Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • 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

  • 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.


  • Stars over Yellowstone

    Has there been any dates set yet for Yellowstone 2010 yet.  Just thinking about trying to book  some camping spots.


  • Stars Over Yellowstone – August `09

    We had yet another great weekend in Yellowstone with Jim Manning, executive director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, presenting two wonderful talks even through we were somewhat clouded out on Saturday night.

    Friday night was spectacular and we had the telescopes set up in the parking lot rather than down in the meadow below the amphitheater and this worked out quite well overall.  The turnout for Jim’s first campfire presentation was large and we had a huge crowd at the telescopes into the night.  Jupiter was rising as the Sun set and was high in the sky as Jim’s presentation was over and the crowd moved up to the telescopes.  Of course, everyone got to view Jupiter and the Galilean moons,  M14 The Hercules Cluster and many other jewels of the summer sky.

    On Saturday, Charlie, Dr. Sabo, Eric and Ester, and our friends from YVAA, Kevin Bebbe and Rich McCellan, were at Old Faithful for solar observing throughout the afternoon.  Burt Rutan and his wife Tonya stopped by and Eric, Charlie and I got to visit with them for a few minutes about SMAS, commercial space flight, and science education among other topics.  What a pleasant surprise and honor to meet and visit with these good folks.

    Jim’s campfire presentation Saturday evening, Galileo’s Universe, was wonderful and a large crowd turned out.  Duncan and I had decided to return to Bozeman after Jim’s presentation and so we missed the observing session but a great weekend overall.  I really can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend.  Cheers…

  • Stars Over Yellowstone – July `09

    The kids and I headed down to Madison on Friday afternoon leaving a sweltering Bozeman behind us. As they always are this time of year, things were pretty busy in the park but the weather was beautiful and things were relatively quiet at the Madison campground. After hooking up with Dr. Stacy Palin, Dr. John Anderson and Dr. Shane Larson and family as well as other club members and having a nice dinner followed up with s’mores around the campfire, we all headed over to the amphitheater to get setup.

    Dr. Palin presented her lecture The Lives of Stars to a large audience while SMAS members got the telescopes setup below on the meadow. After the lecture it was fairly crowded but it looked as though everyone got to put their eye to the eyepiece on several telescopes and see the many wonders of a very dark sky. A few of the favorite objects viewed were M13, the Hercules Cluster, M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy, and of course, Jupiter and its Galilean moons as they rose in the southeast.

    As things quieted down, we toured Sagittarius and Scorpius on the big telescopes hitting many  of the wonderful emission nebulae in those constellations that we only get to see this time of year. As the night worn on, Dr. Larson and SMAS president Dr. Richard Sabo took a group of us on a wonderful tour of lesser known but spectacular objects such as NGC 5907, the Splinter Galaxy, NGC 6543, the Cats Eye Nebula, and the Veil Nebula supernova remnant.

    The weather did not cooperate much on Saturday. The solar observing session at Old Faithful was pretty much clouded and rained out, although Lynn Powers stuck it out and provided handouts and deployed the solar system scale model. In the evening, the skies began to clear and Dr. Palin presented Astrostories: Constellation Stories from the Ancients to a large audience at the amphitheater but high thin clouds preventing any observing.

    All in all, a good time was had by all over the weekend. Special thanks to Dr. Palin for her presentations and to all of the SMAS members who came and helped out. I also want the thank the National Park Service for letting us come and enjoy the dark skies of Yellowstone and share our love of astronomy with others.

  • Stars Over Yellowstone

    The August “Stars Over Yellowstone” will be held August 21 – 22 at Madison Campground in Yellowstone Park.

    Jim Manning, Executive Director of the Astonomical Society of the Pacific, will talk at the campground amphitheater followed by a public “Star Party” in the meadow behind the amphitheater.  Bring your own telescope or use one of the clubs.

    Prior to becoming Executive Director of ASP, Jim was the Head of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute. Mr. Manning has worked in the planetarium field for many years, as Director of the Taylor Planetarium (Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT), Director of the Staerkel Planetarium (Parkland College, Champaign, IL), and Assistant Director of the Morehead Planetarium (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC). He holds a BS degree in Mathematics and Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin and an MA in Physics and Astronomy from the University of North Carolina. He is a member of many planetarium and education organizations, and served as President of the International Planetarium Society from 1995-96.

  • Stars Over Yellowstone

    The June “Stars Over Yellowstone” will be held June 19-20 at Madison Campground in Yellowstone Park.

    Ryan Hannahoe from MSU’s Space Public Outreach Team will give a presentation entitled, “Listening to the Universe” at the campground amphitheater. Following the talk, a public “Star Party” in the meadow behind the amphitheater will occur.  Bring your own telescope or use one of the clubs.