HAL Meetings in 2024
HAL General Meetings (Open to the Public)
- We have resumed in-person General Meetings at
Robinson Nature Center (as well as on Zoom).
- For specific meeting dates, see the HAL Calendar.
- Additional information is announced via the HowardAstro Google Group.
- All HAL Meetings (and star parties) are held in locations which are smoke free by law. Help us protect our ability to use these facilities by not smoking.
General Meetings are held from 7:00PM to approximately 9:00 on the 3rd Thursday
of every month via Zoom (until further notice).
HAL Planning Meetings (Open to All Members)
Planning Meetings to discuss future club direction, events, meeting topics, outreach, etc. are open to all members. Attendance is encouraged.
They are usually held from 7:00 to 8:00PM on the 1st Monday
of every month via Zoom (until further notice).
Sometimes these meetings are rescheduled or cancelled due to holidays or board member unavailability.
Check our home page, posts to the HowardAstro Google Group, or the HAL calendar.
HAL's COVID-19 Policy for Events - Updated May 2023
- In Howard County, COVID-19 community level is Low. We are following Howard County guidelines:
- Face coverings are optional inside the Alpha Ridge HALO building. People may choose to mask at any time.
- If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms or have tested positive for COVID, please be
considerate of others and refrain from attending HAL 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.
2024 General Meeting Topics / Speakers
Thursday, January 18th, 2024 beginning at 7:00PM
Topic: The ZWO Seestar S50: The Next Generation of Smart Telescopes
Presenter: Grace Coventry, Head of IT Services Division, Space Telescope Science Institute
| Grace's Presentation PDF
| Video Recording on YouTube
| Chat Log
Grace will be delivering a presentation entitled "The ZWO Seestar S50:
The Next Generation of Smart Telescopes". HAL has recently acquired a
for use by our members at star parties and outreach events.
Grace will provide an overview of this exciting new development in the
field of amateur astronomy.
Specific subjects Grace will cover include:
There’s a lot of interest in the Seestar in HAL – a number of members
are acquiring them. Join us for a lively discussion about the future of
smart digital telescopes!
- The smart digital telescope paradigm
- Two generations of smart telescopes
- ZWO Seestar S50 specifications and features overview
- A walkthrough of Seestar’s observing modes
- Image processing, with examples
- Uses for the Seestar
- HAL’s plans for the Seestar
Bio: Grace Coventry is Head of the IT Services Division for the Space
Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. She is currently serving as
2nd Vice President of HAL.
Thursday, February 15th, 2024 beginning at 7:00PM
Topic: Total Eclipse of the Heart: Is it Geometry, or Just a Phase
Presenter: Christine Hirst Bernhardt, PhD Candidate, Astronomy Professor
| Video Recording on YouTube
| Chat Log
(Professor Bernhard's links including videos)
This talk will interactively explore why we have eclipses, and why
we don't have them every month. We will explore the perfect
triangles that allow for eclipses, our unique place in space and
time which caters to this observation, some fun stories of eclipses
in the past and connections to civilizations (and colonization) and
finally learn how and where to see the eclipse in April.
Christine Hirst Bernhardt is a National STEM education leader and
PhD candidate at the University of Maryland. In 2021-2022 she served
in Congress as an
Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow
to advance education policy initiatives. Her passion for all things
space fostered the Excellence in Astronomy Teaching award and
mission. Christine identifies and
addresses national needs in Earth and Space education as the chair
National Astronomy Education Coordinator team
and US member of the Global Leadership in Earth Science Education. Christine has
developed programs and curricula such as a high-altitude balloon
program, student space symposium and international space camp. She
holds Master’s in both Space Studies and Science Education. Her
Doctoral research centers on international astronomy education and
teacher learning with a social justice lens. She is interested in
international science education and using Earth and Space topics as
a gateway to STEM in early learning.
Thursday, March 21st, 2024 beginning at 7:00PM
Thursday, April 18th, 2024 beginning at 7:00PM
Topic: Climates, Storms, and Weather On Other Planets (tentative)
Presenter: Dr. Richard G. Cosentino (tentative), Roman Telescope Branch - Instrument Division, STScI
Thursday, May 16th, 2024 beginning at 7:00PM
Topic: Great American Solar Eclipse of 2024: Collective Experience of the Howard Astronomical League
Presenter: Jim Johnson, Former HAL President
Jim Johnson's Bio from 2022.
Two years prior to the 2017 eclipse, then President Chris Todd gave a
presentation to generate interest in the eclipse and he provided many
thoughtful planning considerations. I know that I, for one, benefited
from this presentation. Just prior to the eclipse date, I asked
eclipse observers to record notes and images related to their eclipse
experience. I called these notes in to use as a basis for a review of
HAL’s collective eclipse experience, which I presented at HAL’s
September 2017 meeting.
At the June 2021 HAL meeting, I embarked on a three-part series of HAL
presentations that will culminate in a review of HAL’s collective
experience at the 2024 eclipse. The series title is
The Great North American Solar Eclipse of 2024,
and the three parts are:
Part 1 –
An Amateur Astronomer’s Guide to Solar Eclipses,
2021) A general guide to solar eclipses and solar eclipse observing.
Part 1: June 2021 YouTube recording
Part 2 –
HAL Lessons from the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017
(July 21, 2022). This presentation is the best “pre-game show” that I
can recommend to prepare for the 2024 eclipse. While each and every
HAL member or guest experience in 2017 was amazing, our collective
experience is something quite special and worth revisiting. I prepared
this presentation by starting with the with the 2017 collective
experience, and added notes to derive helpful lessons for the 2024
eclipse. This presentation provides a sense of the variety of sites to
which HAL members and guests traveled, their travel and lodging
experiences, various experiences with weather, traffic, observation
notes, and photos of sites, equipment, and the eclipse. This is a good
place for someone to get a sense of what to expect in April.
Part 2: July 2022 YouTube recording
Part 3 –
The Collective Experience of the Howard Astronomical League.
This part of the 2024 series has not yet been written, but I will be
soliciting your eclipse notes and images for compilation into HAL’s
record of the 2024 eclipse. This compilation will be presented at the
May 2024 HAL meeting.
I encourage all to review parts 1 and 2 as you complete eclipse
observing and travel preparations, and to get a sense of the kinds of
information that I will be asking you to collect for the 2024
collective experience presentation as the eclipse date draws nearer.
Thursday, June 20th, 2024 beginning at 7:00PM
Thursday, July 18th, 2024 beginning at 7:00PM
Topic: Two Years of JWST Science (tentative title)
Presenter: Dr. Kelly Lepo, Education and Outreach Scientist, Office of Public Outreach, STScI
Topic Description: [forthcoming]
Bio: Dr. Kelly Lepo is an Education and Outreach Scientist at the Space
Telescope Science Institute, where she supports outreach efforts for the
James Webb Space Telescope. She received a PhD in Astronomy and
Astrophysics from the University of Toronto. During her time in Canada,
she made numerous local and national media appearances to talk about
everything from the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse to the Super Blue Blood Moon.
She previously served as the Coordinator of the McGill Space Institute,
taught physics at Gonzaga University, and helped build the Large Hadron
Collider at CERN.
2013 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2014 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2015 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2016 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2017 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2018 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2019 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2020 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2021 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2022 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2023 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
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