NHAC Club ‘Early Spring’ Gathering 2017!

justin mccollumPublished March 20, 2017 by justin mccollum

Greetings to all from the North Houston Astronomy Club!

All club members, visitors, and guests are invited and welcomed to attend our monthly club meetings 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: 24 March 2017)

Our club meetings start as always on the 4th Friday of every month expect on November & December where are meetings start on the 3rd Friday. Octobers depend on when the date for the Annual Regional SE Texas Gulf Coast ‘All – Clubs’ meeting is scheduled in conjunction with the 1st Qtr Moon phase!

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: Dr. Aaron Clevenson

(Insperity Observatory Director, Past NHAC President)

Presentation: Comets: “let’s run a Messier marathon”

Image result for Messier Marathon

Dr. Aaron Clevenson will give us a general overview of the strategies and purpose in conducting a Messier Marathon! This is a time period from Mid – March through Early April in which all of 110 objects of Charles Messier’s catalog of Deep Sky Objects can be observed from the beginning of Nautical twilight after sunset to the end of Nautical Twilight of the following day before sunrise. Get all of the tips, sky charts, and necessary supplies at this novice presentation by Dr. Clevenson on how to conduct a successful Messier Marathon. The purpose is to get as many of the objects in the catalog, but getting all of them is not a necessity and it rarely happens, but it is still a very fun event of testing ones’ endurance for ‘all – night’ observing!

For more information on the Messier Marathon:

Rob Hawley’s Guide to the Messiers!

The Messier Marathon

American Association of Amateur Astronomers!

Messier Marathon Atlas!!

Jim’s Cosmos (Marathon Page)

GreenHawk Observatory’s Messier Webpage


General Meeting

Speaker: Mr. Justin J McCollum, MS Physics

(Professor Comet, NHAC Club Webmaster, Building Manager – HMNS George Observatory)

Presentation: The Galilean Satellites

Courtesy: Schnek, Paul J., Ph.D. (2010) – Lunar & Planetary Institute.  Atlas of the Galilean Satellites, Cambridge University Press.

This presentation will be on the Galilean Moons as a part of my Great Moons of the Solar System series. I will cover all of the four major moons of Jupiter discovered by Galileo Galilei on 7 & 13 January 1610 as four shining stars appearing to be in orbit around the planet with his ‘cannoocchiali‘ telescopes with a magnification range from 3x to 30x.

Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto which shared a history with Jupiter (Zeus) king of the Pantheon Gods of the Greco – Roman world. Io is our most volcanically active body in the solar system with volcanic plumes of Sulfur Dioxide along with substantial influence on the planet’s magnetic field! Europa is an icy body with a possible sub – surface, global ocean of briny saltwater of ever increasing oxidation that has more water than 2 Earths combined! Ganymede, a giant bigger than the planet Mercury that if it replaced our Moon while maintaining the same orbit would have a surface gravity ~3x greater producing much larger tides on the Earth! Callisto is known for having one of the oldest, unchanging surfaces geologically with no known surface activity occurring for at least the last 4 billion years
Come to the meeting and learn about each of these moons individually and how they are each a radically different type of planetary body, unlike anything that can be seen, witness, or observed here on Earth. Jupiter is now rising earlier in the night sky it will become the only planetary body observable in telescopes from now and through most of Summer. 
Every time you look through a telescope to observe the planet Jupiter and it’s moons you will realize that each of those little bodies has amazing features and properties that can elude the human imagination.
For more information on the Galilean Satellites:

NASA Solar System Exploration

University of Colorado – Galilean Moons Site

Galilean Moons (Wikipedia) – lots of References & Great Links!

Galileo Legacy Site

NASA Photoplanetary Journal – Jupiter Family

Sky & Telescope: Observation Tool!

Windows to the Universe: Jupiter and its Moons (A Great Kids Site)!

To Learn more about Galileo Galilei:

The Galileo Project!

Galileo Galilei (Wikipedia – Very Detailed)