April, 2016

Volume XVI, Number 4

This Month's  remaining events

April 22 --  General Meeting, Lone Star College,

Kingwood Campus

Next Month's Events

May 6 -- Insperity Observatory Public Night

May 6 -- New Moon

May 7 -- Star Party and Bar-Be-Que
O'Brien Dark Site

May 9, AM, most of the day -- Mercury Transit

May 27 -- General Meeting

Kingwood Campus

April 22, 2016

Novice Program

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


Astronomy Fun Facts:

Useful Information for Exploring the Universe


General Meeting

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

CLA Lecture Hall

Main Lecture Subject:

Gravitational Waves

Presented by Dr. Aaron Clevenson,

Lone Star College


"What's Up Doc?"

by Dr. Aaron Clevenson for next month

will be posted on the NHAC Website.



1.  The Officers for 2016 are:

President --                              Aaron Clevenson

Vice-President--                        Bruce Pollard

Secretary--                               Susan Pollard

Treasurer--                               David Lambert

Newsletter 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:


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>

6.  As of this writing, April 17 P.M., the weather forecast suggests Friday night will be a good evening for observing at the Insperity Observatory.  It is likely that some members will go to the Observatory after the General Meeting.  If you have opportunity to come by, it would be a good opportunity to check it out.



Star Party and Bar-Be-Que

May 7, 2016!


Sunset will be at 8:05 P.M. and there will be only a sliver of moon just 1 day after the New Moon Friday Morning.  Weather permitting, we should have a very nice evening for observing.

We will also have our Spring Bar-Be-Que.  Everyone is invited to come, and bring interested guests.  We normally start serving about  2 1/2 hours before Sunset, which would be about 5:30 PM.  This allows for cleanup and all the working crew to be finished by an hour before Sunset to set up for observing.  If you have any favorite side dishes-- or entree items-- as well as desserts, please bring whatever you like.  It would be helpful if you would let James Billings know ahead of time what you would like in the way of hot dogs or hamburgers, and how many.

As it happens, there will still be a large number of Messier objects visible throughout the evening, so if you are working to complete the Messier List, weather permitting, this would be a good opportunity.  There will be lots of experienced observers present, as well as a variety of binoculars and scopes to try out.  So, Y'ALL COME!!

If you are new to the club  this is especially for you.  We, the members, are the reason we have observing 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, and there will be several other scopes available for all to try.  And do bring a Binocular-- you can do lots of successful observing with nothing more.

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:

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 May 6, 2016.

Sunset will be at  8:03 P.M. Central Standard Time.

Doors will open by about 7:45 P.M. 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.  Our guests are very appreciative of the opportunity to enjoy and expose their kids to Astronomy.  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

Observatory Phone number is 281-641-STAR.


Rusty's Ramblings


Hello, NHACers:


On May 9 in the morning 2 days after our Star Party/Bar-Be-Que, we have an opportunity for a fairly rare Observing Event:  A Planet Mercury Transit of Sol!  The First Contact, the initial point of touch, will occur at 06:12 AM.  The Fourth Contact, the final breaking contact at the end of the Transit, will be at 1:42 P.M.

See the URL http://eclipsewise.com/oh/tm2016.html for more information.

As always, be EXTREMELY CAREFUL when viewing the Sun.  Permanent damage to your eyes can occur with even a very brief unprotected glimpse of the Sun.  If you haven't done this before, try to go with someone who has.

If you intend to view through a binocular or telescope, you MUST use a commercially made filter over the FRONT of the binocular or telescope.  NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use a so-called sun-filter eyepiece.  They can get hot, melt, and take out your vision in a heart-beat.

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.