November 2014

Shallow Sky Object of the Month: 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...

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 ( 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.

Annual Meeting Dec 5, 2014

This year's Annual Meeting will be held December 5, 2014 at 8 pm in UH building SR1, Room 117.

In addition to our speaker, the program includes a vote on

  • The 2015 leadership slate
  • Changes to the bylaws
Get specifics about bylaws changes this page below.
See the November GuideStar for the leadership slate. Also reserved parking at UH for HAS members.

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. ...

No HAS meeting at UH Nov 7. All Clubs Meeting Nov 7. Annual Meeting Dec 5, 2014

There will be no HAS meeting at UH Friday, Nov 7, 2014. Instead, members are encouraged to attend the 2014 All Clubs meeting at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on November 7, 2014. Information about this event is available at this web address: Note that this date is the first Friday of November and the Annual Meeting of the Houston Astronomical Society would otherwise be on this day. As voted on by the membership, the 2014 Annual Meeting will be held December 5th instead.

Astronomy Day 2014!

Hello Fellow HAS members,

This is a general call for more volunteers for this coming Astronomy Day at the George Observatory (8 November 2014) this Saturday!

We are looking for a huge turnout of amateur astronomers for the 2014 All - Clubs Meeting at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences this coming Friday (7 November 2014!).

Right now we are short of volunteers for every aspect of volunteer duties that need to be filled from Crowd Assistants or Door Assistants in the Research Dome to help with Security and Parkingfor the huge crowds estimated for Astronomy Day this weekend at Brazos Bend State Park! I am hoping that each and everyone of you if you can to come out and help us out in volunteering or participating in any way for either the All - Clubs meeting this coming Friday or Astronomy Day the following day at Brazos Bend State Park! We would very much appreciate it if we could get a huge turnout of the club for this special weekend.

Please go to the Astronomy Day website for more information:
There is plenty of information from when the all - clubs meeting begins, who we have as our main speaker for the all - clubs meeting, what events are going on during Astronomy Day, and all planned evening events!

If you wish more information on Astronomy Day 2014 please contact me at [email protected].
Please contact any of the individuals on the links to the main webpage at for more information on volunteering for a variety of open and available spots for Saturday!

Professor Comet
Justin McCollum
2014 Astronomy Day Coordinator

More information will be available shortly!

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