Southwest Montana Astronomical Society

Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • July & August Stars Over Bozeman Star Parties

    Posted on June 9th, 2009 Charlie Rose No comments

    The Southwest Montana Astronomical Society is pleased to announce Stars Over Bozeman. As a group of amateur astronomers we wish to share our telescopes and knowledge of the night skies to all who wish to attend this free after dark event. Telescopes to be used range in size from small traditional 3 inch telescopes to our Pasley Dobsonian which has a 20 inch diameter lens mirror and is close to 8 feet tall when pointing straight up requiring the use of a ladder to look into the eyepiece. Bring your own telescope if you wish and members of SMAS will help you to use it.

    The events will be held at the 100 Acre Gallatin Regional Park located on Oak St 1.2 miles west of North 19th Street in Bozeman. The events will be held on Friday, July 17th and Friday, August 14th starting at 10:00 PM with better viewing after 11:00 PM.If it is cloudy, the event will be cancelled.

    [ Due to an editing error, the date was published in the Montana Pioneer as July 18th, so we need to have a few scopes out for a star party that night as well. ]
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  • Upcoming Star Party!

    Posted on May 3rd, 2009 No comments

    Star Gazing Montana Style
    May 29, 2009
    9:30 – 12:00PM
    Gallatin Regional Park – West Oak Street

    The Southwest Montana Astronomical Society will be holding a public star party at the Gallatin Regional Park on West Oak Street on Friday, May 29th starting at 9:30PM. This event will last until mid-night, and if the weather is poor then the event will be rescheduled for Saturday, May 30th. The 100 acre Gallatin Regional Park is located 1.2 miles west of 19th street.

  • Gallatin Valley Forum to feature Dr. Joe Shaw

    Posted on April 21st, 2009 No comments

    Club member and Montana State University professor, Dr. Joe Shaw, will present at the next Gallatin Valley Forum. Shaw’s presentation will discuss Preserving the Big Sky at Night and Montana Optical Technology. Within his presentation, Dr. Shaw will cover how he develops optical sensors and uses them to explore the natural Earth’s environment. This program will take place on Wednesday, April 29, 7pm at the Bozeman Public Library, and is free and open to the public.

    For more information, please call Paula Beswick at 582-2426.

  • Upcoming meeting: April 24th, 2009

    Posted on April 14th, 2009 No comments

    Ryan Hannahoe, director of client support services with the Fair Dinkum Skies Observatory and an MSU student, will discuss “Astronomical Imaging: The Point When Art Breaks Through Science” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24, in the Museum of the Rockies’ Hager Auditorium.

    The lecture is free and open to the public.

    Participants are invited to join Hannahoe as he discusses the art of digital astronomical photography. Hannahoe is expected to share some of his works and process an image ‘on-the-fly’ for the audience to see how processing techniques can be applied.

    The Museum’s winter lecture series is sponsored by the Montana Space Grant Consortium, Museum of the Rockies and the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society.

  • Exit Gallery exhibition (April 20th – May 1st)

    Posted on March 28th, 2009 Administrator No comments

    SMAS member and MSU undergraduate, Ryan Hannahoe, will be having his astronomical work featured in a solo art exhibit appearing in Montana State University’s  Exit Gallery. This exhibition will occur from April 20th through May 1st, and the hours of operation for the gallery are Monday through Friday from 9 to 5PM.

    On April 22nd a catered artist reception will be held in room 212 of the Student Union Building from 5 to 7PM. Come out to support Ryan and his work!

  • The GLOBE at Night

    Posted on March 16th, 2009 Lynn Powers 2 comments

    The Southwest Montana Astronomical Society (SMAS) invites you to participate in the annual global sky observation known as GLOBE at Night.  GLOBE at Night brings people outside to observe the constellation Orion from 16-28 March 2009. Participants simply choose a clear night on which stars are visible, take measurements of stars in this portion of the sky using GLOBE’s Magnitude Charts, and enter observations into the GLOBE at Night Web site.  Data about sky quality is collected, from which scientists can begin to explore the concept of light pollution and to research the patterns of light pollution across the globe.

    SMAS will be holding an informational meeting about the 2009 observation week in the Bozeman Public Library large meeting room on Saturday March 21, 2009 at 1:00 p.m.  SMAS members will demonstrate how to find Orion in the night sky, how to use the GLOBE’s magnitude charts and how to log your observations.  With 2009 designated as the “International Year of Astronomy”, SMAS and Globe at Night are trying to get everyone outside and looking up. This is a great way to view a fun constellation and learn more about our night sky.

