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HAL Meetings in 2022

HAL General Meetings (Open to the Public)

  • Meetings are currently held virtually (rather than at the locations below). Watch for updates!
  • 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 at 7:00PM on the 3rd Thursday of every month at:

        The Robinson Nature Center (Map)
        6692 Cedar Lane
        Columbia, MD 21044
        More information about Robinson Nature Center
        Note: The Robinson Nature Center closes at 5PM and reopens at 6PM exclusively for the HAL meeting. 
        Do not arrive before 6PM or you will need to wait outside.

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 at:

        Wegman's Market 2nd Floor Dining Area (Map)
        8855 McGaw Rd
        Columbia, MD 21045
        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 Updated 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.
  • We are following Howard County guidelines such as:
  • Face coverings are encouraged inside the Alpha Ridge HALO building.

2022 General Meeting Topics / Speakers
Jan. 20

Thursday, January 20, 2022 beginning at 7:00PM

Topic: Paulo's Discoveries from his Personal Observatory

Presenter: Paulo Cacella, Senior Consultant, Central Bank of Brazil

Artifacts: Presentation PDF | Video Recording on YouTube | Chat Log

Paulo Cacella

Paulo has a background in Electrical Engineering with MBA in Big Data and A.I. He has been an amateur astronomer since 9 years old and an active researcher in fields like finance, philosophy and astronomy. His observatory includes a 20in reflector on a HD32 Chronos mount, C14 with Hyperstar, Meade 12ACF with LHIRESIII spectroscope, RC10 for astroimaging, Meade 10 with a DSS7 spectroscope, FLT98 and Z71 APOs, Solar 120mm scope and some others.

He is going to talk about discoveries that were made in his observatory, software he developed for searching transient and asteroid/comets; he will also show some of his astrophotos.

Feb. 17

Thursday, February 17, 2022 beginning at 7:00PM

Topic #1: Space Art: Personal Experiences of an Artist/Author

Presenter: Ron Miller -- Space Artist, Science Fiction Illustrator and Author

Artifacts: Presentation PDF | Video Recording on YouTube | Chat Log

Ron Miller is an author and illustrator specializing in space and astronomy. His work appears regularly in magazines such as Astronomy and Scientific American. He is also the author and illustrator of 70 books, including: Space Art: Starlog Photo Guidebook, Cycles of Fire: Stars, Galaxies, and the Wonder of Deep Space, The Grand Tour: A Traveler's Guide to the Solar System, The Art of Chesley Bonestell, The History Of Science Fiction, The Art of Space: The History of Space Art, from the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era, and many others. The most recent is Natural Satellites: The Book of Moons, which came out in 2021. He also designed a set of postage stamps celebrating the exploration of the solar system. The "Pluto Not Yet Explored" stamp is attached to the New Horizons spacecraft. It is now in the Guinness Book of World Records as having traveled further than any other stamp in history. He has also worked on motion pictures, probably most notably the David Lynch Dune.

This will be a very interactive session. Ron Miller will begin with an overview of his nearly 50-year career as a space artist, science fiction illustrator and author (which you can read about on Wikipedia) -- what he has done previously as well as his current focus. Then we'll open it up to questions, giving everyone a chance to ask about any aspect of his career you'd like to know more about.

Topic #2: Quantum Tunneling in Nuclear Fusion

Presenter: Arjun Meenashi Sundar

Arjun is 11.8 years old kid. He is in 6th grade and is very interested in Asteroid mining and Quantum Mechanics which are some of his lifetime passions. This is his current desired career path. He also has other interests, such as Visual Arts, playing guitar, and astrophotography, which is a very recent hobby.

Mar. 17

Thursday, March 17, 2022 beginning at 7:00PM

Topic: Filters

Presenter: Phil Whitebloom and other HAL members

Artifacts: Presentation PDF | Video Recording | YouTube | Chat Log | Related Blog (Jim Tomney)


Our March 2022 HAL Meeting is coming up Thursday, March 17th beginning at 7:00PM EST.
Note: This will be a Zoom meeting only. We will not be at Robinson Nature Center.

