Welcome to Houston Astronomical Society

Founded in 1955, Houston Astronomical Society is an active community of enthusiastic amateur and professional astronomers with over 60 years of history in the Houston area. The club meets on the first Friday of each month at the University of Houston. Membership has a variety of benefits, including access to a secure dark site west of Houston, a telescope loaner program, and much more. Joining our club is simple; you can sign up online, by mail or in person at a monthly meeting.

May 01, 2015: Comet Hunters Gene & Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy

Novice Meeting: 7:00PM
Novice Meeting Topic: 
Sky Navigation
Novice Meeting Speaker: 
Debbie Moran
General Meeting: 8:00PM
General Meeting Topic: 
Interview with Comet Hunters Gene & Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy
General Meeting Speaker: 
William Spizzirri
About the General Meeting Presentation

William Spizzirri

Says Mr. Spizziri about Comet Hunters Gene & Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy

"Several years ago I was fortunate to spend some time with those astronomers on Palomar mountain. They discussed their telescope, how they did their work there and their discoveries. I will share photos, and videos of my interviews with them and what I learned about the telescopes on Mt. Palomar. Prepare for a bit of time travel."

Bill Spizzirri has been an amateur astronomer for 50 years and has also been a member of an astronomy club near Chicago for 36 years and counting. He served there as President for two years and has held other offices. Bill is now a retired software analyst and grandpa of three. His main astronomy activity now is teaching children about our universe.


Parking and Directions (View Map)

Meetings are held in the Science & Research building at the University of Houston Main Campus. The novice meeting is in room 116, the general meeting is in room 117.

NOTE NEW PARKING INFORMATION: Parking is available in lot 15C. Refer to the Google Map below for directions. This parking is available from 6:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on the Friday night of the HAS meeting.

This parking is free. If you get a notice from the UH campus police on the night of the meeting, call the UH Security office and let them know that this area has been made available on HAS meeting night by the Parking Department.

Map to Parking

President's Message

Original article appears in GuideStar May, 2015.

by Rene Gedaly

We hope you’ve been enjoying our monthly meetings, both the novice sessions and the speakers at the general membership meetings. Longtime members will notice our meeting arrangements have changed a bit. We’ve found that meeting in the same room for both meetings helps streamline setup and allows the best sound system for all presenters ...

Texas Star Party. Are you going this year? Steve Goldberg has e-mailed Netslyder subscribers some especially good info about what to bring, how to set up on the field and where ...
Audit Committee. HAS is run by an army of volunteers, too. Here again we find Scott. You may have seen him recently filling in at the badge table or setting up a rather rickety easel ...
Urban Observing.  (C)oordinating the effort: Steve Munsey ... serving as a contact person for impromptu observing get togethers at George Bush park when good skies allow ... 
Observatory. Every time I get ready to share some breaking news about the observatory, I find Mike Edstrom has already moved on to the next big thing. In his April Observatory ...
Board Meeting. Speaking of board meetings, the next one is Tuesday, May 26, at the Houston Arboretum ... Don Selle will be facilitating at a workshop ... Your input will be solicited ...

Click read more for the complete article

Election to Fill Board Vacancy at May meeting

This is a notice to the membership that a special election will be held at the May HAS meeting to fill a vacancy on the HAS Board. Nominees must have been a member for at least one year and must have agreed to serve before being nominated. Nominations will be taken from the floor at the May meeting. Click the Read more button for duties and responsibilities.

Thuban‒The Once and Future Pole Star

Original article appears in GuideStar April, 2015.

by Bill Pellerin, GuideStar editor

Thuban Finder Chart

Object: Thuban
Class: Star
Magnitude: 3.7
R.A.:   14 h,  04 m,  23 s
Dec:   64 degrees,   22 minutes, 33 seconds
Distance:   309 ly
Constellation: Draco
Spectral:  A0
Optics needed:  Unaided eye, binoculars or a small telescope

Why this object is interesting:

This star is also known as Alpha Dra, even though it’s only the 7th brightest star in the constellation. Why? It’s not clear why, but the star has been and will again be the star closest to the projection of the north pole of the Earth.

It was in 2500 BC that the star Thuban was closest to the north pole. TheSky (software) puts it at approximately 1.5 degrees away from the pole. Polaris was 32 degrees from the pole. We all know that the Earth wobbles on its axis and completes a wobble cycle in 26,000 years. In another 2000 years or so Errai (Gamma Cep) in Cepheus will be our pole star...

President's Message

Original article appears in GuideStar April, 2015.

by Rene Gedaly

New Members by Month

You may have wondered how I’ve been able to quote all the membership numbers each month to give you a clearer idea of who we are, or at least how many. A president has access, but it’s not total, and as for me, I rely on the knowledge and commitment of the committee chairs. So I get my numbers from Steve Fast, our membership chair and keeper of the member database.


For Steve, members are more than numbers, more than entries in a database. While he’s careful to keep your membership data accurate and your private information protected, he’s also the one who greets new members to the club with his informative welcome e-mail and gives us all a heads up when it’s time to renew (you did renew, didn’t you?). He’s also the friendly face at the membership table each meeting, the stellar star-hopper at the dark site ready to lend a hand, and past Field Trip & Observing chair who inspired successor Stephen Jones to take up the baton. I think of Steve as a friendly HAS ambassador. Many others know him as a helpful friend.

by the numbers

If you’ve been to the dark site a few times, you know Ed Fraini. Ed was one of the group who gave me my observatory training and helped me find Albireo in the 12.5” f/5 telescope. Sure I was intimidated, maybe fear is a better word. But what a rush when I found that colorful double star system myself. I’d long wondered who those guys were coming in and out of the observatory. Ed was one of them. Still is.

Some months ago I asked Ed to be part of the Long Range Planning committee to test a concept: Can we learn something about who we are, where we are, and where we’re going just by looking at the numbers? Steve fed Ed the data he needed, and Ed took that data—nothing personally identifiable—and went to work. At his presentation to the board in March, he showed us how much he was able to tease out. Concept proved, and the board has given him the green light to continue. I include one of his informative charts in this article...

HAS Facebook Group now live ‒ Join today!

 The Houston Astronomical Society now has a Group on Facebook.

Groups are great because you can post news, photos, thoughts, and questions within the confines of our members-only group and with much less clutter.

Check it out:

     Log into your Facebook account.

     Go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/astronomyhouston.

Like what you see? If you're a member of HAS, click the Facebook Join button and one of the social media admins will let you in.

Not a member of HAS yet? What are you waiting for?

Access Members-Only Site Features

If you're a current member, you'll want to log in and check out the member features. As a member, you can view the observatory weather-cam, post photo galleries, send private messages to other members, post in the trading forum, view recorded presentations, and more. If you have a valid email address on file with the club, you already have an account ready to go. Here's how to access it:

  • Go to the Password Reset page
  • Type in your email address and click "E-mail new password"
  • Check your email and follow the instructions in the password reset message

If you have any problems, drop a note to webmaster@astronomyhouston.org and we'll get you sorted out.

HAS Online Store

Get Connected!

HAS has begun using RainedOut, a text message service, to communicate late-breaking news about events. Click here to learn more and subscribe!

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