The Southwest Montana Astronomical Society (SMAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of the universe for recreational and scientific purposes, and promoting interest in amateur astronomy. Membership is open to all members of the public interested in the study of the night sky. Some of our central values include: discovery, involvement, team work, education, outreach, and enjoyment of all things astronomy. Basically, engage the public by bringing the simple joy of observing the universe.
Our meetings are on the last Friday of each month (September through May) at the Museum of the Rockies. The meeting may include a speaker, demonstration, workshop, and/or reports of current activities of the club.
Every year SMAS holds two state-wide events. The Montana Astrofair, which takes place in March, is an exciting blend of seminars, shows, classes, and displays. Daytime and night observing sessions are part of the activities. Held in conjunction with the Museum of the Rockies, it is an event well worth attending. During the later part of the summer SMAS holds its annual Montana Starwatch. This event is held at a dark sky observing area (and we mean DARK skies!) that is attended by people from all over the country. In addition to some of the most incredible observing conditions seen, StarWatch has many daytime activities, including those always associated with the backcountry of Montana. Saturday evening includes an outdoor BBQ dinner. Star Watch is an event members start looking forward to only days after the last one ends.
Other common activities of SMAS include informal star parties at the Museum of the Rockies or at dark-sky sites, workshops on choosing, using and making telescopes, observing techniques, sky lore and technical projects.
For over 14 years SMAS has hosted Stars Over Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park, with speakers, solar observing and dark sky observing. Generally held during new moon phase in the months of June, July and August. We are always happy to have visiting amateur astronomers join us for observing.
There are dues which are used to cover the cost of SMAS functions. Benefits include free or discounted access to SMAS functions, voting privileges, and subscription discounts on popular astronomy magazines.