NEXT MEETING (via Zoom): January 28
Main program speaker: Justin McCollum Topic: Stellarium (details).
Join us at 6:30 pm for our novice talk and 7:30 pm for our main presentation!

January Virtual Meeting

Jamie Published on January 11, 2022

Join us for the next virtual NHAC meeting on January 28th!  

The novice session with Robert Brayton begins at 6:30 p.m. The session will include a discussion on software for amateur astronomers. The main presentation, given by Justin McCollum, starts at 7:30 p.m. Justin’s presentation topic will be Stellarium.

(Check back here on the day of the meeting to get the Zoom link so you can join us!)

Stellarium: The Common Astronomer’s Planetarium

Stellarium is considered the most famous and internationally recognized planetarium software program for astronomers as well as professionals in science education who teach Astronomy. This program is an international collaboration that includes the work of hundreds of computer programmers, amateur astronomers, and space enthusiasts. While Stellarium does not have all the features found in programs that you pay for, like TheSkyX and SkyTools, it is constantly evolving with each new update. New features added to Stellarium include 24 different DSO catalogs, an astronomical database table for calculations, and projecting astro images against the night sky.

About Justin McCollum:

Justin received two degrees in physics from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, in 2002 and 2005. He has been the Physics Laboratory Coordinator for the Department of Physics at Lamar University since January 2005.  He has taught Astronomy and Orbital Mechanics in departments for the College of Arts and Sciences at Lamar University. He was the Instructor in Physics and Astronomy for the Texas Governor School Summer Camp for the College of Education and Human Development at Lamar University from 2007 until 2021. Other courses Justin taught at TGS were Introduction to Engineering, Robotics, and Software Programming using CAD-based Python and Blender programs. 

Justin is currently a Co-Building Manager at the George Astronomical Observatory with HMNS at Brazos Bend State Park, and has been volunteering there since 2005. He is a part-time education instructor with Space Center University at Space Center Houston next to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Since December 2020, he has been working part-time with Ariel Partners out of New York City as the Orbital Mechanics Data Specialist in conjunction with Leidos. Justin volunteers for and is a member of all four astronomy clubs in the Greater Houston Area.