October 2015

Save the Skies! Take Action on this Petition

Petition to the CIty of Houston and CenterPoint Energy re total LED street light replacement:  A request for new efficient low glare warm white LED street lights


Please take a look at this petition to ask the City of Houston to install improved LED street lighting that will give better visibility for people inside Houston and better skies for those outside the City:


Regional All Clubs Meeting 7 pm tonight at HMNS

It's a Go: Regional All Clubs Meeting 7 pm tonight at HMNS

Where: Houston Museum of Natural Science - Arnold Space Hall, 1 Hermann Circle Drive, Houston 77002. For map & directions: http://astronomyday.net/regional_meeting.html
When: Friday, October 23rd, 2015
Registration, T-Shirt Sales, Refreshments: Starting at 7:00 PM
Meeting: 7:30 to 10:00 PM
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Pat Reiff, Rice University

“Space Weather and the MMS Mission”
Abstract: The MMS (Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission) is a constellation of four identical robotic spacecraft that fly in a tetrahedral pattern. This mission builds upon the success of the ESA Cluster mission which is still in operation for the purpose of study and investigating changes in the Earth’s magnetosphere over the time period equal to one entire solar cycle. MMS surpasses the Cluster mission in both spatial and temporal resolution with the purpose of investigating magnetic reconnection and regions of electron diffusion phenomena. Launched in March 2015 the mission is broken up into three phases with the science phase lasting 2.5 years. This a combined project of both the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Outreach Report: Benefit for Sophia Sereni

This was a dinner and auction event at Claudio's Piano Bar and Restaurant in League City.  Sophia is Claudio's dauther, and she's fighting leukemia.  HAS donated three private observing sessions for the auction table.

Big thanks to Allen Wilkerson who ran his 9" and my 6" on the patio while I circulated the tables to promote the star party certificates. I had my 12" on display to show folks we mean business. The certificates all went for about $80 each, so we netted Sophia about $240. I also paid for Facebook promotion of the event, which reached about 1000 people, and I believe I saw some of the folks who liked the post at the event. I also met two telescope owners, and trained them how to collimate with a laser, using my 12" as a demo... Click the read more button.


To participate in outreach events, contact Joe Khalaf.

Notice of Annual Meeting of the Membership Nov 6, 2015

Members will vote to elect officers, directors, and committee chairpersons of standing committees.To throw your hat in the ring, contact VP John Haynes, Nominating Committee Chairperson. Currently the Membership Committee Chair is Open.

OFFICERS                                                  INCUMBENTS                                           CANDIDATES
 President                                                    Rene Gedaly                                               Rene Gedaly
 Vice President                                            John Haynes                                               Ed Fraini
                                                                                                                                        Karl Baltz
 Secretary                                                    Bill Flanagan                                              Mark Holdsworth
 Treasurer                                                    Don Selle                                                   Don Selle

 DIRECTORS (5)                                                                                                           
                                                                        Mark Holdsworth                                       Justin McCollum
                                                                        Jessica Kingsley                                       Jessica Kingsley
                                                                        Bill Kowalczyk                                           Bill Kowalczyk
                                                                        Debbie Moran                                           Debbie Moran
                                                                        Bram Weisman                                         Bram Weisman

 STANDING COMMITTEES                                                                                        

   Audit                                                            Scott Mitchell                                           Scott Mitchell
   Education & Outreach                                 Bram Weisman                                        Debbie Moran (co-chair)
                                                                                                                                        Joe Khalaf (co-chair)
   Field Trip and Observing                           Stephen Jones                                           Stephen Jones
   Membership                                               Steve Fast                                                 OPEN
   Novice                                                        Debbie Moran                                           Debbie Moran
   Observatory                                               Mike Edstrom                                            Mike Edstrom
   Program                                                     Justin McCollum                                       Justin McCollum
   Publicity                                                      Bram Weisman                                         Bram Weisman
   Telescope                                                  Allen Wilkerson                                         Allen Wilkerson

Good Times at the Picnic and Open House

The HAS annual picnic was a rousing success. By 5 pm, the site was full of people setting up scopes and working up an appetite for some delicious food. John Haynes did a site orientation for anyone who hadn't done it previously, and then dinner was served. Big thanks to Mike Edstrom for cooking up some delicious barbecue, and to Don Selle for making his world-famous beans. Thanks also to everyone who brought desserts to share. They were delicious!

After dinner, Rene Gedaly, John Haynes, and I manned the telescopes in the observatory and showed off what they could do. We showed off some nice detailed views of the Ring Nebula (M57), the Dumbbell Nebula (M27), M15, and others; John found Pluto in the C14.

Lots of folks enjoyed some good observing in their own scopes as well. Most people left at the 12 o'clock light window, but several people stayed the whole night, pitching tents or sleeping in their vehicle. Even the bunkhouse was full. My fiancee and I ended up sleeping in the observatory.

Truly a wonderful night for all.

Stephen Jones
Field Trip & Observing

The Field is starting to fill up
HAS Astronomy Village
Have Scope, Will Travel
Site orientation in session...
...to a full house of new members
No one went away hungry thanks to our in-house chefs
A little piece of heaven
Another amateur astronomer overcomes his fear and dives in
The Chopper Crew
Welcome and thank you to all the guests and new members who checked out the observatory open house. Come back real soon!

Shallow Sky Object of the Month: Theta Ser/Alya—Double Star

Original article appears in GuideStar October, 2015.

Theta Serpens Cauda

By Bill Pellerin, GuideStar Editor

Object:  Theta Ser / Alya (SAO124068)
Class:  Double Star
Constallation:  Serpens (Cauda)
Magnitude:  4.6
R.A.:    18 h 56 m 13 s
Dec:    4 deg 12 min 13 sec
Size/Spectral:  A5V, Separation 22”
Distance:   132 ly
Optics needed: Binoculars or small telescope

Serpens is the only constellation in the sky that is split into two pieces, Serpens Cauda (the tail of the serpent) and Serpens Caput (the head of the snake). Neither Serpens Cauda, nor its other half, Serpens Caput get much love from amateur astronomers. Serpens Cauda hosts M16, the Eagle Nebula, and Serpens Caput hosts M5, a nice globular cluster.

Visually, this is a terrific double star to observe. I happened on in as the result of an article by Sue French in Sky & Telescope magazine. Nice and bright, with two stars of similar magnitudes. The brighter star is only slightly brighter at magnitude 4.62 and the dimmer star is at 4.98 magnitude. These are knock-your-eyes out A class main sequence stars, with diameters twice that of our Sun and luminosities (intrinsic brightnesses) of 18 and 15 times the Sun...

Click the read more button for rest of article.

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