September 2017

Nominating Committee Proposes Slates for 2018

The Nominating Committee proposes two slates for 2018. The second slate will be voted on if the bylaws pass that expand the number of directors. Otherwise, the first slate stands. Non-elected leadership for 2018 also appears below.

2018 1st Slate.PNG2018 2nd Slate.PNG

2018 Non elected.PNG

Nov 3 2017 Vote on Proposed Changes to Bylaws

by VP Don Selle

A quorum of the HAS BOD has voted unanimously to recommend that the Membership of HAS vote to adopt the following four proposed amendments to the bylaws described below. The full text of the amendments may be found here:

  1. DUES.  Delegate to the BOD the authority to set the dues provided that the membership is given at least 60 days prior notice of a possible change, and at least 30 days prior notice of the date time of the BOD meeting where a change in dues will be considered by the board.
  2. Quorum and Voting. Due to the growth of the membership of HAS, obtaining a quorum at the annual meeting where our officers directors and committee chairpersons are elected and other business of HAS is decided has been very uncertain. The current bylaws require 10% of the members attend the annual meeting in order for any vote of the membership to be valid. The proposed amendment lowers the quorum requirement to 5% of the membership, and establishes the possibility of having the membership vote electronically, provided that the BOD establishes voting procedures that meet minimum requirements
  3. Number of Directors. In order to increase the participation of the membership in the running of HAS, the third bylaw amendment, if adopted, will increase the number of Directors to seven (7) from the current five (5), with one of the Directors being a Student Member under 21 years of age. 
  4. BOD Meeting Attendance by Electronic Means.  Online meetings have become a well established means of doing business. In order to allow the HAS BOD to conduct valid on line meetings, Texas law require that our bylaws authorize such meetings. The proposed bylaw amendment does that and complies with State Law.

For your reference, the current Bylaws can be found here:

All members are encouraged to post questions or comments about the proposed amendments on the HAS website Forums. The topics will be monitored and questions answered. Provided you are first logged into the website, you will be able to access these Forum Topics in the Space Station V (lounge) Forum Area using these links:

  1. Dues
  2. Quorum and Voting
  3. Directors
  4. Electronic BOD Meetings

President's Letter

Original article appears in GuideStar September, 2017.

by Rene Gedaly

Hoping this finds you and yours well and on the mend from Harvey

Where were you for the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017? I was in Casper, WY for my first total solar eclipse and my first Astronomical League Convention. Neither will be my last.

Allen showing the public the solar eclipseHAS was out in force for the partial  Michael Rapp was busy with students at the University of Houston, and Allen Wilkerson, Sherry Irby, and Stephen Jones were at the Mendenhall Community Center. They planned for 150 attendees and got 300+. Get ready now for April 8, 2024: The Great Texas Eclipse.

Changes to Bylaws  In 2013 and 2014 we changed our bylaws to bring them better in line with the way we operate. This year we’d like you to consider three more changes: (1) online meetings of the board of directors, (2) online voting by the membership, and (3) changes to the dues process. Notification of the proposed changes will go out by October 1, 2017.

Elections  VP Don Selle and his nominating committee are working hard to select a leadership slate for 2018. Interested in running? Contact Don now or throw your hat in the ring from the floor at the Annual Meeting in November. The slate will be posted on the website and emailed to [email protected] by October 1.

We must rebuild our infrastructure  Chatting with others at AstroCon 2017 in Casper, I learned what an extraordinary observatory and dark site we have. Sure, I bragged on us a bit—but did not exaggerate—and was met with astonishment that HAS can support all we do on $36/year per member. How do we do it? We have a generous membership who donate to specific funds, like the Observatory. We also save because of sweat equity. The dark site is maintained by the observatory committee and includes DIY repairs and maintenance of the entire site. (You thought it was only mowing?) However, some of our infrastructure is decades old and in need of professional repair or replacement. We also need new facilities to accommodate increased use and growth.

We need money  How do we raise the funds we need? Especially when many of us are picking up the pieces from Harvey? Often, I'm asked by new members and their guests how much it costs to rent an RV spot, a pad, or stay overnight in a bunkhouse. We're an inclusive club and want these facilities open to all, so we charge nothing. To continue, however, we must raise funds. Mike Edstrom, Observatory Chairperson, will be running the fundraising campaign. Please contact Mike when you’re able to help.

Asterisms: ET, NGC 457, Owl Cluster, Caldwell 13, Kachina Doll Cluster

Original article appears in GuideStar September, 2017.

By: Steve Goldberg

Asterism: a grouping of stars that form a recognizable pattern.

Constellation: Cassiopeia
Right Ascension: 01 h, 19 m 35s
Declination: 58o 17’ 12”
Magnitude:  5.1
Size: 15’ (minutes)

This cluster, NGC457, was discovered by William Herschel in 1787, and lies over 7,900 light years away from the Sun. The asterism is also commonly known as the Owl Cluster. After the movie “ET-The Extraterrestrial” was released the name “ET” was also given to this asterism.




Looking at this image you can see 2 bright stars, which are the eyes of ET. A horizontal line of stars under the “eyes” are the outstretched arms, with another line of stars going downward for the legs.


At public outreach events where children are present this object is a big hit.






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