October 2017

President's Letter: Loved every minute of it

QueenVictoRene.PNGIt was great seeing you astronomers at the annual picnic last month. There was a costume parade, door prizes, and the official opening of the new bunkhouse. We also presented the first recipient the HAS Texas 45 Astrophotography award. How fitting that it was followed by beautiful clear skies for observing and imaging alike. 

Did we have five or was it six students from one of the local colleges operating the observatory f/5? So many members with telescopes were on the field. Or taking in the observatory tour. Or the loaner telescope lab. Or lining up for a peek through the C14. 

A highlight had to be the squealing of children at the Kids SIG as they saw their first shooting star streak across the Milky Way. Moms and dads, I heard you, too.KidsSIGinCostume.PNG

For me, the picnic marked the end of an era that started in 2009. Each 1st Friday you could find me at the back of UH SR1 Room 117 serving coffee and chatting astronomy. From there, I served wherever needed, and not just coffee. 

We need you now, too, and I do hope you'll be at the November 3rd annual membership meeting at the University of Houston. We need your vote on the 2018 leadership and on updates to the bylaws that will make the club even more inclusive and easier to run.

I'll still be onboard; quite literally as immediate past president for the next year. But you’ll more likely find me at the dark site in my private observatory. It’s time for a change, and I’m looking forward to it.

Is there any club like H.A.S.? Any friends like those you've met here? I haven't found so. I'm so grateful to have been a part, and serving wherever needed. Especially coffee.

Rene Gedaly, President
Houston Astronomical Society

Asterisms – Kemble’s Cascade, Kemble 1

Original article appears in GuideStar October, 2017.

by Steve Goldberg

Asterism: a grouping of stars that form a recognizable pattern.
Camelopardalis.PNGConstellation: Camelopardalis
Right Ascension: R.A.: 03h 57m 04.0s
Declination: +63° 04' 00"
Magnitude:  5 to 10
Size: 2° 30” 
Found in the constellation Camelopardalis is a line of about 20 stars in a straight line that ends at NGC 1502, an open cluster.
Finding the constellation will be a challenge since there are no bright stars. Look for Polaris, Capella and the constellation Perseus. Camelopardalis is between those, as shown at right.
Look for the chain of stars as shown at left and follow it to the open cluster NGC 1502. Since this asterism is over 2 degrees long, you will have to follow the stars in the eyepiece. Or better, look for it in your finder or a pair of binoculars. 
This was discovered by Father Lucian Kemble but named by Walter Scott Houston in his column “Deep Sky Wonders” in Sky & Telescope magazine. Read more about the asterism in Wikipedia. Wikipedia Kemble's Cascade.
This object was on the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) in 2000.

President's Letter: Star-B-Que Oct 14, 2017

Original article appears in GuideStar October, 2017.

by Rene Gedaly

Annals of the Deep Sky by Jeff Kanipe and Dennis WebbI love this time of year. Coffee cup in hand, I open the blinds to the backyard and see the sun making a lower angle with the sky. Prime observing season starts soon, at least for me. Summer is way too hot, and while autumn skies are a little disappointing, if I stay up late enough I can catch winter's jewels in comfort.

Or maybe I just need to amp up my game. Do you have the Annals of the Deep Sky series yet? Andromeda, Aquarius, Aquila, and Aries, to name a few, are autumn constellations covered in depth in the first two volumes. This season I've come to deeply appreciate Kanipe & Webb's work. I had been focusing my visual efforts on popular observing lists. Consequently, I’d come to the wrongheaded notion that all that was worth seeing had already been sliced, diced, and listed. Not so. I enjoy this series so much, especially the "contemplative observing" notes.

Annual Meeting Nov 3 at UH. Prizes!

If you've read the website or Facebook group posts or even your HAS email, you know we have some bylaws changes to vote on at the Annual Meeting. We also need to vote on the 2018 leadership team. Remember, I will also take nominations from the floor so think about it. As of today, we need 62 members to physically show up at the meeting to make a quorum. Bring your associate members and increase your chances at winning one of several great prizes including grand prize: TheSkyX Professional Edition software by Software Bisque.

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