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. Through education and outreach, our programs promote science literacy and astronomy awareness. We meet 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 is simple; you can sign up online, by mail or in person at a monthly meeting.

Time To Renew Your Membership

It’s a busy time of year. With the Holidays fast approaching and the New Year around the corner, you’ve got lots to do – decorate for the holidays, gift shopping, and planning for family events. Its also time to RENEW YOUR HAS MEMBERSHIP!

HAS memberships run from 1 January to December 31. Fortunately, renewing your membership is fast and easy!

Geminid Meteor Shower Star Party

Join the Houston Astronomical Society on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, for a FREE star party.  We’re going to be at Sheldon Lake State Park that night to look for Geminid meteors as they enter the earth’s atmosphere.  The Geminids are one of the best meteor showers of the year, and under ideal conditions, as many as 120 mteors can be seen per hour (skies with more light pollution will cause this number to drop.)

The Geminids are believed to be from debris originating from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon.  As the earth crosses the debris stream, particles slam into the atmosphere at around 22 miles per second!  That’s what creates the “shooting star” streak across the sky.

In addition to meteor hunting, we’ll also have a number of telescopes on hand to look for other deep-sky objects.  Entry to Sheldon Lake State Park is free, and this event is for all age groups.

Bring a chair or blanket to lay on – this will be helpful for staring up at the meteors, as well as bug spray, and a red flashlight, if you have one.  We want to avoid using white light, as to give us a chance to get better adapted to the dark skies.

If you have any questions, email outreach@astronomyhouston.org.  We’ll see you there!

 

 


Where to find Geminids (facing ENE on Dec. 13 at 9:00 PM):

2017-12-08_00-11-48.jpg

Asterisms – “37”, NGC 2169, Collinder 83

By: Steve Goldberg

Asterism: a grouping of stars that form a recognizable pattern.

Constellation: Orion
Right Ascension: 06 h, 08 m 25s
Declination: 13o 57’ 54”
Magnitude:  5.9
Size: 6’ (minutes)

 

 

The object NGC 2169 is an asterism that looks like the number “37”. It is easily located near the bend of Orion’s out stretched arm, above the star Betelgeuse, near star Xi 70 Ori. 2169 is officially classified as an open cluster with other catalog names of Collinder 83 (CR 83) and OCL 481 (Open Cluster).

The FOV in the second picture is from a 10” Dob with a 15mm eyepiece. A reflecting telescope gives you an upside down image.

 

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