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

by Mike Edstrom, Treasurer

CalendarReminder2.PNGTime to RENEW YOUR HAS MEMBERSHIP so you can take your 2019 Dark Site Training January 1st and get the new gate code before it changes on March 3rd! HAS memberships run from 1 January to December 31. Fortunately, renewing your membership is fast and easy!

As a renewing member you will continue to be part of one of the most active and fun astronomy clubs in Texas and continue to have access to our member benefits including:

  • Supporting our active outreach programs which show the night sky to school children and the public, and encourages interest in STEM activities
  • Access to our controlled access dark sky observing site in Columbus
  • Active Novice Astronomer programs including Nite Sky Labs at our dark sky site which teach you how to use your telescope and navigate the night sky
  • Access to our growing library of online videos of presentations of interest to both Novice and Seasoned Astronomers alike

Membership dues are a bargain. Dues amounts:

  • Regular - $36/year
  • Associate - $6 (lives at same address as regular member)
  • Student - $12 (full-time student)
  • Sustaining - $50 or more (if you want to give a little extra to keep the club strong)

As always there are three ways to renew:

  1. Renew online with PayPal - Login to your account at https://www.astronomyhouston.org/members/renew
    We greatly appreciate if you pay by PayPal because it automates the process.  With over 600 members, it saves us a lot of work.
  2. Renew at a monthly meeting and pay by check or cash.
  3. Mail a check the old-fashioned way to Treasurer, Houston Astronomical Society, PO Box 6657, Katy, TX 77491.

We hope that you will continue to support HAS and look forward to seeing you at our next meeting or event at the Columbus dark sky site!

Great time at the 2018 All Clubs Meeting

by Rene Gedaly

Dr. C. Renee James, Sam Houston University, spoke to a packed crowd at the Houston Museum of Natural Science for the 2018 All Clubs Meeting. All Presidents Lineup: HAS President Don Selle, 4th from left, center photo

Photo credit: Sarah Silva


What’s Up, Houston – September 2018

By Joe Khalaf, Vice President and Outreach Chairperson – Houston Astronomical Society

Welcome to the first edition of What’s Up, Houston. This will be a monthly article to highlight some of the neat things those of us living in the Houston area can see by simply looking up. Some of these items will require “looking up” with binoculars or a telescope for the best views, so if you don’t own either of those, be sure to look for an upcoming outreach event by the Houston Astronomical Society to try and catch a glimpse of what the heavens above have to offer.


Though we’ve passed opposition for Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, September is still a great time to observe these planets during the evening and night times.  For those who don’t know, opposition is when a planet with an orbit further away from the sun than ours (basically, every planet except Mercury and Venus), happens to lie on the opposite side of the sky from the sun.  This also happens to coincide closely to the closest approach that planet has to earth.  Subsequently, these planets appear biggest and brightest around these times.  These three planets, as well as Venus, make for a great set of targets for telescopes and binoculars. 


Looking west/southwest, bright Venus lingers over the horizon for about an hour after sunset, then sets for the rest of the night.  Because Venus is an “inferior” planet (i.e., its orbit lies between the earth’s orbit and the sun), it’s shape often mimics that of the moon – with multiple phases, including thing crescents and “half” Venuses...  click read more below

Houston, September 7, 2018 @7:00PM

As seen from Houston on September 7, 2018 @ 7:00PM  Image courtesy of Stellarium

Asterisms - Herman's Cross

by Steve Goldberg

Asterism: a grouping of stars that form a recognizable pattern.
Constellation: Sagittarius
Right Ascension:  20h 00m 00.0s
Declination: -27° 00' 00"
Magnitude: 4
Size: 2 degrees

This binocular or finder size asterism in Sagittarius looks like its name: a cross.
This asterism is on the Astronomical League’s Asterism Observing Program. You can read about the naming of Herman’s Cross here.


October 05, 2018: HAS Monthly Meeting

Novice Meeting: 7:00PM
Novice Meeting Topic: 
Novice Meeting Speaker: 
General Meeting: 8:00PM
General Meeting Topic: 
Dusty Mars – The 2018 Apparition of Mars
General Meeting Speaker: 
Bill Flanagan
About the General Meeting Presentation

Dusty Mars – The 2018 Apparition of Mars

Mars reached opposition with the Sun on July 27, 2018 and made it closest approach to us on July 31st when it was only 35.8 million miles from Earth.  Although this year’s apparition of Mars provided us with our closest look at Mar’s since 2003, a small dust storm developed on Mars in May and by June had grown so large that it covered the entire planet.  As a result, a lot amateur astronomers here on Earth were disappointed to find the typical surface features observable during an opposition of Mars were lost behind a shroud of dust.  However as the dust began to settle, the anticipation of detecting changes to these surface details from the dust storm began to replace some of the disappointment of observing a virtually featureless globe of Mars during the height of the dust storm.

This month’s presentation will review how these dust storms develop and progress on Mars and how over time they have changed the observable features on Mars.  We will also explore what we have to look forward to in future apparitions of Mars.

Speaker - Bill Flanagan

Bill has been an active amateur astronomer since he built his first telescope (a 6” f/8 reflector) when he was a teenager.  He became fascinated with Mars when he pointed his newly built telescope at Mars during the 1969 opposition.  Bill still looks forward to what interesting things Mars has to show us every two years when it passes close to Earth.  In 2005 he began imaging Mars from his backyard and has recorded every apparition since.  Bill also has been a member of HAS since 1987, serving on the board of directors and as Treasurer and Secretary over various times from 1996 to 2015.

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

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