Letter from the President - January 2021

Original article appears in GuideStar January, 2021.

Resolving to do more astronomy in 2021

They say hindsight is 20/20, and like most of you, I’m glad to put the year 2020 in the rearview mirror.  I know I’m stating the obvious when I say most of us won’t miss the year that just passed for because of many of the events that happened here on earth, but astronomically speaking, 2020 was actually a pretty spectacular year. In July, Comet NEOWISE became one of the best comets to observe in years, and many of you became members during that time.  In October, Mars came closer than it’s been since the historic opposition in 2003.  And just a few weeks ago, Jupiter and Saturn dazzled us all with a conjunction that brought the planets closer than they’ve been in over four centuries.

But they also say hope springs eternal, and many of us are looking forward to a 2021 that’s better in many ways that the year just passed.  For many of us, that starts with a New Year’s resolution.  I haven’t been a fan of New Year’s resolutions for many reasons – the main one being there are lots of things I need to work on – but this year, I’ve actually made one for myself.  No, it’s not the almost universal “I need to lose 10 pounds”-type resolution, but an astronomy resolution, instead.

So, here it is...

In 2021, I resolve to spend more time under the stars, observing with my telescope.

I shared this resolution with my wife (primarily to see what the response of more time away from home would be), and, thankfully, this was met with enthusiasm.  So now it’s codified – 2021 will see me under more dark skies observing with my telescopes with friends at places like the H.A.S. dark site, regional star parties, and heck, even in my own driveway under the Houston light dome, if necessary!

So, I would ask you all to make a similar resolution to do more astronomy – whether that’s observing, astrophotography, or anything else related to our hobby and this science in 2021.  After all, our resolutions are meant to make us better, and not too many things make me feel better than being under a dark sky, looking through an eyepiece at ancient photons that spent eons traveling the universe to greet me and say hello.

Also, if you make an astronomy-related and need help (whether by borrowing a telescope, having an observing mentor, or whatever it may be), just let us know.  We’ll be glad to help out!

Planning for 2021:

January sees the leadership team coming together to plan the upcoming year for H.A.S.  As I mentioned in an email to the membership not too long ago, we want to make sure we’re including our member’s voices in the planning.  If you have any new programs or activities you’d like to see from YOUR club, email me at [email protected] to let us know.

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