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.

February 06, 2015: Monthly HAS Meeting

Novice Meeting: 7:00PM
Novice Meeting Topic: 
Observing Jupiter
Novice Meeting Speaker: 
Bill Flanagan
General Meeting: 8:00PM
General Meeting Topic: 
Other Suns, Other Earths
General Meeting Speaker: 
Brian Cudnik
About the General Meeting Presentation

Brian Cudnik discusses the status of our search for our "home away from home" in another planetary system. This presentation includes a brief introduction to exoplanets, along with some visualization of what they may look like, with an emphasis on Earth-like worlds around other stars.Cudnik shares the latest score on how many planets we have found and highlights some of the most interesting multi-planet systems that the Kepler satellite has found to date.

At the Novice meeting:  The February 6th meeting occurs just as Jupiter is reaching opposition or the closest point in its orbit to us. Expert planetary imager Bill Flanagan will speak on “Observing Jupiter” and tell us everything you wanted to know about Jupiter as well as introduce you to what is involved in becoming a good planetary imager.  In the future we will look at having a more detailed talk dedicated to planetary imaging.

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

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?

Shallow Sky Object of the Month: Diadem—Alpha Com

Original article appears in GuideStar January, 2015.

The Diadem

by Bill Pellerin, GuideStar editor

Update: The AAVSO has posted a notice on its web site that the eclipse will not happen at the anticipated date and time.

Object: Diadem—Alpha Com
Class: Double Star
Magnitude: 4.32
R.A.: 13 h, 9 m, 59 s
Dec: 17 degrees, 31 minutes, 48 seconds
Distance: 47 ly
Constellation: Coma Berenices
Spectral: F2
Optics needed: Unaided Eye

Why this object is interesting

The name of this star means crown or other ornament representing royalty. In this case the crown is in the constellation Coma Berenices (Berenice’s hair) and this star represents the crown on the head of queen Berenice.

All well and good, but the thing that makes this star interesting to observers is that it is a binary star consisting of two mag 5 stars very near each other and with an orbital period of about 26 years. Remember that orbiting objects orbit around the center of mass of the system, so, in this case it’s more like a dance in the sky than it’s like a low mass object orbiting a high mass object.

President's Message

Original article appears in GuideStar January, 2015.

by Rene Gedaly, HAS president

Thank you for voting in the 2015 leadership team; they’re a dynamic group and you can expect continued great things from them. I’m honored to be the next HAS president, and before talking about plans for 2015, I'd like to reflect on how much has been accomplished during the tenures of my recent predecessors.
The framework for a 21st century society
The new website had its genesis while Ken Miller was president and it continues to transform our organization. Gordon Houston developed a new set of observers through his basic observational astronomy class, a well-attended urban observing program, and his two-minute drill that brought basic astronomy education to the general membership meeting. The scaffolding was now in place for an HAS renaissance.

Elected leaders for 2015

Congratulations to these members elected to leadership positions for 2015 at the December 5, 2014 Annual Membership meeting:

Office Officer / Director Committee Chairperson
President Rene Gedaly Audit Scott Mitchell
Vice President John Haynes Education & Outreach Bram Weisman
Secretary Bill Flanagan Field Trip & Observing Stephen Jones
Treasurer Don Selle Membership Steve Fast
Director Ash Alashqar Novice Debbie Moran
Director Mark Holdsworth Observatory Mike Edstrom
Director Jessica Kingsley Program Justin McCollum
Director Debbie Moran Publicity Bram Weisman
Director Bram Weisman Telescope Allen Wilkerson

HAS Texas 45 Honor Roll

Congratulations to the following members who have completed the HAS Texas 45 observing program. A special congratulations to newest awardee, Clayton Jeter, who earned the gold level award by star hopping to 65 objects, 15 objects each season plus 5 solar system objects of his choice.

  • Clayton Jeter, gold level award, 65 objects via star hopping, certificate #7
  • Steve Fast, gold level award, 65 objects via star hopping, certificate #1
  • Rob Torrey, silver level award, 65 objects, certificate #2
  • Rene Gedaly, gold level award, 65 objects via star hopping, certificate #3
  • Chris Thiede, gold level award, 65 objects via star hopping, certificate #4
  • Amelia Goldberg, silver level award, 45 objects via star hopping, certificate #5
  • Craig Lamison, silver level award, 45 objects via star hopping, certificate #6

For more information about the HAS Texas 45 observing program, check out the Programs section of this website.

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, edit your club profile, send private messages to other members, post in the trading forum, 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.

March 06, 2015, 8:00PM: Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle SciGuy

Eric Berger is the science writer for the Houston Chronicle. For his coverage of Hurricane Ike the Chronicle was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009. Berger is coming to HAS in March and will be speaking on Adrift: Does America have a future in space?

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!

Night Sky Network