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NEXT MEETING (hybrid): June 24
Main program speaker: Dr. Paul Shenk      
Topic: The Europa Clipper

Join us at 6:30 pm for our FYI session and at 7:30 pm for our main presentation!

June 24 Hybrid Meeting

Jamie Published on June 11, 2022

Join us for monthly meeting on Friday, June 24th


Ponderosa Fire Station training room:
17061 Rolling Creek Drive (map) and Zoom:
(come back to this post to get the
link shortly before the meeting)


FYI Session 6:30pm

Rob Brayton will talk about the Raspberry Pi and it’s use for astronomy.  We will also cover your getting started with astronomy questions.

Main Presentation 7:30pm

The Europa Clipper

Dr. Paul Schenk will discuss The Europa Clipper.  This is our first return to the Jupiter system with a spacecraft dedicated to mapping the ocean world Europa and assessing its habitability.  We will review the spacecraft and its mission followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

Dr. Paul Schenk –  Brief Biography

Dr. Paul Schenk describes himself as a space-groupie since the Gemini days in the mid-1960s. His first formal introduction to planetary sciences was as a NASA Planetary Geology summer intern in 1979 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory during the Voyager 2 Jupiter encounter. Since arriving at the LPI in 1991, he has used Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini stereo and monoscopic images to map the topography and geology of the icy outer planet satellites (and somewhat on Mars and the Moon).

Dr. Schenk has also been a stereo image aficionado for many years, and does historical brass helmet deep-sea diving.

In 2012, Dr. Schenk’s Atlas of the Galilean Satellites (copyright 2010) was published, and he was co-editor of Enceladus and the Icy Moons of Saturn published by The University of Arizona Press in 2018. He was also a panel member of the Decadal Survey on Planetary Science and Astrobiology for 2023–2032, and received AGU’s Fred Whipple prize in 2021.

From 2011–2018, he was a participating scientist on the DAWN (at Vesta) mission and the Cassini mission, studying impact cratering on small bodies, plume deposition processes on Enceladus and topographic mapping of all the Saturnian mid-sized icy satellites. He has also been a co-investigator on the New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond, responsible for cartography and topography of these distant planetary bodies.

Dr. Schenk’s global color moon mosaics can be found at

May 27 Hybrid Meeting

Bruce Pollard Published on May 11, 2022

We have found our new meeting location! It is the Ponderosa Fire Station training room at 17061 Rolling Creek Drive (map)


Thanks to Loyd Overcash for helping us secure the fire station! It’s just West of Interstate 45, 1 block north of FM 1960. Park to the north of the fire station – we may also use the adjoining business lot after 5:30 p.m. There is a lot of room so bring some friends! We won’t have food available at this meeting, so be sure to eat before you arrive. You may also attend the meeting via Zoom:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 839 4806 7703
Passcode: 678457

FYI session – 6:30pm Rob Brayton will not talk about how to use the Raspberry Pi for astronomy.  Instead Aaron Clevenson will describe the various opportunities offered by the Astronomical League and the coming meteor shower.

Main presentation – 7:30pm Lisa Koerner, Associate Professor of Physics, University  of Houston.

A Tour of Neutrino Physics

The neutrino is one of the elementary particles which make up the universe. Neutrinos are produced by fusion reactions inside the sun and other stars, by natural radiation inside the earth, by supernovae, and by charged particles bombarding Earth’s atmosphere.  Despite their abundance, they are difficult to study because they interact very rarely.  Professor Koerner will give an overview of the history of neutrino physics, from the postulation of their existence to recent discoveries.  Her own research involves studying neutrinos that are produced by accelerators.  She will also discuss what we’ve learned from observations of astrophysical sources of neutrinos.

I grew up and attended college in Tennessee, then moved to Long Island, New York, where I got my PhD in Physics at Stony Brook University and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Brookhaven National Lab.  After that, I moved to Houston in 2011, where I’m a professor in the Physics Department at University of Houston.  My research is in the area of experimental particle physics, focusing on neutrinos.  I’ve worked on neutrino physics projects in the US, Japan, and China, and I’m looking forward to sharing the discoveries of this field with you.

April Hybrid Meeting – Friday, April 22

Jamie Published on April 9, 2022

FYI session – 6:30pm Rob Brayton will talk about how to use the Raspberry Pi for astronomy.

Main presentation – 7:30pm Mike Prokosch, “Sam Houston State University (SHSU) Observatory: A New Beginning”

The SHSU Observatory is getting a new dome, possibly a new telescope, and a new mission. Join us as Observatory Director, Mike Prokosch tells us about what is happening in nearby Huntsville.

Mike Prokosch Bio

If you were to ask me to tell you where my favorite place is on this pale blue dot, I could tell you my house but more likely I’ll talk your ear off about the Sam Houston State Observatory…or the SHSU Planetarium.  It kinda depends on the weather.  We don’t have the darkest skies or the largest telescope and our planetarium is by no means the biggest theater, but a visit to either place is something our students and guests remember fondly, often returning for either the incredible “knock your socks off” views through our telescopes or for one of our spectacular planetarium shows.

I have worked for the SHSU Physics department since Fall of 2002 and I feel fortunate that I have been able to see and do so many different things.  If you really want a complete list of programs and projects I’ve worked on I’d be happy to share it with you if you have a cup of coffee, but I’d have to say by far the single best thing has been participating as an ambassador in the ACEAP 2015 cohort which has in turn lead to many other opportunities.  More recently I have worked on the IDATA project first as a teacher and again as a developer.  Between that, the local Huntsville Amateur Astronomy Society, planetarium shows, and the occasional newspaper article, I stay pretty busy. Now as the Director of the SHSU Observatory and Planetarium I’d like to take the opportunity to invite you to pay us a visit.  

*Not responsible for the loss of any socks.