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Howard Astronomical League - Meetings

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. Thanks.

Specific dates for the meetings below can be found on the HAL Calendar page. Additional information is communicated near the event in the HAL e-mail group.

HAL General Meetings (Open to the Public)

This Year's Meeting Topics / Speakers

  • HAL's monthly meetings are held at 7:00PM on the 3rd Thursday of every month at:

          The Robinson Nature Center (Map)

          6692 Cedar Lane

          Columbia, MD 21044


Click here for more information on this great new facility: Robinson Nature Center

HAL Planning Meetings (Open to All Members)

  • Monthly Planning meetings to discuss future club direction, events, meeting topics, outreach, etc. are open to all members.  Attendance is  encouraged. These are held from 7:00-8:00PM on the first Monday of most months* at:

    Wegman's Market 2nd Floor Dining Area (Map)
    8855 McGaw Rd
    Columbia, MD 21045

* Sometimes the Planning Meeting date falls on a holiday in which case the meetiings could be either cancelled or rescheduled. ' Occasionally, the meetings get cancelled due to lack of agenda items. Therefore, check the calendar page, the top of the home page, and/or posting on the e-mail group to be sure a specific meeting will be held.

2018 General Meeting Topics / Speakers

January 18

HAL Annual Election, Annual Treasurer's Report & astrophotos.

Guest Speaker:
Dr. Avi M. Mandell, NASA GSFC – Goddard Center for AstrobiologyHot Jupiters and Lava Planets: Exploring the Diversity of Exoplanets.

February 15

Guest Speaker:

Dr. Thomas S. Barclay, NASA GSFC - TESS Science Support Center
TESS Mission (tentative title)

March 15

Guest Speaker:

Lou Mayo, NASA GSFC - Sciences and Exploration Directorate
Eclipse 2017: Results and Next Steps for NASA

The August 21st, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Across America provided a unique opportunity to teach event-based science to nationwide audiences. NASA spent over three years planning space and Earth science education programs for informal audiences, undergraduate institutions, and life-long learners to bring this celestial event to the public through the eyes of NASA. This talk outlines how NASA used its unique assets including mission scientists and engineers, space based assets, citizen science , educational technology, science visualization, and its wealth of science and technology partners to bring the eclipse to the country through multimedia, cross-discipline science activities, curricula, and media programing. Audience reach, impact, and lessons learned are detailed. Plans for similar events in 2018 and beyond are outlined.

April 19

Guest Speaker:

Dr. Patrick Peplowski, Johns Hopkins APL – Space Exploration Sector
Mercury/MESSENGER Mission (tentative title)

May 17

June 21


July 19


August 16


September 20  
October 18  
November 15

Speaker: Dr. Albert Holm, Retired. Formerly a staff member for OAO-A2, the International Ultraviolet Explorer, and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Title: Out of this World Astronomy: The Orbiting Astronomical Observatory-A2 

Abstract: What could be better than a telescope on a high mountain? In 1946, Lyman Spitzer published a paper arguing for the development of a large telescope in space. The technology to do that did not exist then nor in the decades after Sputnik. The Orbiting Astronomical Observatory series provided stepping stones for developing and testing the technologies that eventually would be used for the Hubble Space Telescope, the implementation of Spitzer's dream. 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the December 7, 1968, launch of Orbiting Astronomical Observatory-A2, the first satellite to deliver astronomical data about stars, planets, and galaxies to Earth. This is the story of that mission, its operations, its discoveries, and its legacy. 

December 20 Holiday Potluck plus President Johnson's Year End Wrap-up.

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

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