Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • Stars Over Yellowstone










    Used with permission from the artist: Tyler Nordgren, contact Tyler for information on reprints at: (Tyler was our speaker for July 2013 Stars Over Yellowstone.)

    Stars Over Yellowstone:

    After being a major contributing participant in the Stars Over Yellowstone events for 17 years, SMAS was informed by the Museum of the Rockies that they were going to take over total control of the event. SMAS was told that the Museum of the Rockies reserves the right to pick and choose who can participate in Stars Over Yellowstone, which they did during the 2014 dates by denying several longtime SMAS members from participation at the Yellowstone event.  SMAS is saddened by the Museums actions.  We were called into meetings over the summer with the museum, handed documents severing ties between SMAS and MOR, we said we wouldn’t sign the papers until we were able to discuss this with the SMAS membership, to which we were informed by the Executive Director of the Museum of the Rockies that they did not need our signature or permission because this was the direction that the Museum was heading. They said that they could run all astronomy related events without SMAS or SMAS members who have provided many years of service and expertise to museum events.

    They also said that they were taking over Astronomy Day – which SMAS started 19 years ago.

    They are taking control of the Pasley scope – which was written up in the Pasley trust to be jointly owned by SMAS and MOR.

    Not a good situation.  Since this has happened they have chosen to cut all communications with SMAS.



    Dates have been set for the Stars Over Yellowstone 2014 events:
    June 27-28: Speaker Jim Manning, Director Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco

    July 25-26: Speaker Mike Murray, manager Clark Planetarium, Salt Lake City

    August will be the Montana Star Watch event the 21st-24th


    2014 marks SMAS’s 17th year of going to Yellowstone National Park for public outreach events, which includes speakers and night time observing on the Friday and Saturday evenings at Madison Amphitheater, and solar viewing and Sun presentation at Old Faithful on Saturday afternoon.


    For 16 years the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society, along with the National Parks Service and the Museum of the Rockies, have hosted a star-party under the dark-skies of Yellowstone National Park.  Astronomy club members come down from Bozeman, as well as other  astronomers from Montana and Idaho, to descend on the Madison campground for a weekend of star-gazing.

    We are always happy to have traveling astronomers to join us for the star party, so bring your scopes.

    Typical weekend:

    Friday Night:

    • Guest speaker at the Madison Amphitheater (approximately 9:00 or 9:30 p.m., check with the park website for exact times).
    • Star-party directly following speaker (approximately 10:00 p.m.) in Madison Amphitheater parking lot.


    • Solar-gazing at Old Faithful by visitor center – 2:00 through 5:00 p.m.

    Saturday Night:

    • Guest speaker at the Madison Amphitheater.
    • Star-party directly following speaker.

    Some Pictures from the Stars Over Yellowstone July 2010 event


    Stars Over Yellowstone – July 2011

























































    Even when it clouds over we still do solar outreach education at Old Faithful.  See us in the bottom left side under the tree.