Skip to main content


Outreach is the place to be

Now this is astronomy. Look at the UPCOMING EVENTS sidebar at right, choose one, and let Joe know you’d like to join in. Maybe roving astro-reporter Sarah Silva will snap your smiling face.

2018-07-26 Outreach smaller Sara.png

General Meeting Topic
Edward Emerson Barnard, the Man, the Times and the Science.
General Meeting Speaker
Larry Mitchell
Novice Meeting Topic
Globular Cluster Research & Observing Meteor Showers
Novice Meeting Speaker
Turner Woody & Debbie Moran

EEB.jpgEE Barnard started his astronomical career as an amateur, and made his name (and a good bit of prize money) discovering several comets. He was an accomplished pioneer in astrophotography and his catalog of dark nebulae, known as Barnard Object’s, were the finest photographs that had been taken of the Milky Way. Barnard perhaps was best known for his incredible eyesight and ability to discern faint detail through an eyepiece that other “gifted observers” had to photograph in order to see. As an observer he truly had no equal in his day and rarely missed a single hour of clear moonless night-sky. He was known as “the man who was never known to sleep.” His endless scouring of the heavens left an astonishing legacy of observations: of planets, satellites, comets, double stars, bright and dark nebulae and globular clusters.

Several of Barnard’s discoveries were made with a telescope as small as 5 inches, yet these objects had been passed up by other visual astronomers with much larger instruments. Barnard would have loved to understand the science of the universe that we all take for granted today. In his day anything that was not composed of stellar objects was classified as “nebulae”, which of course includes those objects we call galaxies today. As amateur astronomers, we are privileged that we get to view these objects that most people do not know even exists and very few human beings have ever visually seen.

By: Steve Goldberg

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

Constellation: Sagitta
Right Ascension:  19h 55m 00.0s
Declination: +17° 18' 00"
Magnitude: 9
Size:  24’ (minutes)
  It is located in the constellation of Sagitta, which is Latin for arrow. To locate Sagitta, look for Albireo β Cygnus and Altair α        Aquila. Between those 2 stars is the constellation Sagitta. There are 4 bright stars that form an arrow.
  Here is a finder chart for the asterism. The bright star at the top is Albireo. You can see the 4 or 5 stars that make up Sagitta.
   In a 60x power eyepiece you can see the “point” of the arrow pointing up, with the straight line of 3 stars forming the shaft of         the arrow.
  This asterism is on the Astronomical League’s Asterism list. See the AL program here.

MARS ATTACKS! Star Party at Midtown Park

On July 27, Mars will make its closest approach to earth since 2003, and won't be this close again until 2035. Join the Houston Astronomical Society at Midtown Park to observe Mars (and other planets) through their telescopes. The event is free to the public and is kid-friendly.

There is a paid parking garage below Midtown Park, as well as various street parking and surface lot options nearby.

Where: Midtown Park (2811 Travis St., Houston, TX 77006)

When: July 27, from 7pm – 10pm

Email Outreach if you have any questions.  We hope to see you there!



Congrats Certified Telescope Operators

by Rene Gedaly

Congratulations to Steven PowellJesse RobertsBartlett D. Moore IVBurke Nail, Heinz Schmidt, and Alexander Schmidt, certified telescope operators of the observatory C14 and f/5 telescopes. You, too, can be a certified telescope operator like these astronomy wizards. Contact Chris Ober, Observatory Director, to get added to the training list. 

Prerequisite Requirements for Students:
  • Must be at least 16 years of age or older.
  • Must be a Society member in good standing with all dues paid.
  • Must have full knowledge of all general site rules and have completed the general site orientation.
  • Must have been a Society member for at least 6 months.
  • Will be required to execute an observatory building use agreement which is a contract of limited liability covering all rules, regulations, and requirements governing the use of observatory building facilities. Members under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian execute the agreement on behalf of a minor user that is 16 or 17 years of age.

Trainers for 2018 are Ed Fraini, Rene Gedaly, and John Haynes.