November, 2014

Volume XIV, Number 11

 This coming Month's  events:

November 21 -- General Meeting, Kingwood College

December 5 -- Insperity Observatory Public Night

December 19-- General Meeting, Kingwood College

December 20 -- Star Party, O'Brien Dark Site

 2014 Remaining General Meeting Schedule

November 21 note: third Friday

December 19 note: third Friday

November 21, 2014

Novice Program

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

Dr.  Aaron Clevenson

subject:  Spectroscopy-- The Language of light


General Meeting

 7:30 P.M., Kingwood College Lecture Hall

Dr. Mark Matney, PhD, NASA

subject: Orbital Debris

"What's Up Doc?" by Dr. Aaron Clevenson for the month of November will be posted on the NHAC Website.


1. The usual Star Party for November is cancelled due to weather.  For the benefit of anyone who might wish to go to the O'Brien Dark Site just in case the clouds open up, James Billings is requesting access for Saturday night October 15.  He is also going to request access for Monday night the 17th for those who might care to go out to watch the Leonid Meteor Shower, weather permitting.


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.  The December 2014 meeting will be a little bit out of the ordinary.  We are going to start at 7:15 P.M. to accomodate a busier evening than usual.  We are going to have a Pot Luck Bar-Be-Que, and a club Officer Election to select officers for 2015.  We will have a speaker as usual, and then there will be a Door Prioze drawing at the end of the meeting.


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 this Novembger 21 meeting.  Our Nominating Committee is composed of Aaron Clevenson, Bruce Pollard, and Dave Tomlin.  If you are interested in helping the club function by by performing one of the club functions, please let any of the Nominating Committee or club officers know.

7.  2015 General Meeting Schedule:

January 23

February 27

March 27

April 24

May 22

June 26

July 24

August 28

September 25

October 23

November 20

December 18


8. 2015 Executive Board Meeting Schedule:

January 14

March 11

May 13

July 8

September 9

November 11

Star Party and BBQ, November 15, 2014 has been cancelled due to weather.

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

December 20


2015 Star Party Schedule


February 14  BBQ

March 21

April 18  BBQ

May 16

June 13

July 11

August 15

September 12  BBQ

October 10

November 7  BBQ

December 12

NHAC is a proud member of:

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

2014 Public Night

December 5, 2014.


Sunset will be at 5:21  P.M.

Doors will open at 5:15 P.M. and remain open to the public until 10:00 P.M.


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:

Many thanks to all from NHAC who were at the All CLubs meeting last Friday night, and all who went to the George Observatory to help out with A-Day.  From what I hear there were over 3,000 guests, which sounds high, but nonetheless there were a good many.

My comments below about the Hawkings movie are still valid, except that the movie apparently was not released last weekend, but apparently last night in Seattle, and later this month nationwide.

It is entitled "The Theory of Everything."  Donna and I saw the preview again this evening.  It looks accurate, and very well done.  We plan to see it as soon as we  can.

It is a feature movie intended for the general public, so it is not likely to present any challenging Physics ideas, but it looks very interesting.If you have opportunity on a decent night, the Leonids Meteor Shower should be going on right now, with the peak evening being Monday.  The November issue of Astronomy has a good article on observing the shower.


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 and Sky.  Be sure to identiry yourself as an NHAC member.

Loaner Telescopes after being a member for 6 months.

Opportunity to observe from Dark Sky Observing Sites.

Learn from Experienced Observers.

Astronomy Magazine subscriptions at a discount.

Membership in the Astronomical League, with multiple Observing Clubs available.

Included subscription to the Astronomical League magazine "Reflector".

Access to the NHAC Library

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.