HAL Website Search:

What's New with HAL?

The next HAL General Meeting (open to the public) will be held on Thursday, June 17th at 7PM. Zoom information follows. Other details appear on the meetings page.

        Topic: The Great North American Eclipse of 2024: 
        Part 1 - The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Solar Eclipses
        Presenter: Jim Johnson
        Date: Thursday, June 17th
        Time: 7:00PM - 9:00PM EDT
        Meeting ID: 881 5575 4424
        Passcode: eclipse
        Find your local number:

Our second Virtual Public Star Party, April 17th was very successful! We had over 20 participants that stayed just short of 3 hours. Phil thanks Chuck Cynamon, Brad Martin, Jim Johnson, and Gene Handler for their preparations, presentations, and leading discussions. [Read more...]

Second Virtual Star Party - Zoom Recording [2:40; 716 MB]

Astro School - Polar Alignment Report from Phil: "I would very much like to thank John Nagy for conducting Astro School [on April 8th]. We had 32 participants. The questions and conversations went much deeper than I would have ever expected on the topic of polar alignment. It was very interesting to learn of John's methodology on how he did trial and error, as well as measured the relative differences going from no polar aligning to using different tools." [Read more...]

Mars Report: Update on NASA's Perseverance & Curiosity Rovers "With no road maps on Mars, I'm building my own as I go. There are lots of places I want to explore, and mapping while I drive will help me see and do more. " [Watch on Facebook...]

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

What's happening with the Mars 2020 mission and Perseverance?

to the Howard Astronomical League. HAL is an astronomy club located in Howard County, Maryland. We hold monthly meetings on the lower (mezzanine) level of the Robinson Nature Center in Columbia, MD, conduct public star parties at Alpha Ridge Park utilizing the "HALO" observatory, and provide community outreach events at various Howard County locations - often in public library parking lots. We invite everyone to be a part of amateur astronomy with us. You will find information about our meeting dates on the Our Meetings page. Information on membership is located on the HAL Membership page.

HAL's COVID-19 Policy for Events

  • For HAL impromptu and member-only star parties, participants should wait for an invitation before approaching to look through others’ telescopes; respect each other’s desires for social distancing.
  • Face coverings are encouraged for non-vaccinated people while participating outdoors.
  • Face coverings are required for all inside the Alpha Ridge HALO building.

Currently, the monthly board of directors' planning meeting, Astroschool, and the HAL public meeting are being held virtually using Zoom. Check back frequently for updates. HAL looks forward to resuming in-person gatherings.

The parks have now partially re-opened. However, HAL is still not scheduling live members-only or public events. HAL keyholders are free to call members-only impromptu observing sessions via the closed hal_impromptu email list for Carrs Mill Park or Alpha Ridge Park.

Join Us
for our Star Parties and Outreach events. We also provide an e-mail group for communication of timely club News and for astronomical discussions.

to help plan your observing sessions is available on the calendar page or the astrolinks page -- where you can check for moonrise times, Iridium flares, International Space Station sightings, Jupiter's Great Red Spot transit and a lot more. And don't forget to check the weather before you venture out.

HAL's Observatory at Alpha Ridge Park (HALO)
HALO houses HAL's 6 inch "Illig" Refracting telescope. Check these web pages for full details about the observatory. For a schedule of events at the observatory, check the HAL star parties page or the HAL calendar.

HAL is proud to have official affiliations with:

RNC Robinson Nature Center Astronomical League
Howard County Recreation & Parks

Alpha Ridge Park
International Dark Sky Association
Howard County Conservancy Alpha Ridge Park

© 1999-2021 Howard Astronomical League
All Rights Reserved

Last modified: June 14, 2021 @ 14:14 EST