Our primary discussion topic will be "Filters". A panel of experts will discuss what filters to use for both observational astronomy and also for astro-imaging. They will share their knowledge answer all of your questions. Knowing what filters to use for what conditions and objectives will greatly enhance your night-out and solar experiences.

In addition we are going to discuss a new members only platform known as "Discord". Some of you have already been using our Discord server to share information and experiences. We are now ready to roll it out to the membership. And there is more, including our new YouTube Channel and sharing your recent picture submissions.

Apr. 21

Thursday, April 21, 2022 beginning at 7:00PM

Topic: Six Impossible Things

Presenter: Dr. Benjamin Schumacher, Professor of Physics at Kenyon College

Artifacts: Presentation PDF | Video Recording on YouTube | Chat Log

Some things are possible and some are not. That line between the possible and the impossible can tell us a lot about the way Nature works. In this talk we will ponder a few impossibilities, from the notorious (time travel, escape from a black hole) to the obscure (quantum cloning), using them to discover some of the physical principles that govern information in our quantum universe. As one might expect upon a journey into wonderland, our constant companion will be Alice -- thanks to her creator Lewis Carroll and her most famous illustrator Sir John Tenniel. Many surprises await beyond the looking-glass of the impossible.

Bio: Dr. Benjamin Schumacher is Professor of Physics at Kenyon College, where he has taught for 20 years. He received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from The University of Texas at Austin in 1990. Professor Schumacher is the author of numerous scientific papers and two books, including Physics in Spacetime: An Introduction to Special Relativity. As one of the founders of quantum information theory, he introduced the term qubit, invented quantum data compression (also known as Schumacher compression), and established several fundamental results about the information capacity of quantum systems. For his contributions, he won the 2002 Quantum Communication Award, the premier international prize in the field, and was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Besides working on quantum information theory, he has done physics research on black holes, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics. Professor Schumacher has spent sabbaticals working at Los Alamos National Laboratory and as a Moore Distinguished Scholar at the Institute for Quantum Information at California Institute of Technology. He has also done research at the Isaac Newton Institute of Cambridge University, the Santa Fe Institute, the Perimeter Institute, the University of New Mexico, the University of Montreal, the University of Innsbruck, and the University of Queensland.


Dr. Benjamin Schumacher
May 19

Thursday, May 19, 2022 beginning at 7:00PM

Topic: International Latitude Observatory

Presenter: Karen Yaffe Lottes, Gaithersburg Community Museum

Artifacts: Presentation PDF | Video Recording on YouTube | Chat Log


Special presentation by Karen Yaffe Lottes on a historical site that is in our own backyard, the "International Latitude Observatory".

Karen Yaffe Lottes is an historian and museum educator at the Gaithersburg Community Museum where she creates informal educational opportunities in history and STEM at the museum and the Latitude Observatory. Her book In Search of Maryland Ghosts: Montgomery County was published in 2013 and she has written for In Gaithersburg Magazine, the Gazette, and other area publications.

June 16

Thursday, June 16, 2022 beginning at 7:00PM

Topic: Possible Causes of Hydration of Vesta's Oppia Crater

Presenter: Dominic Alfinito, Senior, North County High School in Glen Burnie, MD

Establishing conclusive evidence of hydration on solar system bodies is a key step in gaining a better understanding of our solar system's evolution and present composition. Oppia crater is a location on asteroid Vesta where a hydration feature has been detected but there is no direct evidence/reason for how it got there. This research project hoped to start answering this question.

Dominic is a senior at North County High School in Glen Burnie, MD who will be graduating next month. He has been a very active member of the Mock Trial team as well as the Astronomy Club throughout his high school career. Dominic will be attending college at UMBC right here in Baltimore and plans to study Physics with an emphasis in Astronomy.

Dominic Alfinito

2013 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2014 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
2015 Meetings - Speakers and Topics
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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

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Last modified: May 22, 2022 @ 23:03 EST