Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • 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.

  • As seen on TV

    There has been several great astronomical events recently, and Mike Heard at KBZK helped to get the word out.  A short clip for Astronomy Day was shown the first week of April, followed by a live appearance for the eclipse on the KBZK studio patio.  Jacob Kushner had first light on the Hiscock Telescope on April 14th live on TV as we were waiting on the eclipse.  Jacob has been building the scope from the MSGC grant with the help of several high school students and some members of SMAS.

  • 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.

  • July & August Stars Over Bozeman Star Parties

    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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  • Pasley Telescope Update

    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…

  • Pasley Telescope Refresh

    The Laura D. Pasley Memorial Telescope, the club’s venerable 20″ Star Splitter, has been long overdue for major maintenance and a few enhancements.  Our President, Dr. Richard Sabo, and Vice-president, Charlie Rose, have been quietly working away on these tasks for some time now.

    Beyond the much needed maintenance and cleaning, the scope will now be equiped with digital setting circles.  This is a truly awesome instrument and it is wonderful to see it getting the tender loving care that it deserves.  I for one am really looking forward to completion of this work.  We’ll keep you posted as things progress. Cheers…