    March 24th UPDATE:  The local CBS affiliate, KBZK, ran a piece on the GLOBE at Night event on their 5:00 and 10:00 newscast this evening, and a link to the GLOBE at Night website can be found on the KBZK website

  • Astronomy Day 2009 at the Museum of the Rockies

    Posted on March 12th, 2009 1 comment

    Four-hundred years ago Galileo Galilei began using telescopes to examine objects that were located in the sky. Immediately he made important discoveries: the Moon’s craters and mountains, moons revolving around Jupiter, dark spots on the Sun, phases of Venus, etc. The year 2009 has been named the International Year of Astronomy and commemorates the beginning of a new science ushered in by Galileo himself. The public is invited to join the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society, the Museum of the Rockies, the Montana Space Grant Consortium, the Solar Physics Research Group of Montana State University, and the SPIE Student Chapter of Montana State University, during Astronomy Day on April 4th to participate in the celebration.

    Planned activities include: planetarium shows, a number of presentations that will cover exciting subjects ranging from ‘Astronauts and Aliens’ to ‘Crow Indian Perspectives on the Night Sky’. A telescope exhibit will showcase many astronomical types of equipment and the Sun can be observed from the plaza entrance to the Museum (weather permitting). A fun children’s program will be offered and also a live demo on Internet astronomy will occur.

    Astronomy Day will take place at the Museum of the Rockies from 1:00 to 4:00 PM on Saturday, April 4, 2009. The day’s events and Museum admission will be FREE to the public. For more information please view the ‘Astronomy Day 2009‘ section of this website for a more detailed agenda.

  • Comet Lulin

    Posted on February 24th, 2009 No comments

    Great job Robert, and thanks for your hard work on the web site!

    I may temporarily be without big glass, but that hasn’t stifled by my interest in comets.  I took my Nikon D70 out tonight and with a 300mm zoom lens was able to capture Comet Lulin. . . at least I think. . . maybe this picture is M100!   I expected it  to be significantly brighter.  But then, I was not very far outside of Butte, so the skys were not real dark.\I’ll post a heavily processed image when I figure out how!  (exposure details:  f4.6, ~2min, 300mm (maybe a bit less), from a spot about 2 miles SE of Butte, MT, about 11:30PM. 21FEB09)  It looks like I have created a new gallery named Comet Lulin into which I have stuffed a snap shot from tonight’s session.

  • Pasley Telescope Update

    Posted on February 21st, 2009 Robert Banfill No comments

    Work on the Laura D. Pasley Telescope continues and is nearing completion.  Today I spent a few hours with SMAS President Dr. Richard Sabo installing digital setting circles in his workshop.  Aside from some cable routing and other small details, work on the telescope structure is complete.

    The last major task is the resurfacing of the mirror.  After a careful cleaning it is clear that this will be required.  Dr. Sabo is working with various SMAS members to make a determination as to who we will choose to resurface the mirror.  Once resurfacing is completed, this wonderful instrument will once again provide awesome views of the cosmos for all to see.

    I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this effort but particularly our President and Vice President for restoring and this beautiful instrument to better than new condition.  I am really looking forward to putting my eye to the eyepiece.  Cheers…

  • Gravitational Waves

    Posted on February 21st, 2009 Robert Banfill No comments

    Dr. Neil Cornish presented the second in our winter lectures series, Gravitational Waves: A new way of seeing the Universe, to a nearly packed house in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies this evening.  It is clear that his work, along with his colleagues in this new branch of astronomy, will bring a deep new understanding about our Universe in the very near future.

    Dr. Neil Cornish

    Dr. Neil Cornish

    His explanation of how observations of gravitational waves will complement electromagnetic observations and how this will help to resolve uncertainties and gaps in our current understanding of the cosmos was both comprehensive and understandable.  This lecture was enlightening on many levels and definitely helped me to understand what gravitational waves are and what we will learn from them.

    I want to thank Dr. Cornish, SMAS, The Museum of the Rockies, the Montana Space Grant Consortium, and everyone who came out this evening for making this event possible.  We wish him success in his work and hope that he will come back again soon and keep us all up to date on the progress in the new and exciting field.  Cheers…