Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • 2017 and the Great American Eclipse

    On the morning of Monday August 21, 2017 a total solar eclipse will cross North America.  Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 1.07.17 PMOnly those along the path of totality will experience the sun being totally blocked by the moon and the sky going black.  All others from Canada through the US and Mexico, and on down to Central America will experience a partial eclipse.  Here in Bozeman it will be approximately 95% coverage.  If you plan to go south into Wyoming or Idaho, you could experience totality. If you plan on staying here in Bozeman, be sure you have proper equipment to observe the eclipse.  For a better view click on the image:

    AAS-Solar-Eclipse-Safety-v160824  Follow this link for more information on how you can safely observe the eclipse

  • White House Astronomy Night: A Celebration of Science, Technology, and Space

    Join the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society as we celebrate the White House Astronomy Night.  Astronomy clubs around the nation will be heading to the lawn with telescopes to view the night sky.  We will be at the Bozeman Public Library front lawn Monday October 19, 2015 starting at 6:30 p.m.  Starting off with a short talk “What’s up in our night sky”, followed by viewing through telescopes.

    To find out more about the White House Astronomy Night check out this link.

    The Bozeman Public Library is located at 626 East Main Street, Bozeman.

  • May SMAS meeting

    NOTE: New time, one hour earlier.  Our May SMAS club meeting will take place on Friday May 30th, 6:00 pm in the Redstart room, downstairs at the Museum of the Rockies.

    With nice weather, it’s time to take out your telescope and start using it.  We will learn how to collimate a Newtonian dob type and a Schmidt Cassegrain type of telescope.  Having a properly collimated telescope enhances your viewing.  We will have club members demonstrate how to collimate a telescope and what tools to use.   Take out the eye piece  from your telescope and look into your telescope, see diagram to the left… hopefully it doesn’t look like view A or B above.  If it does, don’t worry, that is what we’ll help you to fix. A properly collimated telescope should look like view C.   Bring your telescope and you can work along side as you listen to our members show you how to get the best out of your telescope.  We will be inside as we do this class.  Weather permitting we may go and try out our properly aligned telescopes.  Come prepared in case we do.  Class from 6-8, sun set at 9:05 pm.

  • TEDx 2014

    As promised, TEDx info for Shane and Michelle Larson. Shane gave a presentation at Northwestern on Pluto and Michelle was in Bozeman and talked about verbs, aka action words. Also a link to Shane’s blog.
    Shane TEDx:
    Shane blog:
    Michelle’s TEDx:

  • Save the dates

    There are some events that are coming up that we wanted to let you know about.

    April 5 – Astronomy Day at the Museum of the Rockies 12-4pm

    April 14-15 – Total Lunar Eclipse – no local event planned, but be sure to get out and observe.

    April 25 – Next SMAS meeting at the Museum of the Rockies, 7pm

    June 22 – the First International  SUN-day, at the Bozeman Public  Library 3-5pm

    June 27-28 – Stars Over Yellowstone June weekend at Madison Amphitheater, with Jim Manning

    July 25-26 – Stars Over Yellowstone July weekend at Madison Amphitheater, with Mike Murray

    August 21-24 – Montana Starwatch: go to for more information

  • 2014 Astronomy Day: April 5th


    Astronomy Day at the Museum of the Rockies. View the flyer for more information  astronomydayflyer  or see the post below.

  • March: National Women’s History Month 2014

    The theme for National Women’s History Month this year is: Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.  NASA is spotlighting women in STEM careers and has asked local clubs to highlight this locally.

    Several events are planned in and around Bozeman.  The bookclub selection and children’s storytime for the Bozeman Public Library this month have been chosen with this theme in mind.  A talk from SMAS will be given at ParkHaven on Tuesday March 11th.   The library’s Family Science night on Tuesday March 18th is being put on by the Bozeman High School Astronomy Club with several of the girls from the club conducting the activities.  On Friday March 28th, SMAS is having Dr. Sarah Jaeggli give an update on the IRIS mission for the winter lecture series to close out the month of activities.

  • Stars Over Yellowstone 2012

    The dates are set for our 15th year of Stars Over Yellowstone Summer 2012.

    Put these dates on your calendar and come join us for the fun.

    June 22 & 23 – speaker: Jim Manning
    July 20 & 21 – speakers: Michelle and Shane Larson
    Aug. 17 & 18 – speaker: SPOT program from MSU

    Be sure and check the details on our Stars Over Yellowstone page.

    Enjoy a few pictures from our July 2011 event, more pictures are posted on our Stars Over Yellowstone page.


  • Telescope Class

    Do you own a telescope that has turned into an expensive coat rack?  Did you lose your instructions and forgot how to set it up?  Well dust off that scope and bring it over to the Museum of the Rockies (come even if you don’t own a telescope but intend to purchase one) on Saturday May 28th between 1:00 and 3:00 and meet some of the SMAS telescope experts.  We can help you get it set up, show you how to align it and collimate it if necessary.  Then we’ll show you how to use it to find some objects in the night sky.  Free with admission to the Museum of the Rockies.

  • Stars over Bozeman star parties planned

    The Southwest Montana Astronomical Society (SMAS) is pleased to announce:

    Stars over Bozeman”

    Friday, June 11th , back up date in case of cloud cover June 12th

    Friday, July 16th, back up date  in case of cloud cover July 17th

    Friday, August 13th, back up date in case of cloud cover August 14th

    Setup at 9 pm with viewing by 10:00 pm; with better viewing after 11:00 pm.  These 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.

    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.  Club 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. This requires the use of a ladder to look into the eyepiece for most people.   We are excited to use the Pasley this summer following a refurbishing project that included having the mirror refinished.

    Bring your own telescope if you wish and members of SMAS will help you to use it.