Southwest Montana Astronomical Society

Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • Annular Solar Eclipse – Sunday May 20, 2012

    Posted on May 17th, 2012 Lynn Powers No comments

    A partial annular solar eclipse will occur on Sunday May 20th.  SMAS members be setting up our sun funnel and scopes equipped with special solar filters at the Museum of the Rockies for safe public viewing of this event starting at 7:00p.m. At totality, approximately 7:22 p.m,. the moon will cover around 71% of the sun.

    The public is invited to come out and view this spectacular event.  Follow the signs, we will be setting up around the side near the Tinsley House.

    Please be advised that viewing of this event with the naked eye or other non safe viewing methods can and will cause damage to the eye.  SMAS will have special filters and other methods for safe viewing.

    Shield your Eyes!

  • Directory of members for SMAS

    Posted on May 14th, 2012 No comments

    Hi members,

    I think its about time for a club directory with pictures. I need some feed back because I know some of you won’t. So it does not have to be complete, some of us don’t even know the other members email. First do you want your club email address in a directory? Email you opinions to bobwiersma1322@ .

  • Summer Workshop with Project Archaeology

    Posted on May 9th, 2012 Lynn Powers No comments

    We had a great turn out for Ivy Merriot’s Big Horn Medicine Wheel talk in March.  Ivy is back with a workshop for teachers and other interested people July 25-26 at the Museum of the Rockies.  A description of the class says: This workshop provides a model for the instruction of the new Project Archaeology Special Topic Unit on Archaeoastronomy. Students will learn the basic skills of skywatching while looking for evidence of skywatching at specific archaeoastronomy sites. Workshop participants will learn how stones and landscape features align with the Sun and stars to establish a sense of time and an awareness of place. Students will experience how oral histories and mythologies narrate the relationships seen in the sky. Participants (modeling the learner’s behavior) will build archaeoastronomical structures, create alignments that other participants will investigate, interpret evidence through pictures, writing and stories, and explore how ancient people made use of the sky to pass on knowledge through time.  Please email Ivy Merriot at for more information

  • Telescope Class

    Posted on May 7th, 2012 Lynn Powers No comments

    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

    Posted on May 7th, 2012 No comments

    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

  • A good day of outreach

    Posted on April 21st, 2012 Lynn Powers No comments

    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

    Posted on April 20th, 2012 Lynn Powers No comments

    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

    Posted on April 15th, 2012 Lynn Powers No comments

      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

    Posted on March 15th, 2012 Lynn Powers No comments

    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

    Posted on January 29th, 2012 Lynn Powers No comments

    “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.