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.

Nov 3 2017 Vote on Proposed Changes to Bylaws

by VP Don Selle

A quorum of the HAS BOD has voted unanimously to recommend that the Membership of HAS vote to adopt the following four proposed amendments to the bylaws described below. The full text of the amendments may be found here:

  1. DUES.  Delegate to the BOD the authority to set the dues provided that the membership is given at least 60 days prior notice of a possible change, and at least 30 days prior notice of the date time of the BOD meeting where a change in dues will be considered by the board.
  2. Quorum and Voting. Due to the growth of the membership of HAS, obtaining a quorum at the annual meeting where our officers directors and committee chairpersons are elected and other business of HAS is decided has been very uncertain. The current bylaws require 10% of the members attend the annual meeting in order for any vote of the membership to be valid. The proposed amendment lowers the quorum requirement to 5% of the membership, and establishes the possibility of having the membership vote electronically, provided that the BOD establishes voting procedures that meet minimum requirements
  3. Number of Directors. In order to increase the participation of the membership in the running of HAS, the third bylaw amendment, if adopted, will increase the number of Directors to seven (7) from the current five (5), with one of the Directors being a Student Member under 21 years of age. 
  4. BOD Meeting Attendance by Electronic Means.  Online meetings have become a well established means of doing business. In order to allow the HAS BOD to conduct valid on line meetings, Texas law require that our bylaws authorize such meetings. The proposed bylaw amendment does that and complies with State Law.

For your reference, the current Bylaws can be found here: https://www.astronomyhouston.org/content/bylaws

All members are encouraged to post questions or comments about the proposed amendments on the HAS website Forums. The topics will be monitored and questions answered. Provided you are first logged into the website, you will be able to access these Forum Topics in the Space Station V (lounge) Forum Area using these links:

  1. Dueshttps://www.astronomyhouston.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=819
  2. Quorum and Votinghttps://www.astronomyhouston.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=820
  3. Directorshttps://www.astronomyhouston.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=821
  4. Electronic BOD Meetingshttps://www.astronomyhouston.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=822

Asterisms – Kemble’s Cascade, Kemble 1

by Steve Goldberg

Asterism: a grouping of stars that form a recognizable pattern.
Camelopardalis.PNGConstellation: Camelopardalis
Right Ascension: R.A.: 03h 57m 04.0s
Declination: +63° 04' 00"
Magnitude:  5 to 10
Size: 2° 30” 
Found in the constellation Camelopardalis is a line of about 20 stars in a straight line that ends at NGC 1502, an open cluster.
Finding the constellation will be a challenge since there are no bright stars. Look for Polaris, Capella and the constellation Perseus. Camelopardalis is between those, as shown at right.
Look for the chain of stars as shown at left and follow it to the open cluster NGC 1502. Since this asterism is over 2 degrees long, you will have to follow the stars in the eyepiece. Or better, look for it in your finder or a pair of binoculars. 
This was discovered by Father Lucian Kemble but named by Walter Scott Houston in his column “Deep Sky Wonders” in Sky & Telescope magazine. Read more about the asterism in Wikipedia. Wikipedia Kemble's Cascade.
This object was on the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) in 2000.

President's Letter: Star-B-Que Oct 14, 2017

by Rene Gedaly

Annals of the Deep Sky by Jeff Kanipe and Dennis WebbI love this time of year. Coffee cup in hand, I open the blinds to the backyard and see the sun making a lower angle with the sky. Prime observing season starts soon, at least for me. Summer is way too hot, and while autumn skies are a little disappointing, if I stay up late enough I can catch winter's jewels in comfort.

Or maybe I just need to amp up my game. Do you have the Annals of the Deep Sky series yet? Andromeda, Aquarius, Aquila, and Aries, to name a few, are autumn constellations covered in depth in the first two volumes. This season I've come to deeply appreciate Kanipe & Webb's work. I had been focusing my visual efforts on popular observing lists. Consequently, I’d come to the wrongheaded notion that all that was worth seeing had already been sliced, diced, and listed. Not so. I enjoy this series so much, especially the "contemplative observing" notes.

Annual Picnic, aka Star-B-Que, Oct 14

It's time for a party, don't you agree? One of our best is the Annual Picnic at the Dark Site.


Stephen Jones will run one of his popular caravans to the Dark Site. Someone please video record this procession—what a sight! Then we'll start at 4:30 pm with a Halloween Costume Parade for kids of all ages. Applaud for your favorites and toss them a bag of candy. Then Dinner. Mike Edstrom and Don Selle will reprise their barbecue brisket, sausage and beans. Attention Vegetarians! Sherry Irby, Debbie Moran and crew haven't forgotten you this year—you'll have your own dinner line. After a bit of clean up, we’ll convene at the new bunkhouse for the official Ribbon Cutting. If you hammered a nail or toted a pail, you have a place around the deck—you’ll see. While it’s still light enough, Allen Wilkerson and Joe Khalaf will conduct a Novice Loaner Scope session and Bram Weisman will have table top scopes set up for the Kids SIG (parents required). Then comes Observing. As one of my last actions as president, I am decreeing clear skies. However, in case pride comes before a fall (read that “in case it’s cloudy”), we will have our first Movie Night: an astronomy-themed movie followed by a cheesy, public domain horror flick. A cake befitting the occasion will be served and the Coffee Bar will be open. Get your RSVPs in to astrageekette@gmail.com by Oct 10 or bring your own picnic dinner. But don’t stay home. We’re going all out to give a send off to a very special person.

Annual Meeting Nov 3 at UH. Prizes!

If you've read the website or Facebook group posts or even your HAS email, you know we have some bylaws changes to vote on at the Annual Meeting. We also need to vote on the 2018 leadership team. Remember, I will also take nominations from the floor so think about it. As of today, we need 61 members to physically show up at the meeting to make a quorum. Bring your associate members and double your chances at winning a fabulous grand prize: TheSkyX Professional Edition software by Software Bisque.

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