September, 2014

Volume XIV, Number 9




coming Month's  events:

September 26 -- General Meeting, Kingwood College

October 3 -- Insperity Observatory Public Night

October 18--Star Party and BBQ

October 24-- General Meeting, Kingwood College

 2014 Remaining General Meeting Schedule

September 26

October 24

November 21 note: third Friday

December 19 note: third Friday

September 26, 2014

Novice Program

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

"Fall Constellations and Deep Sky Objects"

presented by Bruce Pollard, PhD,


Advanced Lecture

6:30-7:15, CLA 225, The Physics Lab

"The Speed of Light and Cosmic Puzzles"

presented by

Dr. Louise RioFrio

General Meeting

7:30 P.M. in the CLA Teaching Theater

Scott Miller, Sam Houston State University

Department of Physics


What’s Up Doc?” by Dr. Aaron Clevenson for the month of October will be posted on the NHAC Website.



1. We are having a Special Edition of The "Advanced Class" at our next meeting at 6:30 pm to run concurrently with the Novice Class.  The advanced class concept has been a feature of past NHAC General Meetings and is invoked at this time to enable a speaker presentation that would probably not be available otherwise.  Presentation will be by Dr. Louise Riofrio, PhD, a physicist, astronomer and author,  on "The Speed of Light and Cosmic Puzzles."  Classroom location will be CLA 225, the Physics Lab.

2.  The NHAC officers in 2014 are:

President--                              George Marsden

Vice-President--                       Desiree Carmona

Secretary--                              Susan Pollard

Treasurer--                              David Lambert

Newsletter Editor--                   Rusty Hill

Astronomical League Coord.--   James Barbasso

Webmaster--                           Jamie Martin

Observation Committee Chair-- James Billings

Membership Committee Chair-- Stuart Davenport

     Board Approved Co-Chair--  Joe Wagner

Program Committee Chair--      Todd Sullivan      

If you as a member would like to assist one of the officers or committee chairmen, I would like to invite you to help out with your ideas and participation.   If you have any questions for any of the officers, please ask.

3.  Remaining Executive Board meetings, 2014.

November 12

Any and all members in good standing are welcome to attend any of the Executive Board meetings.


4.  Our Astronomical League Coordinator is Jim Barbasso.  The Astronomical League website is

This website also features a section entitled "What's Up With The Astronomical League."


5.  Name Badges: For all members, please remember to pick up your Name Badge before the meeting, wear it, and return it after this meeting so you will still have a name tag at the next meeting.  We do not want any members to be nameless. 


6. We are approaching our annual election of Club Officers for the coming year.  The elections will be held during the December meeting, and we would like to have all nominations in hand by the November meeting.  If you would like to help out with Nominations, please approach any Club Officer about being on the Nominating Committee.  Likewise, if you have an interest in helping the Club by becoming a Club Officer, please let one of the Ofifcers know.


Star Party and BBQ, October 18, 2014

Club Policy is that the focus of the Star Parties will be to give as much assistance as possible to new observers.

Sunset on October 18 will be at 6:48 PM. and by 7:30 the sky should be dark enough for viewing. October 23 will be the New Moon, so Saturday October 18 should be good for observing if the cloud cover permits.

For the Star Party itself, the plan continues to be for a number of the more experienced observers to attend each of the Star Parties, with telescopes.  We "novices" will know there is someone who is planning to be at the Star Party with equipment and the desire to share knowledge.

For those who may not have been to the O'Brien Dark Site, it is just north of Dobbin, which is on Highway 105 west of Montgomery.  It has reasonably dark skies, and a great low horizon in all directions.  The Owners, Tim and Wanda O'Brien are very generous hosts, and they do turn off any outside lights which might bother us, if we remember to ask.

The actual Dark Site location is password protected.  Any officer can give you the password, but it is NOT FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

On our NHAC web site, click on "Observing" then select "O'Brien Dark Site".  Scroll down to the O'Brien Dark Site information and look for the "detailed directions" link.  You will need to enter the password.  There are maps as well as directions.  It is well worth the drive, which is about 6 or 7 minutes after you leave Dobbin going north.

