August 2015

August Star Party: The Gang was all there!

What a turn out!

The pads filled up early. The outer ring were those arriving by caravan which departed from the Whataburger in Columbus promptly at 6:00 p.m. Many of us took the Dark Site Orientationat the dark site. By the end of the constellation tour, the field was almost full. Still room for you next time!


August 2015 Star Party

Don't miss the next one

If you haven't been to the site in awhile, take a look at the private observatories that have gone up alreadyand more are on the way. The bunkhouse is always occupied and so were the RVs this past star party.

Kudos to Stephen Jones, FT&O, VP John Haynes, and Observatory Director Mike Edstrom and his team!


August 2015 Star Party

President's Message

Original article appears in GuideStar August, 2015.

by Rene Gedaly

Finder chart

The weather is hot and the nights are short but this is the time of year many of us can get to the observatory and dark site to do some imaging or observing and a little picnicking with the family. It wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable if it weren’t for the dedication of Allen Wilkerson maintaining the grounds. Fortunately there’s a motley grounds crew that pitches in, but for some time now it’s been Allen at the helm. If it’s Saturday and you don’t see Allen on the field, look for him elsewhere on the site, maybe the observatory where he’s likely maintaining some of the equipment there. We can’t thank you enough, Allen. And in case you new members don’t know, Allen is also our Telescope Chairman, an elected position at the Annual Meeting. Want to check out a telescope from the loaner library? Find Allen’s contact info on page 2 and see what he’s got available.

Board’s summer

New tractor. That new tractor Allen’s sitting on in the photo is a beauty and has enough power to handle the field grass. Mike Edstrom quickly found a buyer for the old tractor to offset the cost, which was supplied by an anonymous donor. Thank you!

Nominating Committee. As is our tradition, the Vice President chairs the nominating committee and VP John Haynes is already ramping up the search—look for his article elsewhere in this GuideStar. Make this the year you join a committee, head one up, or join the board.

Astronomy Day 2015. Jessica Kingsley is our HAS liaison for A-Day 2015. At each membership meeting from now until October, she’ll be going over how you can volunteer for what’s billed as The Biggest Astronomy Event in Southeast Texas! A-Day is Oct 24.

All Clubs Meeting Oct 23, 2015. Another tradition we have at the HAS is to hold the October membership meeting coincident with the All Clubs meeting when it falls in October, which it does this year. We’ll be voting on this change at the August 7 membership meeting. If you haven’t made it to an All Clubs yet, give it a try. It’s fun seeing folks from the other clubs, and the speakers are great, too. And then there’s the door prizes …

Horkheimer Library Telescope. We won! HAS has won one of ten Orion 4.5 inch StarBlast Dobsonian Telescopes equipped with a Celestron 8-24 mm zoom eyepiece and commemorative plate given by the Horkheimer Charitable Fund. Thanks, Doug McCormick , for tipping us off about the Astronomical League drawing, Bill Pellerin for completing the winning entry, and Bram Weisman who will be modifying the scope to make it indestructible. The scope will be available for check out from the Houston Public Library System. Talk about outreach!

Video Meetings. The board approved using video conferencing technology to conduct committee meetings and board meetings. Regularly scheduled board meetings will continue to be held face-to-face.

AstronomyHouston.COM That's right. Soon everyone will be able to find us using top level domains .com, .net, and .org. Thanks Mark Ferraz and everyone else who helped make this happen.


Observatory Corner

Original article appears in GuideStar August, 2015.

by Mike Edstrom, Observatory Director

Finder chart

During the very hot week of July 6th the observatory in Columbus was power washed, primed and painted thanks mainly to Fred Cyrway with a lot of help from Joel and Becky Brewer, Walt Cooney, Bill Flanagan, Ed Fraini, Dave Masera, Don Selle, Don Taylor and Rob Torrey. This was much needed and looks GREAT!!!  Please come out and see the difference yourself. 

On Friday and Saturday July 10th and 11th several private observatory owner purchased the paint and Fred and others painted their observatories for them. 

We are coming into the hotter time of the year so be sure to drink plenty of fluids when you come and take advantage of HAS’s most valued asset the Dark Site.  Please remember to fill out your observing log and put it in the center box on the observing field if you should forget we have them available on the website for your convenience just look on the Observatory page fill it in and submit it electronically.

As a safety reminder please read the sign posted on the side of the metal building at the Dark Site which has directions to the hospital and contact information for the sheriff’s department it also has the address to the site in case of a medical emergency.

An Easy Fund Raiser

If you have a Randall’s card, and have not done so, please have it coded for the Houston Astronomical Society.  Simply go to the Customer Service Booth and ask them to code your card to the Houston Astronomical Society’s “Good Neighbor” account.

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