March, 2015

Volume XV, Number 3

This Month's  remaining events

March 27 -- General Meeting, Kingwood College

Next Month's Events

April 3 -- Insperity Observatory Public Night

April 18 -- BarBeQue  Star Party, O'Brien Dark Site

April 24-- General Meeting, Kingwood College


February 27, 2015

Novice Program

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

Subject:  Lesser Moons, by Justin McCollum

(Professor Comet)


General Meeting

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

TBA, subject basically is food and nutrition for the ISS.

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


 1.  Messier Marathon coming up!


It is not news at this point that the Messier Marathon did not happen, on any schedule.  We absolutely were weathered out.  Oh, Well.


2.  The NHAC officers for 2015 are:

President --                               Aaron Clevenson

Vice-President--                        Bruce Pollard

Secretary--                               Susan Pollard

Treasurer--                               David Lambert

Newsletter Editor--                    Rusty Hill

Astronomical League Coord.--    James Barbasso

Webmaster--                             Justin McCollum

Observation Committee Chair-- James Billings

Membership Committee Chair-- David Tomlin

Board Approved Co-Chair--       Stuart Davenport

Program Committee Chair--      Todd Sullivan


3.  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."


4.  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.

5.  2015 Remaining General Meeting Schedule:

April 24

May 22

June 26

July 24

August 28

September 25

October 23

November 20

December 18


6. 2015 Remaining Executive Board Meeting Schedule:

NOTE: April TBA-- might replace the May schedule.

May 13

July 8

September 9

November 11

Star Party

April 18, 2015

Sunset will be 7:53 P.M.

Moonset will be 8:02 P.M.


For any who wish to observe on a night without a moon, notice the Saturday night/Sunday morning moonset is 8:02 P.M., give or take rounding errors.  It will be a really moonless night and should be good observing, weather permitting. 

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

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 club 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.

For planning, I am starting a practice of showing the information for the following month, due to the New Moon occurring a bit earlier each month, and the Star Parties being a week or two before the General Meeting.For February 14, there is a Star Party and combined Bar-Be-Que.  Sunset will be 6:11 P.M., and Moon Rise will not be until 3:00 A.M.



2015 Remaining Star Party Schedule

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

2015 Public Night

April 3, 2015.

Sunset will be at 7:41  P.M.

Doors will open at 7:30 P.M. or so 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 get to use, 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 don't know what it has been a good winter to be, but I do know what it has been a good winter NOT to be: an ASTRONOMER!  Frustrating, hasn't it been?

So I want to suggest something longer term to start thinking about and getting ready for:  The Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017.  The path of totality will stretch almost in a straight line from South Carolina to the Northwest through Nebraska to Oregon on the West Coast.(Well north of Texas, in other words.)  You can see it, but you need to make travel plans.  The eclipse will be during mid-day in the US, so it will be well situated with good timing for us to see it.  Check this link, as well as others:

or simply google <2017 solar eclipse>

I am going to try to find out what areas of the country are the most likely to have good weather in August, and start figuring travel plans.  For something of this rare nature, I may just buy some sort of a (used) travel trailer so I can decide at the last minute where I want to be.I believe equipment can be minimal:  A small "regular" scope with a GOOD QUALITY solar filter for a basic setup.  Yes, I am yelling: GOOD QUALITY solar filter.  Don't take chances.  And I might acquire a Coronado PST with the Hydrogen Alpha filter.  My thought now is to set up the Hydrogen Alpha to take a sequence of pictures, and use the simple scope and GOOD QUALITY solar filter to watch it with.

Did I mention the filter should be GOOD QUALITY?

See you at the meeting on Friday.

Clear Skies, All,


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.