Star Parties are routinely scheduled for the Saturday on or just before the New Moon throughout the year.  This is to provide the best opportunity for dark skies.

Inclement weather, of course, can force Star Party cancellation or postponement.

 2014 Remaining Star Party Schedule

October 18-- BarBeQue

November 22

December 20


NHAC is a proud member of:

Astronomical League/NASA Night Sky Network/International Dark-Sky Association

2014 Public Nights

October 3, 2014.  Sunset will be around 7:06 P.M.

Doors will open at 6:45 P.M. and remain open to the public until 10:00 P.M.

Remaining 2014 Insperity Public nights are projected to be:

November 7

December 5

These Public Nights are a tremendous opportunity for us to be a part of Astronomy Outreach, and also to observe with scopes we might never see, otherwise.  The Observatory has a 16" and a 20" telescope, each computer controlled, which provide awesome views of the sky.  There are typically 30 or 40 guests at the Public Night, several repeating, who are very appreciative of the opportunity to expose their kids to Astronomy, and who enjoy the observing in their own experience, as well.  And then after all our guests have departed, several of us usually stay for a while and enjoy the views.  I (Rusty) have seen more detail on Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn from the Insperity Observatory than at any other time or place.

The Observatory is about 3/4 of a mile south of Will Clayton Parkway on S. Houston Ave, just north of Rankin Road in Humble, in the back part of the Humble Elementary School on the East side of S. Houston Ave.

For information, see the web site

*Dates and times are subject to change.

The Insperity Observatory at Humble ISD, 2505 S. Houston Ave., Humble, TX 77396



Rusty's Ramblings

Hello, Everyone:

I have been keeping back issues of Astronomy and also Sky/Telescope magazines, and from time to time I am able to look back in previous issues to see what I can see.  I group my back issues by month, so that this month for example I am looking back into the past September issues.  Comments in the magazines about targets in the Cygnus Constellation, for example, remain valid from one year to the next.  And each of the magazines contain articles with lasting interest.

The past few days I have been reading in the September 2011 issue of Sky and Tel.  There is an article entitled "Peering Beneath Jupiter's Clouds", page 18, which talks about NASA's Juno mission, launched on August 5, 2011.  It is scheduled to reach Jupiter late in 2016.  Hopes are that it can fly 32 orbits around Jupiter before Jupiter's intense radiation cooks part of it.  The hope is that they will then be able to dive the spacecraft deep into the atmosphere and get more detailed readings than ever bin the past before Juno is crushed by the internal pressure.

In the September, 2013, issue there is an article entitled "Deciphering Starlight" on page 30.  This particular article discusses the research work being done by amateur astronomers in the field of spectroscopy, gathering spectrographic data to pass on to professional researchers.  As of about 18 months ago when the article was written, most of the amateur participants were Europeans, with some smatterings of North Americans thrown in.  There is an annual week long workshop held at an observatory in France each summer, with "beginners welcome".

I am staying very busy with a trig based Physics course at Lone Star College right now, a 2 semester course, so I won't have time to follow up on the spectroscopy ideas before next summer, but it does sound intriguing.

That's it for now.  I hope to see lots of folks out at the O'Brien Site this evening for our monthly Star Party.

Clear Skies,


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 not-for-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


Discounts on purchases at Land, Sea & Sky. Be sure to make your NHAC membership known when making a purchase.


Loaner telescopes after being a member for 6 months


Observe from Dark Sky Observing Sites



Learn from experienced amateur astronomers

Discount magazine subscriptions (contact our Treasurer)


Includes membership in the Astronomical League


The quarterly Astronomical League magazine “Reflector”


Borrow from the NHAC “Library”


Eligibility for NHAC Executive Board

Observe - Learn - Share

The North Houston Astronomy Club is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by Lone Star College-Kingwood, dedicated to increasing the awareness and knowledge of the science of astronomy. Public meetings are held each month on the fourth Friday.