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.

Notice of Bylaws Vote, 2015 Leadership Election at Annual Meeting Dec 5, 2014

The Annual Meeting of the Houston Astronomical Society is scheduled for December 5, 2014 at the University of Houston. See the web site (www.astronomyhouston.org) or the GuideStar (newsletter) for details.

Special Incentive: Door prizes… but only if there’s a quorum at the meeting

Your choice:
  • Baader Planetarium, Hyperion 72 degree Aspheric 2"/1.25" 31mm eyepiece

  • TeleVue 2.5x Powermate 1-1/4 Inch Barlow Lens

Plus other prizes!

There are two items that will be presented to the membership for a vote at this meeting:

  • Revisions to the bylaws of the Houston Astronomical Society
  • Election of Officers, Board Members, and Committee Leaders

Without having passed the revisions to the bylaws, the Society is operating under the current bylaws which requires 15% of the membership to be present to have a vote. At our current membership level, it takes 73 members present to have a quorum. HAS is close to 500 members strong.

Click read more for the entire meeting notice.

Caph—Beta Cas—A Star in Transition

Original article appears in GuideStar December, 2014.

Beta Cas

by Bill Pellerin, GuideStar editor

Object: Caph-Beta Cas
Class: Delta Scuti variable star
Magnitude: 2.25
R.A.: 00 h, 9 m, 11 s
Dec: 59 degrees, 08 minutes, 59 seconds
Distance: 55 ly
Constellation: Cassopeia
Spectral: F2
Optics needed: Unaided Eye

Why this object is interesting:
Beta Cas is an old star and like many old stars it is starting to show its age by becoming variable. In the categories of variable stars this one is called a Delta Scuti variable star and it has some common characteristics with Cepheid variable stars. Cepheids are famous because their intrinsic luminosity (power output) is related to their period of variability. Thus, they and the Delta Scuti variable stars allow astronomers to measure the distance to stars and star systems.

If you know the intrinsic brightness of a star it’s easy to determine the distance using the inverse square law. That is, the brightness we see is inversely proportional to the square of the distance.

Click read more for entire article...

Shallow Sky Object of the Month: CH Cyg — Symbiotic Star System

Original article appears in GuideStar November, 2014.

CH Cyg

by Bill Pellerin, GuideStar editor

Object: CH Cyg
Class: Symbiotic Star System
Magnitude: 6 to 8
R.A.: 19 h, 24 m, 33 s
Dec: + 50 degrees, 14 minutes, 29 seconds
Distance: 875 ly
Constellation: Cygnus
Optics needed: Small telescope

Why this object is interesting:

Williamina Fleming worked at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900’s classifying stars according to their spectra. It is her that you have to thank for classifying stars according to the strength of their hydrogen line (A stars had the most hydrogen, and subsequent letters had less). When it was decided to classify stars by color (temperature) the classifications were rearranged to OBAFGKM, with O stars being the hottest and bluest and M stars being the coolest and reddest. ...

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.

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