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.

Remounting the C14 at the Observatory

C14 remount.png

Observatory Committee Chairman Mike Edstrom took possession of a new mount for the observatory C14 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope last week. Saturday Dec 3, work to install began.

Left to right in the photo are Observatory Committee members Allen Wilkerson, Don Selle, and Chris Ober. Photo credit: Ed Fraini

Note: Work on the new bunkhouse is scheduled for Saturdays Dec 10 and Dec 17 at 9:00 am. Contact Mike Edstrom, observatory@astronomyhouston.org, to let him know you’ll be there.

President’s letter

Original article appears in GuideStar December, 2016.

by Rene Gedaly

What did you think of the Mendenhall Center? I’m betting a good time was had by all, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. Not only was Mendenhall a great place to have our end-of-year party, it was also a test of moving our meetings further west.

SHOULD WE MOVE?

Personally, I like all that UH offers, not to mention the ease of setup and our association with a major university. But after years of talking about moving west, it was time to dip our toes in the water. We won’t be changing our meeting venue this year but if you have strong opinions about it, do let me know: president@astronomyhouston.org

CHECK OUT THE PLANNING MEETING JANUARY 28 AT THE DARK SITE

January 2017 will be the third year the leadership comes together to plan the year ahead. This year we’ll be meeting at our own place, the HAS Observatory & Dark Site, in our own meeting space, the East Room of the new Bunkhouse. If you’re out there—it’s new moon—come see what it’s all about.
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HAS Women’s SIG Hands-On Telescope and Observing Lab

Original article appears in GuideStar November, 2016.

by Amelia Goldberg

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The HAS Women’s SIG hands-on telescope and observing lab held at the Dark Site after the picnic was a HUGE success! We had 22 female members RSVP for the event. 

Rene started things rolling by talking about the three different kinds of telescopes we had on hand: refractor, Schmidt-Cassegrain, and Dobsonian reflector. We had a sort of telescope “petting zoo” where the women learned how to use the telescopes and find things on their own.  

Rene pointed out some bight deep sky objects with a green laser and then gave the laser to Jayne Lambert to do a constellation tour along with an interesting mythology lesson. Rene went on to teach Andrea Kowalczyk planisphere skills so she could then show the other women how to use them. Since our laser was hard to see, Joe Khalaf used his laser to point out objects in the sky and I would find them in my telescope for the women to observe.  Don Selle also took a small group to work with. There were several small manageable groups learning different things and everyone was helping each other out.  Rene had reserved the f/5 telescope in the main observatory building and the women were also able to use that scope to find objects in the sky. Steve Goldberg was our photographer for the event.

It was a wonderful evening and everyone had a great time.

No more to read!

Outreach: Seven Reasons to Volunteer

Original article appears in GuideStar November, 2016.

Outreach benefits YOU. Joe Khalaf gives seven reasons why participating in HAS outreach events can help you become a better astronomer.

  1. You will have an excuse to observe when you can't make it to the club's dark site
  2. Outreach will make you (yes you) a better astronomer
  3. You will get to learn from others
  4. You can use the time at the outreach event to work on your astronomical league challenges
  5. There is an astronomical league award for outreach
  6. You can test out that new telescope or eyepiece you've considered buying
  7. You'll get a lot back in sharing your time, skill, and talents with others

Intrigued? Take a look at Joe’s article in the November 2016 GuideStar.

Shallow Sky Object of the Month: The Clear Daytime Sky

Original article appears in GuideStar November, 2016.

HoustonSky.PNGby Bill Pellerin

Object: The Clear Daytime Sky
Optics needed: Unaided eye

Why is the sky blue instead of some other color, or no color? Most of us know why, in general, the sky is blue, don’t we?  The short, quick answer is that it has something to do with the scattering of blue light from the by the atmosphere.

SO, WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN THE TIME THE LIGHT LEAVES THE PHOTOSPHERE OF THE SUN AND THE TIME IT REACHES US? THE MOST SIGNIFICANT EVENT IN THAT JOURNEY IS THE LAST 10 OR 20 MILES OF ITS TRIP, IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF PLANET EARTH.

Light of different colors is electromagnetic radiation of different wavelengths. You may remember the name Roy G. Biv from school… the name was to help you remember...

Observatory Corner

Original article appears in GuideStar November, 2016.

New Bunkhouse East.PNGby Mike Edstrom, Observatory Director

The new bunkhouse is getting very close to completion. The West room is almost ready for paint as the sheetrock is up and ready for taping. The ceiling sheetrock is up on the East room and progress is being made on the walls. The exterior is ready for covering we hope to have it completed by the end of the year. 2016 Picnic & Open House.PNG

We had a great Open House and Picnic on October 22nd thanks to Stephen Jones and Mario Moreno. Steve Munsey held the first Swap Meet and several items astronomical items were traded or sold.Fall weather is here and the cool dark skies are waiting for you at the Columbus Dark Site. Hope to see you there soon.

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