Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • Telescope Class

    After our committee got together to compare schedules and all other things pertinent to holding a successful event, it was decided that it was best to hold the telescope class at another time.  We are sorry for any inconvenience.  We will keep you posted on this blog when a new date has been set.

  • Saskatchewan Summer Star Party

    Saskatchewan Summer Star Party will be held August 16-19th at Cypress Hills Inter provisional park. Contact Rick Huziak @ (306) 665-3392 or e-mail sssp.sk2sasktel.net

  • A good day of outreach

    Saturday April 21st was Astronomy Day.  The sun cooperated, we had 5 active solar regions.  Over 800 visitors came to the Museum of the Rockies to visit the booths, listen to speakers, teacher workshops, participate in solar viewing and other fun activities.  The event was on the local news and made the paper, too.  Everyday People section of the news paper on Monday had a great article.  The club used the new Sun Funnel for the first time.  What a great tool.  Members decided that they needed to make another one.  Pictures will be added soon.  Thanks to everyone who came to help with our SMAS booths, both solar and lunar.

    Our next event is a SMAS member pot luck on April 28th, where we will get first light on the refurbished 12″ scope.

  • Summer Star Party Dates

    We have several dates set for star/solar viewing opportunities this coming summer.

    Annular Solar Eclipse viewing – May 20, 2012

    Transit of Venus viewing – June 5, 2012 (next one will be 2117)

    Stars over Bozeman – June 16, July 14, August 11, 2012

    Stars over Yellowstone – June 22/23, July 20/21, August 17/18

    Ruby Valley Star Party – August 16-19

    Lunch on the Lawn @ the Emerson solar viewing (dates to come)

  • Astronomy Day 2012

      Saturday April 21, 2012 at the Museum of the Rockies, join us for Astronomy Day.  The committee is working hard on putting together another fun event this year.  Dr. David Levy, founder of several comets, is scheduled to be our guest speaker.  Activities, teacher classes, exhibits and solar viewing are also on the schedule.  More information will be posted as we get closer to the event.  This event is free and open to the public.

  • March – Winter Lecture Series

    Join us for our March Winter Lecture by one of our club members – Ivy Merriot, free and open to the public. Hagar Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies, short SMAS club meeting following the lecture.

    March 30, 2012: Archaeoastronomy of the Big Horn Medicine Wheel – Ivy Merriot

    The Big Horn Medicine Wheel rests at nearly 10,000 ft in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains, only a few miles from the Montana border. It is a federally recognized Historic Landmark and Sacred Site although no indigenous people claim to have built it or have knowledge of when it was built. Forty years ago, solstice and stellar alignments embodied in the Big Horn Medicine Wheel were discovered by the solar physicist John Eddy, who then used these alignments to date the wheel’s origin. His results were published in the research journal Science in 1974. Recognition of this American “Stonehenge” caused a world-wide stir in the popular media with major newspapers and National Geographic taking notice. In 2012, evidence suggests this ”observatory” continues to track and predict astronomical changes through time.

  • Aurora Detection Network

    “Sold Out” was what the signs on the doors to the Museum of the Rockies said last night shortly after the doors opened.  The Hagar Auditorium was filled to capacity for the kick off of the 2012 Winter Lecture Series.  A local television news camera was already set up in the lobby by the time our speaker, Dr. Joseph Shaw, arrived early at the museum.  Dr. Joe Shaw is a professor at Montana State University and the director of the Optical Technology Center, he was scheduled to come to talk about “Enjoying the Aurora in Montana’ as well as announce the launching (in beta) of the new Aurora Detection Network , based out of MSU.  Everybody loves aurora’s, so when the local paper picked up the announcement for the lecture, the Chronicle decided to put full color pictures and an article on the front page of Friday’s paper Lighting up the Night .  Seeing the large influx of visitors, Joe quickly offered to do two lectures, back to back.  The Hagar was quickly filled twice.  The lecture was  interactive, very informative and filled with awesome aurora pictures.

  • Winter Lecture Series 2012

    Join us for the 2012 Winter Lecture Series.  7:00  p.m. in the Hagar Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies.  Admission is free, bring a friend.

    January 27, 2012: Enjoying the Aurora in Montana – Dr. Joe Shaw

     

    The Aurora Borealis is a colorful display of natural lights that can be seen frequently in the dark winter skies at high latitudes. Although people in the United States generally consider Montana to be a “northern” location, its location near 45 degrees latitude tells the true story that ours is really a mid-latitude location. Nevertheless, the aurora can be seen in Montana often enough to make it highly worthwhile to pay attention to the conditions and timing that lead to these beautiful displays. This presentation will review the physical causes of the aurora and demonstrate Internet sources of information that can help predict when an aurora might be visible in Montana. One of these tools is a recently developed online network of optical aurora detectors developed at Montana State University – Bozeman and installed around Montana. Beautiful photographs of the aurora will be included throughout the talk.

     

     

    February 24, 2012:  NASA’s Future Space Telescopes – Dr. Joe Howard

     

    What kind of telescopes are in space right now, and what is the future of telescopes in space?  What do we hope to discover with these long-gazing eyes? What goes into these machines built on Earth, and what is needed to keep them running in space?

    Dr. Joe Howard will discuss the past, present, and future state of optics in space. Joe serves as the lead optical designer for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the successor to Hubble Space Telescope.  He will discuss telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope, and WFIRST missions.

     

     

    March 30, 2012: Archaeoastronomy of the Big Horn Medicine Wheel – Ivy Merriot

     

    The Big Horn Medicine Wheel rests at nearly 10,000 ft in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains, only a few miles from the Montana border. It is a federally recognized Historic Landmark and Sacred Site although no indigenous people claim to have built it or have knowledge of when it was built. Forty years ago, solstice and stellar alignments embodied in the Big Horn Medicine Wheel were discovered by the solar physicist John Eddy, who then used these alignments to date the wheel’s origin. His results were published in the research journal Science in 1974. Recognition of this American “Stonehenge” caused a world-wide stir in the popular media with major newspapers and National Geographic taking notice. In 2012, evidence suggests this ”observatory” continues to track and predict astronomical changes through time. 

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  • October meeting change

    Our October meeting is moving to Friday November 4th.   In the Redstart room, downstairs at the Museum of the Rockies starting at 7:00 p.m.

    Our November and December meetings typically combine due to holidays and meets the first Friday of December, so we’ll be meeting on December 2nd.  At the Museum of the Rockies in the Redstart room starting at 7:00 p.m..  The December meeting is also our elections meeting.    We have several openings on our board, many hands make light work, and it’s a great way to get to know other members.

  • International Observe the Moon Night

    Join SMAS at the Museum of the Rockies plaza on Saturday October 8, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. for the International Observe the Moon Night.  SMAS will bring out telescopes and have several moon activities for visitors.  Many people think that the best time to observe the moon is when it is full, but that is probably the worst time to look at the moon.  When the moon is full it tends to be dazzlingly bright as well as flat and one dimensional.  On Saturday we will have a Waxing Gibbous moon which will give the moon more definition from the shadows of the mountains and craters.  Clouds Cancel.

    Forecasters say Earth is heading for a stream of dust from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner.   A close encounter with the comet’s fragile debris could spark a meteor outburst over parts of our planet on October 8th – another fun thing we’ll be watching for.