Welcome to Houston Astronomical Society

Founded in 1955, Houston Astronomical Society is an active community of enthusiastic amateur and professional astronomers with over 60 years of history in the Houston area. Through education and outreach, our programs promote science literacy and astronomy awareness. We meet on the first Friday of each month at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center. Membership has a variety of benefits, including access to a secure dark site west of Houston, a telescope loaner program, and much more. Joining is simple; you can sign up online, by mail or in person at a monthly meeting.

November 01, 2019, 6:30PM: HAS Monthly Meeting

Trini Mendenhall Community Center

Meeting room open at 6:00pm. Come join us for some social time before the Novice Meeting at 6:30pm. Light refreshments will be served.

General Meeting: 7:15 PMAndrzej Stewart – NASA Solar System Ambassador – Life in Simulated Space

Astronauts undertaking missions to deep space destinations like the Moon and Mars will face a number of challenges caused by the vast distances and durations involved in these journeys.  To study and prepare to meet these challenges, NASA is conducting a variety of space analog missions, which recreate aspects of life in space here on Earth.  Andrzej Stewart, who has served as a crewmember for simulated space missions in the HERA and HI-SEAS analogs, will talk about what life is like as part of an analog crew, as well as what life may be like for astronauts living on Mars in the future.

Bill in Observatory cropped

Andrzej Stewart is an experienced spacecraft operator for a wide variety of NASA missions. He’s worked as a spacecraft mission controller for NASA’s Mars orbiter fleet, Juno, GRAIL, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Andrzej now works in Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center, developing tracking and navigation operations for upcoming missions of the Orion spacecraft. He is also a 1st Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol, serving as an Assistant Aerospace Education Officer and Assistant Public Affairs Officer, and currently training as a SAR/DR Mission Pilot.

Andrzej earned degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and aspires to be a NASA astronaut. In pursuing that, he has served as the Flight Engineer of HERA C2M2, a two-week asteroid mission simulation at the Johnson Space Center, and as Chief Engineering Officer of HI-SEAS IV, a year-long Mars simulation in Hawaiʻi.



Novice Presentation – 6:30 pm. TBA

Meeting Location: Trini Mendenhall Community Center

1414 Wirt Rd, Houson, TX 77055

                  Free parking in the lot in front of the TMCC

Girl Scout Outreach at Stephen F Austin State Park

Girl Scouts.jpgby Todd Murray

I met Dave Herlinger at Stephen F. Austin State Park just after 6PM and we set our scopes down where we hoped we could look up through the trees to see Jupiter and Saturn if the clouds were to go away in time.

As the sun went down, Dave gave a great class on how to use sky charts and planispheres and I spoke briefly about how to use SkySafari to help identify things in the sky.  The clouds were up there but weren't too much trouble as we showed the scouts Saturn and Jupiter through a C8 and an 80ED.  As the evening progressed, we showed them M13 and Albireo and wrapped up with Dave's cool laser show through diffraction grating glasses.

It was a big hit, there was lots of engagement and genuine oohs and ahhs all around.

Editor’s note: HAS received the request for the Girl Scout campout at Stephen F. Austin State Park for Saturday, October 12, from 7pm - 9pm. 

Asterism - Golf Club and Ball

(Posted 10/14/2019)

By: Steve Goldberg

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

Constellation: Andromeda
Right Ascension:  01h 52m 18.0s
Declination: +37° 02' 00"
Magnitude: 6 to 7
Size: 1.5 degrees
This month’s asterism is the “Golf Putter and Ball” located in Andromeda. It contains a straight line of stars forming the club’s shaft, and 2 bright stars perpendicular to the shaft forming the club’s head. The open cluster NGC 752 forms the ball that is about to be hit with the putter.




The putter and ball is located between Beta β Triangulum and Gamma γ Andromeda. In this finder view, you can see the putter just below the “ball” NGC 752. The bright star below NGC 752 is 56 Andromeda.






In this view, you can see the stars that form the golf putter and the location of NGC 752.








October 22, 2019, 7:00PM: Loaner Scope Training

Training on the use of HAS Loaner Telescopes has been rescheduled for October 22, 2019 at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center 1414 Wirt Rd.Training will  start at 7:00 and run to 8:30 PM in a classroom assigned by the TMCC Staff. As you walk in to the Center, look at the room listing board to see which room this will be held in.

This will be a hands on training for the basic tools you need to begin serious astronomical observing. Included in the training will be the nomenclature of telescope parts, setting up the Dobsonian telescope and aligning the finder and Telrad. Also included will be star charts and how to read them, Telrad operation and use, star hopping (by star chart), and newtonian telescope collimation. If you wish to be attend the training please email HAS Loaner Scope Chairperson Allen Wilkerson at [email protected] to reserve your spot. The first 10 members to respond will be verified and contacted to confirm their spot in the class.

Additionally, if requested, instruction on the basics of setting up a GEM (Gerrman Equatorial Mount or polar mount) can be arranged. If this is desired please let Allen know in your email  requesting a spot in the training.

Allen Wilkerson
[email protected]

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