New Year NHAC Club Gathering 2017!

justin mccollumPublished January 5, 2017 by justin mccollum

Happy New Year to All from the North Houston Astronomy Club!

This new year brings about our first monthly club meeting for 2017 at the Lone Star Kingwood College.

We will continue to have our novice and general meetings at the CLA Classroom Building on the Lone Star Campus in Kingwood, Texas.

(Date: 27 January 2017, 4th Friday)

All novice meetings will continue to start at 6:30 pm on the 2nd Floor in the Astronomy Classroom which is accessible either way the two-quarter, winding staircase next to the CLA building auditorium or to the elevators down the main corridor on the south side of the building.  There is a corridor ledge (2nd Floor) as seen when entering the building from the main doors facing the parking lot and the Astronomy classroom doors are visible from the entryway. All general meetings will start one hour later at 7:30 pm on the first floor in the Teaching Teacher Auditorium next to the staircase that takes one to the 2nd Floor. The main doors to the auditorium upon entering the building from the side facing the parking lots will be on your left and then past the staircase, they will be the first doors on your left again when heading towards the north corridor on the 1st Floor.

The general meeting will cover club business and news in the first part with tonight’s presenter being the main part of the meeting. Food and Drinks will be provided and paid for by the club and all club members, guests, and visitors are welcome to come to our first meeting of the year. Hopefully, many of our guest and visitors who live in the surrounding areas will consider joining our club!

Novice Meeting

Speaker: Mr. Justin J McCollum, MS Physics

(Prof. Comet)

Presentation: The Inferior Planets (Venus & Mercury)

Credit: Chris Shur

(Top Image is Venus & Bottom image is Mercury, both captured at Noon on the same day, 18 January 2014)!

The Planets Mercury & Venus are the closest terrestrial planets to our home star (the Sun).  We call these bodies the inferior planets since they orbit around the Sun at distances closer than the planet Earth and their orbits lie within the orbital circumference of the Earth. These two bodies are among the five planets or celestial wonders known since Ancient times and have been observed, recorded in countless Astronomical observations, and explored by surface observatories, orbital spacecraft, and have been explored by a series of flyby vehicles, robotic orbiters, science balloons, and landing craft although no vehicle or device has yet to land on the surface of the planet Mercury. This novice presentation will discuss all of the general features and points about our two innermost planets and all of the efforts and discoveries made by astronomers past and present. 

For more information on Mercury and Venus:

Studying the Planets with Arecibo

Inferior vs. Superior Planets

Mercury: The Swiftest Planet

Venus: A Planetary Hot Spot

The Planetary Society & Missions to Mercury & Venus

General Meeting

Speaker: Dr. Charles H Mathers, MD, MPH

Presentation: Exploring Human Tolerance for Commerical Space Tourism

Dr. Mathers is the Medical Director for the Aerospace Medicine Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. He also serves as the assistant professor and associate program director for the Aerospace Medicine Residency Program at UTMB and NASA. A board certified member with both the American Boards of Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine in Aerospace Medicine. Dr. Mathers is active in his clinical practice by seeing patients at both the Aerospace Medicine Center and Internal Medicine Clinic. He most recently position has been as the Senior Associate Consultant for the Division of Preventive, Occupational, and Aerospace Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. Dr. Mathers is also active in medical student and resident education, serving as Director of the UTMB School of Medicine’s Aerospace Medicine Track and Preceptor for the Practice of Medicine course. He does coordinate the Principles of Aviation & Space Medicine course at UTMB.  Dr. Mathers’ research interests include the neuro-vestibular effects of head acceleration and medical guidelines for commercial spaceflight. A co-author of FAA Center of Excellence Task 183: Flight Crew Medical Standards and Spaceflight Participant Medical Acceptance Guidelines for Commercial Space Flight. Dr. Mathers is an Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association and was recognized in 2012 with the Society of United States Air Force Flight Surgeons Julian E. Ward Memorial Award for outstanding achievement during residency training in aerospace medicine. He has been a private pilot since 2004 and is certified as an Open Water Scuba diver. 

For more information on Commerical Space Tourism:

UTMB Aerospace Medicine

Mayo Clinic Space Medicine

ASMA Space Tourism

Virgin Galactic

Bigelow Aerospace

Center for Excellence – Commerical Space Tourism


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