side of S. Houston Ave.  For information, see the web site or the address below.


*Dates and times are subject to change.

The Insperity Observatory is at:

Jack Fields Elementary School

2505 S. Houston Ave.

Humble, TX 77396



Rusty's Ramblings


Hello, NHACers:

An excellent observing opportunty this month is Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina).  It is an early morning comet, and should remain visible throughout January. Any tme from around mid-night until dawn is the best time for viewing it.  It was listed as Magnitude 7 this morning, January 15.  I easily saw it about 5:30 A.M.


Another useful website with good information on comets as well as other solar system objects is:


Simply click on "comets" and scroll down.  As well as giving you the current position, it also will give you ephemeris for any date, time, and location.  It does allow you to enter your observing location so the site can give you the object's altitude for your location at the time you choose.  I have found it a very helpful site.  (Yellow makes no sense on this paragraph, but I am on my iPad, out of town, and I can't change it.)

Clear Skies, All,


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 and Sky.  Be sure to identiry yourself as an NHAC member.

Loaner Telescopes after being a member for 6 months.

Opportunity to observe from Dark Sky Observing Sites.

Learn from Experienced Observers.

Astronomy Magazine subscriptions at a discount.

Membership in the Astronomical League, with multiple Observing Clubs available.

Included subscription to the Astronomical League magazine "Reflector".

Access to the NHAC Library

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 normally held each month on the fourth Friday.  In the months of October, November and December they are usually rescheduled for the third Friday of each month, so as to not conflict with the Annual All Clubs meeting, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.