December 2019

Michael Blair Dye, past HAS Observatory Chairman remembered

by Rene Gedaly

It is with deep regret that we mark the passing of past Observatory Chairman and longtime HAS member Michael Blair Dye. Mike was the longest serving Observatory Chairman, in office from 1990 through 2005. The evolution of the observatory during this period brought the society very close to the facility we enjoy today.MikeDyeRetires.JPG

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To keep the membership informed, Mike wrote a regular article for the Guidestar and then the GuideStar called "Observatory Corner." At the start of each year, Mike also published a calendar listing of prime nights, members observatory night, and the weekends of new moon and full moon to help members plan their observing . Each quarter he also published an observatory duty list of site supervisors and site workers, some of whom are still HAS members.

Mike’s wife Judy Ann Dye volunteered with the club right along with him, both at the observatory and also by running the HAS logo sales. Some of those logo articles of clothing are still sported at the dark site by longtime members and legacies. Mike was observatory chairman when the observatory phone was removed by Ma Bell as part of deregulation. It seems the phone was taking in $0.05 a day; not enough to break even, not even in 1999. 

Mike Dye will be missed by the many members lucky enough to have known him and with gratitude by those who observe at the HAS Observatory.

Asterisms - The Funnel

(Posted 12/15/2019)

By: Steve Goldberg

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

Constellation: Lepus
Right Ascension:  05h 45m 56.0s
Declination: -15o 57’ 07”
Magnitude: 8 to 9
Size: 10”
 
 
 
 
 
This month’s asterism is the Funnel. Located in Lepus, “below” Orion and to the “right” of Canis Major.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lepus is named for the animal hare. Some stories have it that Lepus is being chased by Orion’s two dogs: Canis Major and Canis Minor. Other stories have the hare as being chased by Orion himself.

 

 

 

In a low power eyepiece, you can see the asterism. The tip of the Funnel is in the center of the FOV, with a string of stars going to the upper right and upper left.

Astro Cafe Opens before Monthly Meetings

If you haven’t been to an HAS meeting in a while, you’ve been missing our Astro Cafe. Around 6-ish, we have a welcome area set up across from the auditorium. There's a nice room adjoining the kitchen with table and chairs where folks can get a cup of coffee, munch, and talk. You can't miss it; there's a large HAS banner in the hall between the two areas.

Meetings are the 1st Friday of the month unless otherwise posted. The next one is January 3, 2020. Astro Cafe opens at 6:00 pm, Novice Presentation at 6:30 pm, and Membership Meeting with Speaker at 7:15 pm —Ray & Rene Gedaly

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the Houston Astronomical Society (HAS)! Membership has its benefits, but there’s no way to list them all in one email. We hope that what follows below will get you off to a good start.

Great night, food and speaker

The membership was out in force for the potluck dinner and to hear speaker Rob Pettingill. Rob said if he could handle the rarified air of the Atacama with the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program, so could the rest of us. Sign me up! -Rene Scandone Gedaly
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Visitors to the Dark Site

leecain2.pngOn Sunday, December 1, 2019, Lee Cain with wife Gabby and daughter Krista, came out to the Dark Site to see the improvements since he was president. They were very surprised at all the private observatories that have been built. Here is a photo of the group with Lee holding that original picture that was taken at the signing of the twinning charter in 1987. -Steve Goldberg

This is from the history document of the society:

Lee Cain became president of our Society in 1987. Member Larry Wadle, who had spent three years in Guildford, England, suggested in 1986 a twinning of HAS with the Guildford Astronomical Society. Since both societies were founded in 1955, and share common profiles and interests, the twinning was approved. The Guildford Society drew up the twinning charter and it was brought to Houston by Brian States. Lee Cain and Brian States signed the charter at our general membership meeting on June 5, 1987. The charter now hangs in the HAS Observatory building.

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