NHAC Club ‘Late Winter’ Gathering 2017!

justin mccollumPublished February 3, 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 February 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: Mr. Justin J McCollum, MS Physics

(Prof. Comet)

Presentation: Comets: What are they and how to observe them?

Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2)

Comets are the most important objects to observe in the solar system! These icy bodies of ancient organic compounds and exotic minerals are likely the sources for the water and the special ingredients that made it possible for the planet Earth to become a habitable planet for all life that is native to this planet. This presentation will provide a thorough introduction to comets and how to observe them, classify observations, track them throughout the sky, observe changes in brightness, etc. Comets like Asteroids are officially classified as Minor planets; a term provided to distinguish ‘nonstellar’ bodies that orbit the Sun from the bodies we humans classify as Planets and Moons (or natural satellites).

For more information on Comets:

The Night Sky Hunter

Sketching Comets!

Seiichi Yoshida’s Page on Comets

Winnie’s Comet Pages (Translate from German)!

For more advanced astronomers (Two of my favorite sites):


The Comet Observations Database

General Meeting

Speaker:  Robert S. Brayton, CPP

Certified Professional Photographer

Presentation: Shooting Stars: Backyard Astrophotography in the New Millennium


The digital revolution continues.  In this presentation, we discuss astrophotography from the perspective of one who is a photographer, inventor, and engineer.  Robert’s background in photography and computer engineering provide a unique perspective on how to leverage digital hardware and software with “backyard” telescopes to produce images that go far beyond what was previously possible.  Topics include astronomy, optics, equipment, software control, imaging, and how to process raw data into stunning astrophotographs.


Robert S. Brayton, CPP

Certified Professional Photographer

Robert is the owner and founder of PhotoVideoSound, a digital media production company serving the greater Houston area.  He is a second generation freelance photographer with decades of study and application in digital engineering and arts: creating art and enhancing life experience through digital technology.  His vision is to enrich the lives of people and businesses through visual storytelling in still and moving life portraiture.

PhotoVideoSound provides forward-thinking solutions for commercial media by providing excellence in photography, video production, and sound design. 

Clients include Mercedes-Benz USA, Century 21, Snap Fitness, Civil Air Patrol (U.S. Air Force auxiliary), Bella Pictures, and Imagine Videos.

Robert served one tour in the U.S. Air Force as a computer repairman.  The training that he learned in the Air Force was so thorough that he used it to become a computer engineer.  During his 25 years as an engineer (including 10 years with Compaq/HP) he was awarded two patents and helped to invent several devices commonly used today.  Major Brayton served as the Commander of the Civil Air Patrol Delta Composite Squadron and is currently involved in Emergency Services, Aerospace Education, and Cadet Programs.

Before retiring from the field of computer engineering in 2006, Robert designed large scale redundant computer systems, artificial intelligence, cryptography, and researched and developed emerging digital hardware, firmware, and software systems for HP, Compaq, MCI, HSN, and NCR.  He has two patents.  His other interests include astrophotography, art, music, and Mensa.

Robert studied at Purdue University, LeTourneau University, Hollywood Film Institute (Feature Film Producer, Cinema Director, Line Producer Emeritus), Professional Photographers of America, Texas School of Photography, and the San Antonio Independent Christian Filmmakers Academy.  He earned the Certified Professional Photographer from the Professional Photographic Commission in 2012 and is currently working on the Photographic Craftsman degree.  He is currently or has been a previous member of the following organisations: Mensa, Toastmasters International (CTM), Professional Photographers of America (CPP), Texas Professional Photographers Association, Professional Photographers Guild of Houston (2012 Board of Directors, 2013 Secretary, 2014 Image Competition Action Team), Houston Professional Videographers Association, Houston Astronomical Society, North Houston Astronomy Club, and is a volunteer astronomer at Insperity Observatory.

To Learn more about (Mr. Brayton & Astrophotography):


Professional Photographers Guild of Houston

Sky & Tel Astrophotography Webpage

Astrophotography 101

Jerry Lodriguss’s ‘Catching the Light’

Russell Croman’s Site (Fabulous)!

Beginner DSLR Astrophotography (Youtube)