August, 2016

Volume XVI, Number 8

This Month's  remaining events


August 26

General Meeting, Lone Star College,

Kingwood Campus


Star Party

August 27

O'Brien Dark Site


Next Month's Events


September 2

Insperity Observatory Public Night


September 23

General Meeting

Kingwood Campus

August 23, 2016

Novice Program

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



A Late Summer Tea Party: Caldwells Invited!

Presented by Bruce Pollard, PhD,

NHAC Vice President


General Meeting

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

CLA Lecture Hall


"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:


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:

August 26

September 23

October 28

November 18

December 16


5. For the 2017 Solar Eclipse on August 21, there is updated information on the NASA webpage.

This link gives historical weather along the path of totality:

This next link gives the NASA site for extensive planning information for viewing the eclipse:>


6.  Astronomy Magazine has a Bulletin of 100+ pages including around 50 pages of strip maps of the geography under the path of the totality of hte eclipse, showing roads, parks, rivers, etc.  I think it is well worth the money, about $20.



Star Party August 27, 2016!


Sunset on August 27 will be at 7:51 P.M. and there will be no moon until 3:22 A.M. Sunday Morning.  Weather permitting, we should have a very nice evenings for observing.


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 remaining tentative projected schedule, subject to change:

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 September 2, 2016.


Sunset will be at  7:41 P.M. Central Daylight Savings  Time.


Doors will be open by about 7:30 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:


This past month I decided to take some of my own advice and do some binocular observing, with the help of the Pocket Sky Atlas and the Binocular Highlights book I mentioned in the last Novice Session.  I went out for just a couple of hours on 3 evenings, during the dark of the moon or the period just after the New Moon.  I was busy working in Kerr County, west of San Antonio, and was fortunate enough to have several very clear nights in a row.


The Binocular Highlights book is organized into 4 sections:  December, January, February, and then March, April, May, and so forth.  The book has 99 highlights, so each section covers about 25 or so.  Mostly, each of the objects has its own descriptive page, and information helping to find that object.  A few of the pages have more than one object covered.


The first 2 evenings, the end of July, I stayed in the "summer" section, which has 31 objects.  A lot of them were in the Cygnus and Lyra constellations.  There was another large group in the Scorpio and Sagittarius constellations.  Over the space of about 2 hours on each of 2 evenings, I was able to spot 23 of the “summer” binocular objects.


Then about a week later, on August 5, I went out in the early evening and looked at as many of the “spring” objects, listed in the March, April, May section, as I could see.  Some of them had already set before I was able to start observing.  Nonetheless I was able to see9 of them, including the “Engagement Ring” asterism, which looks just like an engagement ring, with Polaris as the “diamond”.


Admittedly I had very good skies.  Even so, the take-away is that using nothing more than a binocular with only a Planisphere and a pair of “pocket sized” guide books, I was able to log 32 of the 99 listed objects, or about a third, in about 6 hours of observing.  In the process I saw quite a few I had not seen before, in addition to several others which were nearby, but not listed.  An example would be M28, not specifically listed, in addition to M22 which is listed.


A week later, Donna and I were again in Kerr County with a very nice sky, during the Perseid Meteor Shower.  We went out at 4:45 AM, and started counting at 4:47.  Over the next 60 minutes, we counted 75 Perseid Meteors, as well as 2 or 3 others.  It was fun!


I have heard that the whole Houston area was clouded in and unable to see the Perseids.   That is a shame!  It was a good show.


For me it has been a very interesting and enjoyable end of July and early August.


As an aside, I would like to hear if anyone else (besides John Wu!) has been doing Binocular Observing.  Please tell me what you have seen, including John.  I would like to include your results in this section.


Clear Skies, everyone.  See you next Friday!


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.