March 2015

Outreach Event: Spring Equinox Star Party at Houston Arboretum

Saturday 03/21/2015 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Houston Arboretum – Spring Equinox Star Party, rain or (star)shine, Houston Arboretum, Houston, TX - Setup 6:30 PM

Bill Flanagan will be coordinating a Star Party at the Houston Arboretum on Saturday, March 21st.  As part of our community outreach program, the HAS periodically shares the wonders of the night sky through our telescopes with guests at the Houston Arboretum. 

This coming event will focus on the Spring Equinox.  We are estimating about 75 guests at the event and Bill is looking for some volunteers to help out. There is more information about the event on the Houston Arboretum website at http://houstonarboretum.org/events/spring-equinox-star-party-032115/ . The event officially starts at 7:00 pm and runs to 10:00 pm. Sunset is at 7:36 pm. We will be arriving at the Arboretum at 6:30 pm to get set up in plenty of time before our guests start arriving at the meadow as it starts getting dark.

Please let Bill know if you would like to volunteer to help with this event and he will put you on the volunteer list he sends to the Arboretum. If you are a new member or if you haven’t participated in outreaches before, give this one a try, you will enjoy it!

Contact Bill Flanagan if you have any questions or would like to volunteer.

Blue Straggler Stars in NGC 188

Original article appears in GuideStar March, 2015.

by Bill Pellerin, GuideStar editor

NGC188 Finder Chart

Object: Blue Straggler Stars in NGC188
Class: Young stars in an old cluster
Magnitude: 8.10 (cluster)
R.A.:  00 h, 47 m, 28 s
Dec:  85 degrees,  15 minutes, 18 seconds
Distance:   5400 ly
Constellation: Cepheus
Spectral:  Various
Optics needed:  Small telescope

Why this object is interesting:

Astronomers study stars in open and globular clusters because the stars have the same age and they are the same distance from us. The variable in star clusters is the mass of the star, and the mass of the star determines how the star will live out its lifetime, how long this lifetime will be, and how the star will end its life (often a white dwarf for a low mass star and a supernova for a high mass star).

test again

President's Message

Original article appears in GuideStar March, 2015.

by Rene Gedaly

We do like to talk. No doubt you’ve noticed the smorgasbord of ways the Society is using to keep in touch. The new Facebook group, the website forums, private messages from within the website, Netslyder—our opt-in email list, the Tapatalk app for mobile phones... You’re reading this communication from within the GuideStar. Or is it from the website text article? It’s all good, and we all have our preferences. Mine is the forums, but I use most of the others. Bet you do, too.

Can you hear me now?

It’s amazing how quickly this happened. Though driven by recent member demand, you won’t be surprised to learn that months of preparation behind the scenes went into getting us here. Many of these initiatives were tried before, years before. The time wasn’t right. Now it is and we’ve got the membership and the resources to keep HAS relevant and responsive.

Web Technology team answers

Those resources include Mark Ferraz. Mark is chair of the new ad hoc Web Technology team and has officially been handed the reins as webmaster from Jeffery McLaughlin. Jeffery hasn’t left; he’s available to help when called though he’s enjoying a well-deserved break after migrating the entire website to a commercial hosting service in early February not to...

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