April 27, 2012

Novice Program

6:30 - 7:15pm in the Cosmic Forum, upstairs in the CLA building

Main Presentation

Beginning at 7:30pm in the building CLA Teaching Theater, featuring:
NHAC news and announcements
What’s Up Doc?” by Aaron Clevenson

Featured Speaker

Prof. Bill Leach
LoneStar College

Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

Mercury: A Message from Space

NHAC is a proud member of:

Astronomical League/NASA Night Sky Network/International Dark-Sky Association
Dr. Nicholas Suntzeff


Thank you Dr. Suntzeff for coming to the March NHAC general meeting and speaking with us about the accelerated expansion of the universe. We truly appreciated and enjoyed your Q&A session and the open discussion with all of those in attendance.

Messier Marathon Report

We had a huge turnout at the O'Brien's for the Messier Marathon on March 24th. It was a pretty decent night early on, with many folks observing 50+ Messiers before needing to pack up because of the chill and the dew. James Billings hung in the longest and observed 80+ that night! Thanks to Aaron Clevenson for being the Master of Ceremonies and thank you to all who attended and made it such a fun event!

BBQ Star Party Report

On April 21st we had a Club cookout at the O'Brien place. Burgers and dogs were grilled up and everyone brought something to contribute to the feast. Before sundown many of us had a chance to view the huge prominence on the sun with Mike Kramer's solar scope, and after the sun set, we were fortunate to have a gorgeous, clear night that was perfect for general observing but also full of Lyrids! 

Refreshment Committee Chairperson Needed!

Have you been thinking about getting more involved with the club, but weren’t quite sure what to do? Well, this would be a great way to help out! We are looking for someone to be in charge of the meeting refreshments each month. Your job would be to see that the refreshments are ordered, picked up and  delivered to the meeting each month. They would need to be set up prior to the meeting and taken down after the meeting. You would also need to see that all of the necessary utensils were kept on hand.

Special Club Rate Magazine Subscriptions

Club rates for personal subscriptions to ASTRONOMY and SKY & TELESCOPE magazines save about 25% over the normal subscription costs. Each magazine has its own procedure to subscribe based upon initiating the order through the club treasurer.
For ASTRONOMY magazine, write your check to NHAC (or pay in cash) for $34 (or $60 for 2 years). The Treasurer then validates your membership by writing a club check for the same amount to the magazine and sending them your address. Renewals must also be processed through the club. Please save your renewal documents for this process.
For SKY & TELESCOPE, pay the club $33 (or $32.95 if by check). As above, we write a club check to validate your membership and start your subscription. SKY & TELESCOPE renewals are processed directly by the subscriber.
Be sure to include a clearly printed name and address sheet for any new subscriptions.

Got a Favorite Piece of Equipment?

If you have a favorite piece of equipment, a novel way of solving a problem, or a shortcut for making observing easier, bring it to the monthly meeting for the “Show-And-Tell” segment. Each presentation should take about 3 - 5 minutes and all ideas are welcome. Please submit your idea to Program Committee Chair, at program@astronomyclub.org before the next meeting so that he can reserve a spot for your presentation. 

Welcome New NHAC Members!

  • Dale Gustafson
  • Blanca Gonzales
  • Lou Jissona
  • Barnabus Nemec 
  • Jane Zimbaldi

NASA's WISE Catches Aging Star Erupting With Dust

It's a dust bunny of cosmic proportions. Astronomers used images from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, to locate an aging star shedding loads of dust (orange dot at upper left). Only one other star, called Sakurai's object, has been caught erupting with such large amounts of dust. The process is a natural part of aging for stars like our sun. As they puff up into red giants, they shed dust that is later recycled back into other stars, planets, and in the case of our solar system, living creatures. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


O’Brien Observing Site

Have you been to O’Brien site yet? This is a great site that is available to NHAC members. It has open fields with a treed horizon in all directions at 5 degrees and is located in Montgomery, Texas (heading west on Highway 105).
If you would like to use this site in the future, please read the use policy on the NHAC web page (click on the “Star Party!” link from the Home page), and please follow this process:
Tim and Wanda O’Brien and their family are our hosts. They are on Netslyder, the email list server.
To request use of the site, send an email out on Netslyder to: NHAC@mail.netslyder.net (you must already be a member of the Netslyder mailing list).
Requests must be made more than 24 hours in advance.
Wanda or Tim will reply on Netslyder to let you know it is ok.
Other members are welcome to also attend that night. Once approved, another request is not necessary at that point.
The site is open to members and their guests (only when the member is present).

White Eagle Lodge (WEL)

The White Eagle Lodge is a private church retreat in Montgomery, TX. It has an open field with dark western and northern skies, although the east does suffer from light pollution. The north and east have good low horizons, while the west and southwest are somewhat obstructed by trees.
Other notes and and the procedure for reserving a night in addition to the regular monthly NHAC star parties may be found here.
The property owners (St. John’s Retreat Center) request that all users sign a Release of Liability Waiver.

Additional information and Directions are available online at astronomyclub.org.

If you have any questions, please contact Mike Kramer or James Billings at

2012 Public Nights*

May 4, 2012 @ 8:00 p.m.
June 1, 2012 @ 8:15 p.m.
July 6, 2012 @ 8:30 p.m.
August 3, 2012 @ 8:15 p.m.
September 7, 2012 @ 7:30 p.m.
October 5, 2012 @ 7:00 p.m.
November 2, 2012 @ 5:30 p.m.
December 7, 2012 @ 5:30 p.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change.

The Insperity Observatory at Humble ISD, 2505 S. Houston Ave., Humble, TX 77396 281-641-STAR

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 non-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
  • Loaner telescopes
  • Borrow from the NHAC “Library”
  • Observe from Dark Sky Observing Sites
  • Learn from experienced amateur astronomers
  • Share your knowledge at club hosted picnics and star parties
  • Discount magazine subscriptions (contact our Treasurer)
  • Includes membership in the Astronomical League
  • The quarterly Astronomical League magazine “Reflector”
  • Eligibility for NHAC Executive Board

Observe - Learn - Share

The North Houston Astronomy Club is a non-profit organization sponsored by Kingwood College and the North Harris Montgomery Community College District, dedicated to increasing the awareness and knowledge of the science of astronomy. Public meetings are held each month on the fourth Friday.