by Rene Gedaly
Getting around Greater Houston has never been easy. Increasingly I find myself wishing I could cut my commute time, travel only to the fun stuff, activities like hearing a talk on astronomy, helping with a school star party, or getting to the dark site, scope in tow.
That's why I'm particularly excited that a few of the directors are taking a look at the possibility of meeting remotely, primarily to conduct board business that can’t wait for the next face-to-face meeting. Being able to meet online is mature technology to be sure, think WebEx or Skype. Being able to do so at minimal cost for a good-sized nonprofit is an opportunity begging to be explored.
I've asked Mike Edstrom, who presented the idea, to chair the study team to find out if it could work for us. Bill Pellerin and Scott Mitchell will provide their perspectives and round out the group. We'll have to see what they come up with first, but I’m hoping more of us HAS members will want to join a committee as a result of their findings. With the possibility of committee meetings held online, we can reserve drive time for the fun stuff—getting to a star party, an HAS presentation, or an outreach event.
Cloudy nights won’t interfere with the Pluto flyby on July 14
It's months like these past ones that remind us why we add "armchair astronomy" to our list of interests. If you're into planetary and space science, though, the times have been anything but disappointing. Rosetta’s Philae lander woke up, twice as of this writing. Stunning images of the bright spots on heavily cratered Ceres arrive regularly from NASA’s Dawn probe. And then there’s the New Horizons Pluto Encounter. On its first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s New Horizons space probe will make its closest approach to Pluto on July 14. It’s going to be a media riot and a lot of fun. I know I’ll be watching for Bill Kowalczyk’s space news summaries.