May 25, 2012

Novice Program

Sue Wheatley

"Observing Tricks To Make the Most of Your Time at the Eyepiece"  
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

Lorrie Patel

"Top 10 Men & Their Astronomical Advancements!

NHAC is a proud member of:

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


At April's general meeting, Professor Bill Leach presented members an excellent, in-depth view of the planet Mercury. Professor Leach really made what may have once seemed to be a less interesting planet, come to life by exploring its composition, surface features, and orbital data. Thank you Professor Leach!


BIG Happenings in the Universe!!


There will be a partial eclipse of the moon. The event will start at 5:59 AM (yes that is AM),  and will proceed to moonset: 6:22 AM.  This is a naked-eye event that you can do from home.  It will be fun to watch, look in the west.  Binoculars are great for this activity too, if you have a pair.



This is one of the rarest astronomical events that you will likely get to see.  This transit will be Venus crossing the face of the sun.  It means that Venus, the Earth, and the sun will be in an almost perfectly straight line.  It will begin at 5:09 pm and continue to sunset at 8:20 pm.  The next one is in 2117 (105 years from now).  Since we will be looking at the sun, special filters are required, so put this on your calendar and  join us at the Insperity Observatory for safe and fun observing!  NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN without proper filters.  You could damage your eyes permanently.  We will be looking at Venus through our Solar Telescope and other telescopes, as well as projecting it on the big screen in the observatory.  We are hoping for perfectly clear skies.

More Transit of Venus info...


New Club Shirts

We are having new NHAC shirts made, so be on the lookout for them. If you have any questions, you can email newsletter@astronomyclub.org or talk to Jamie (me!) at the meeting!

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!

  • David Meine & Nancy Huchison
  • Justin Durand
  • Clint Enax

NASA's Kepler Detects Potential Evaporating Planet

This artist's concept depicts a comet-like tail of a possible disintegrating super Mercury-size planet candidate as it transits, or crosses, its parent star, named KIC 12557548. The results are based on data from NASA's Kepler mission. At an orbital distance of only twice the diameter of its star, the surface temperature of the potential planet is estimated to be a sweltering 3,300 degrees Fahrenheit (1,816 degrees Celsius). At such a high temperature, the surface would melt and evaporate. The energy from the resulting wind would be enough to allow dust and gas to escape into space creating a trailing dusty effluence that intermittently blocks the starlight. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.


Star Party

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*

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.