Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • 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.

  • From the Big Bang to Broadway: How Things Evolve – Lecture at MOR

    Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7pm, Museum of the Rockies
    Join Robert M. Hazen of the Carnegie Institute of Washington for a presentation on how things evolve. Hazen will compare evolution is everything from the development of language and progress in culture and the arts, to the formation of chemical elements in stars following the Big Bang and diversification of minerals on Earth-like planets. The similarities and differences among these systems underscore general principles of emergent complexity and underscore the power and plausibility of biological evolution.
    Free and open to the public. Presented by the MSU Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center.

  • Follow Us

    You can follow  us on Twitter @1SMAS or like our Facebook Page, search under Southwest Montana Astronomical Society.  We’re trying to follow the new technologies that are emerging in today’s society.  We’ve had our solar observing schedule sent out on twitter as well as posted on FB by NightSkyNetwork and CamillaSDO this past summer.

  • The Astronomer

    ‘The Astronomer’

    It appears my reputation as ‘The Astronomer’ precedes me.  Here is an example.  I was at the office of my dentist.  Everybody there knows already of my interest.  During the examination Tanya (name changed), one of the technicians, walked by and asked

    “Hey Fred, how are the stars these days?”

    Fred: “Good, they are still there”

    Later I thought I needed to amend my simplistic answer.

    F.: “Actually, somewhere out there in the vast universe some stars have exploded in the meantime, they are called novae.”

    Now Dr. Perry (name changed) is interested.

    P.: “Will the sun explode too?”

    F.: “No, it will not, it is not massive enough. But, it will toward the end of its life turn into a red giant and swell in size to the orbit of Mars and most likely consume the four inner planet including Earth.”

    P.:“Whow, when will this happen?”

    F.: “In about four to five billion years.”

    P.: “Ah, that’s good to hear, that’s a long time out.  But if ‘we’ still inhabit Earth at that time we better make sure we have left the planet.”

    F.: “We have four billion years to learn how to practice interstellar space flight”

    P.: “Yeah that is a good justification of space flight.”

    There is always an opportunity to ‘spread the word’.  I have practiced this for a long time and always enjoy it.  If we all do this kind of thing, slow but steady, we might make a tiny dent every time that we have this opportunity.

    F.B. 11-17-2010

  • Co-founder and chief scientist of the SETI@home to give next SMAS lecture!

    Dan Werthimer, co-founder and chief scientist of the SETI@home project, will present “IS ANYBODY OUT THERE? The Search for ET with help from Eight Million Volunteers,” on Friday, Oct. 15, at 6 p.m. in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum the Rockies.

    Werthimer will discuss the possibility of life in the universe and the search for radio and optical signals from other civilizations. He will also discuss other citizen science projects, next generation telescopes, instrumentation, and algorithms for SETI, as well as speculate on when earthlings might discover other civilizations.

    Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

    Sponsors of the lecture include the Montana State University Physics Department, Museum of the Rockies, Montana ESPCoR and Southwest Montana Astronomical Society.

  • Getting some press

    Stars Over Bozeman got some press coverage today.  Mike Mestas from NBC-KTVM met with Charlie Rose this afternoon and filmed a segment for today’s news.

    KTVM interviewing Charlie Rose for Stars over Bozeman

  • Mini Star Party with the 13″ Gorsky

    Tonight in the park in front of my house here in Harvest Creek, I put on a star party for some teen kids playing in the park at dusk and 5th grade kids up the street having a birthday party sleep over thing. I got Saturn just as it was visible and was able to zoom in pretty good. The air was great with steady viewing. Then moved onto double stars Mizar, and Alberio. As it got dark enough the Ring and Hercules Cluster came into view well.  This is what the teenage kids got to see. At 10:30, on cue, the International Space Station flew right over and the 5th graders all showed up and got good views of Saturn & such.  A great night for a spur of the moment event here on the first really nice evenings of summer. There were 7 teens, 8 Fifth graders and 5 adults. Lots a fun. Gorsky worked great.

  • Bozeman Aurora

    On today’s web site, a beautiful picture of the Aurora was posted.  What makes it so great is that the picture was taken in Bozeman!  By Dr. Joe Shaw of MSU, our July Stars over Yellowstone speaker.  Nice going Joe.  Check out the website!

    “AURORAS INVADE THE USA: A high-speed solar wind stream hit Earth’s magnetic field on May 2nd, sparking a geomagnetic storm that lasted more than 15 hours. Red auroras spilled across the Canadian border and were spotted in several US states. Joseph Shaw sends this picture from Bozeman, Montana:

    “The red auroras were just visible to the naked eye and easily captured by my Nikon D300,” says Shaw. “Excellent treat!”

  • Come back Shane!

    It was great to hear Dr. Shane Larson speak about life out there, and space travel.   Thanks to everyone involved .

  • Free single axis motor drive system

    I have a Orion EQ-2M motor drive that I can’t use on an equatorial mount system.