December 2016

Join Slooh for a Winter Solstice Sun Salutation

Mark the Changing Seasons with
Live Feeds of the Sun All Morning Long

On Wednesday, December 21, at 2:30 AM PST | 5:30 AM EST | 10:30UTC (International Times:, Slooh will host a special livestream celebrating the moment of the Winter Solstice with live views of the Sun. Those live views will be anchored by Slooh’s special solar telescope at their flagship observatory at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands and will be supported by live feeds from their partner observatory in Dubai.

During the live broadcast, host, Gerard Monteux, will be joined by Slooh’s Human Spirit Correspondent, Helen Avery, to discuss how the Sun and Solstice play an important role in the history of humanity, in modern spirituality, and in practices like yoga and meditation. It’s all building up to the moment of the Winter Solstice at precisely 2:44 AM PST | 5:44 AM EST | 10:44UTC, when Slooh will mark the moment when Fall becomes Winter, a moment of global transition from one season to another, a tangible event that demonstrates the movement of our Solar System and the connectedness of our world.

Following that moment, Helen will help viewers welcome the new season with a guided Sun Salutation. Viewers are encouraged to get up out of their chairs and join Slooh in a yoga and meditation session to open their minds and spirits and start the day, and season, in a calm and mindful way.

The live show is only part of Slooh’s Solstice celebration, however. In the hours before, and throughout the morning following the livestream, Slooh will provide an uninterrupted livestream of the Sun from the Canary Islands. The stream will be available on social media, as well as in the embedded video provided below and will run from 2 AM to Noon EST.

Viewers can join in on the Solstice celebration by tweeting their own Solstice moments to @Slooh, or by joining in the live chat on Facebook.

You can go to to join and watch this live broadcast, snap and share your own photos during the event, chat with audience members and interact with the hosts, and personally control Slooh’s telescopes.

Vote to approve addition of Advisory Director

Brian Cudnik

With the support of the board of directors, President Rene Gedaly is honored to submit Mr. Brian Cudnik for designation as an Advisory Director for 2017. A voice vote to approve will be taken at the January 6, 2017 general membership meeting.

Brian is a longtime member of the Houston Astronomical Society, has served as a member of its board of directors, and is presently an associate member of the American Astronomical Society, a member of the American Association of Variable Star Observers and a regular contributor of observations at the International Occultation Timing Association.

An author of several books on astronomy, Professor Cudnik teaches laboratory physics at Prairie View A&M University, a part of the Texas A&M University System.


No more info

Recording of 2016 Geminids Meteor Shower

You can go to to join and watch this live broadcast, snap and share your own photos during the event, chat with audience members and interact with the hosts, and personally control Slooh’s telescopes.

Bunkhouse Work Party: The sides are up! Join us Dec 17 at 1 pm


The observatory committee crew was on a roll. All the outer walls went up at the bunkhouse work party Dec 10, 2016

Shown from left to right as the last panel goes up are Evan Gedaly, Ray Gedaly, Rob Torrey, Ed Fraini, Allen Wilkerson, and Walt Cooney. Thank you also to new member Tom Morin who was working inside. Photo credit: Rene Gedaly

Join us at the next work party!

Date:    Saturday, Dec 17, 2016
Time:    1 pm – 5 pm
RSVP:   Mike Edstrom by noon Thursday, Dec 15, 2016

We need to finish the soffits and the exterior siding on both ends of the building. Once this is finished we only have interior work before the building is complete!!

Remounting the C14 at the Observatory

C14 remount.png

Observatory Committee Chairman Mike Edstrom took possession of a new mount for the observatory C14 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and Saturday Dec 3 work to install began.

Left to right in the photo are Observatory Committee members Allen Wilkerson, Don Selle, and Chris Ober. Photo credit: Ed Fraini

Note: Work on the new bunkhouse is scheduled for Saturdays Dec 10 and Dec 17 at 9:00 am. Contact Mike Edstrom, [email protected], to let him know you’ll be there.

President’s letter

Original article appears in GuideStar December, 2016.

by Rene Gedaly

What did you think of the Mendenhall Center? I’m betting a good time was had by all, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. Not only was Mendenhall a great place to have our end-of-year party, it was also a test of moving our meetings further west.


Personally, I like all that UH offers, not to mention the ease of setup and our association with a major university. But after years of talking about moving west, it was time to dip our toes in the water. We won’t be changing our meeting venue this year but if you have strong opinions about it, do let me know: [email protected]


January 2017 will be the third year the leadership comes together to plan the year ahead. This year we’ll be meeting at our own place, the HAS Observatory & Dark Site, in our own meeting space, the East Room of the new Bunkhouse. If you’re out there—it’s new moon—come see what it’s all about.

HAS Women’s SIG Hands-On Telescope and Observing Lab

Original article appears in GuideStar November, 2016.

by Amelia Goldberg


The HAS Women’s SIG hands-on telescope and observing lab held at the Dark Site after the picnic was a HUGE success! We had 22 female members RSVP for the event. 

Rene started things rolling by talking about the three different kinds of telescopes we had on hand: refractor, Schmidt-Cassegrain, and Dobsonian reflector. We had a sort of telescope “petting zoo” where the women learned how to use the telescopes and find things on their own.  

Rene pointed out some bight deep sky objects with a green laser and then gave the laser to Jayne Lambert to do a constellation tour along with an interesting mythology lesson. Rene went on to teach Andrea Kowalczyk planisphere skills so she could then show the other women how to use them. Since our laser was hard to see, Joe Khalaf used his laser to point out objects in the sky and I would find them in my telescope for the women to observe.  Don Selle also took a small group to work with. There were several small manageable groups learning different things and everyone was helping each other out.  Rene had reserved the f/5 telescope in the main observatory building and the women were also able to use that scope to find objects in the sky. Steve Goldberg was our photographer for the event.

It was a wonderful evening and everyone had a great time.

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