Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
RSS icon Email icon Bullet (black)
  • February 2017 Winter Lecture Series – by Dr. Ivy Merriot

    Join SMAS on Friday February 10th starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Commons (Baxter Lane at Love Lane) for a free public talk by Dr. Ivy Merriot. Bighorn Medicine Wheel

    The Dance of Stars Above the Big Horn Medicine Wheel

     The Big Horn Medicine Wheel, an eighty-foot circle of stones at nearly 10,000 feet in the mountains of Wyoming has long been known to “point” to the Sun on the morning of the longest day of the year. Ivy Merriot, PhD will share her current research on astronomical medicine wheels, showing how these wheels mirror the stars above, giving us an enduring, accurate, and cosmo-tuned method of marking time and tracking cosmic events. The Wheel’s mirroring of the sky above creates a dynamic star chart you can walk inside of, like the holographic map room in Star Trek. With a skywatcher’s skill-set, any visible celestial object can be studied over time from this type of astronomical Wheel, the Sun, Moon, planets, comets, asteroids, etc. The stone design of these astronomical medicine wheels make them instruments as useful in visual astronomy today as they were five thousand years ago.

  • January SMAS meeting

    Join us at the Sore Elbow Forge on Friday January 27th at 7:00 p.m. guest speaker Deanta Kelly will talk about the Pulsar search collaboration that Montana State University is doing with local high school students.   Stay tuned for the Winter Lecture Series: Feb – Dr. Ivy Merriott will update us on her Medicine Wheel research, March – Dr. Joe Shaw will share his new book with us, April – Dave Hoffman will talk about what he is doing as a NASA intern.   April the club will have a members only Messier Marathon.  In May SMAS members will travel to private land to view and research a set of cairns and a medicine wheel. 2017 will be a fabulous year!

  • SMAS 2016 winter meeting

    The next SMAS club meeting will be on December 2nd, 7:00 at the Sore Elbow Forge.  We normally combine our November and December club meetings and meet the first Friday in December – and hold our annual elections. SMAS club secretary Chris Roulson is working on the slate for the board, contact him if you have any questions.

    There are a lot of exciting events coming up in 2017, including:

    January, February and March we will have our Winter Lecture Series, stay tuned for a list of dates and speakers.

    August 21st – the Great American Eclipse!

  • October SMAS Meeting

    big-glass-mirrorJoin us on Friday October 28th at the Sore Elbow Forge starting at 7:00.

    Last month we voted to up the memory for our web page. That was done, and we have uploaded the Big Glass Powerpoint Presentation that Bill M. did for us in the spring. Thanks Bill, hope you all enjoy viewing the slides, you can find them under the Gallery tab above.

  • September 2016 SMAS meeting


    Join us Friday September 30th starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Sore Elbow Forge.

    We’ll catch up after our summer break.  Learn about setting up our scopes so they track well.  View some lunar samples from the Apollo missions.

    See you there!
    Free and open to the public.

  • 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.

  • Elections results

    Our February SMAS meeting was cancelled due to weather.  This weather system was something else.  University of Montana closed, first weather related closure in 22 years. Many of the highways in western Montana were closed due to blizzard conditions and drifting snow.  Local roads were closed except for essential travel only.

    Our speaker Dr. Nate McCrady, from the University of Montana, will reschedule his talk and come in the next few months.  We will post here and send out emails to our list.  If you are not on our list and want to be, send us an email.  Not knowing if the word got out about the cancellation, Chris and Lynn showed up at the Museum of the Rockies.  Eric gave a planetarium show to the dozen+ people who braved the weather.

    We have a new board for this coming year.  Thank you to our members who turned out to vote.

    Your 2014 SMAS Board: 
    President – Lynn Powers

    Vice President – Joe Witherspoon

    Secretary – Chris Roulson

    Treasurer – Gwen Witherspoon

    Members At Large: Joce Allen, Steve Bell, Duane Gregg

    Hospitality – Leslie Reardon

    Membership – Joce Allen

    Outreach – Joe Witherspoon

    Education – Lynn Powers