Southwest Montana Astronomical Society

Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • Hubble 30th Anniversary

    Posted on July 12th, 2020 Lynn Powers No comments

    NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its launch aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. ACRM has been selected as one of a limited number of locations across the nation to unveil the Hubble 30th anniversary photo to the public. Handouts and activities provided by NASA and the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society.

    Join us on:

    • SATURDAY, JULY 18, 2020
    • 12:00 PM  4:00 PM
    • AMERICAN COMPUTER & ROBOTICS MUSEUM2023 STADIUM DRIVE, SUITE 1-A BOZEMAN, MT 59715UNITED STATES (MAP)

    To watch a video that describes the special 30th image, check out this on youtube.

  • Spring 2020 update

    Posted on March 28th, 2020 Lynn Powers No comments

    SMAS is following all the guidelines that are coming down from the various agencies during these quickly evolving and changing times. Until further notice we are distancing ourselves and have cancelled all club meetings, workshops and outreach events over the next few months. However, we are still working on plans for the future – if not this summer then next summer. We are hoping that the collaboration with the Camera Club of Bozeman and SMAS on an astrophotography event will happen in late Spring or early Summer.

    With all the preparations that would need to be in place, but with the uncertainties of what we will see this summer, we’ve decided to postpone Montana Starwatch for 2020 and are planning on a 2021 event either at the Ruby Reservoir or out near the Crazy Mountains.

    We hope that you are taking advantage of these times to get outside and look up! Stay safe!

  • March SMAS club meeting

    Posted on February 25th, 2020 Lynn Powers No comments
    Parker Solar Probe via NASA

    Join us at the American Computer & Robotic Museum on Thursday March 5th starting at 7:00 p.m. for a presentation on the Parker Solar Probes, they’ve made it around the sun 3 times, see what we’ve learned so far.

  • February 2020 Lecture

    Posted on January 20th, 2020 Lynn Powers No comments
    By Notanee Bourassa

    Join SMAS on Thursday February 6th at the American Computer & Robotics Museum for our Winter Lectures Series as we welcome famed Aurora chaser and photographer Notanee Bourassa, a citizen scientist who gave STEVE his name. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m., free and open to the public.

  • SMAS meetings for 2020

    Posted on December 31st, 2019 Lynn Powers No comments

    SMAS will be moving all of our meetings from the Last Friday of each month to the FIRST Thursday of each month (February 6th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th and June 4th.

    We are also moving our meeting locations to the American Computer & Robotics Museum located at: 2023 Stadium Drive, Suite 1-A in Bozeman.

    All meetings will start at 7:00 p.m. and run to 8:30 p.m.

    Our speaker series information will be posted soon.

  • SMAS year end meeting

    Posted on December 2nd, 2019 Lynn Powers No comments

    We combine our November and December meetings yearly. We hold our elections and we celebrate the end of the year with a potluck. Join us this Thursday – December 5th at 7p.m. at the home of our vice president Tom Holcombe – contact me for directions.

    Watch for upcoming Winter lecture series info coming soon.

  • Astrophotography

    Posted on October 30th, 2019 Lynn Powers No comments

    One of our SMAS members took this picture this week of M42, the Orion Nebula. Thanks for sharing Bill Macgregor!

    M42 Orion Nebula 10/26/2016 by Bill Macgregor

    It always amazes me when someone in our group takes up astrophotography. It is something that I’ve had a desire to try. I’ve done some smart phone photography with my cell phone through an eye piece of my telescope. I’ve taken pictures of the 2017 solar eclipse using a camera mounted to my telescope. I bought a digital camera to start playing with all sky photography to get the Milky Way or an aurora. However, I’ve still not taken much time to work on my skills. Kudos to those that do!

  • October SMAS meeting

    Posted on October 23rd, 2019 Lynn Powers No comments

    Sorry guys! Thought I hit the submit button on this info earlier:

    How did we get to the last week of the month already?
    The October SMAS meeting is this week. Friday October 25th starting at 7pmWe’ll be meeting at the Sore Elbow Forge Address: 955 Story Mill Rd, Bozeman, MT
    We have some club business to discuss, elections and a short presentation to follow regarding the new Artemis Mission. Free and open to the public.
    Calendar of events coming up: ~Bozeman Girl Scouts Moon event 10/26 (80 girls registered)~Butte Girl Scouts Moon event 10/27 (45 girls registered)~Transit of Mercury 11/11 – in progress when sun rises ~Nov/Dec combined meeting/potluck/elections – place to be determined.

  • Mercury Transit 2019

    Posted on October 22nd, 2019 Lynn Powers No comments

    Did you know that there are two other objects in our skies that have phases like the Moon? They’re the inner planets, found between Earth and the Sun: Mercury and Venus. You can see their phases if you observe them through a telescope. Like our Moon, you can’t see the planets in their “new” phase, unless they are lined up perfectly between us Earthlings and the Sun. In the case of the Moon, this alignment results in a solar eclipse; in the case of Mercury and Venus, this results in a transit, where the small disc of the planet travels across the face of the Sun. Skywatchers are in for a treat this month, as Mercury transits the Sun the morning of November 11!

    You may have seen the transit of Venus in 2012; you may have even watched it through eclipse glasses! However, this time you’ll need a solar telescope to see anything, since eclipse glasses will only reveal the Sun’s blank face. Why is that? Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system, and closer to the Sun (and further away from Earth) during its transit than Venus was in its 2012 transit. This makes Mercury’s disc too small to see without the extra power of a telescope. Make absolutely certain that you view the transit via a telescope equipped with a safe solar filter or projection setup. Do NOT combine binoculars with your eclipse glasses; this will instantly burn a hole through the glasses – and your eyes!

    What a fun opportunity to see another planet during the day! This transit is expected to last over five hours. Folks on the East Coast will be able to watch the entre transit, weather permitting, from approximately 7:35 am EST until around approximately 1:04 pm EST. Folks located in the middle of North America to the west coast will see the transit already in progress at sunrise. The transit takes hours, so if your weather is cloudy, don’t despair; there will be plenty of time for skies to clear! You can find timing details and charts via eclipse guru Fred Espenak’s website: bit.ly/mercurytransit2019

    Mercury’s orbit is small and swift, and so its position in our skies quickly changes; that’s why it was named after the fleet-footed messenger god of Roman mythology. In fact, if you have a clear view of the eastern horizon, you’ll be able to catch Mercury again this month! Look for it before dawn during the last week of November, just above the eastern horizon and below red Mars. Wake up early the morning of November 24th to see Mars, the Moon, and Mercury form a loose triangle right before sunrise.

    Discover more about Mercury and the rest of our solar system at nasa.gov


    This photo from the same 2016 transit event shows Mercury a bit larger, as it should; it was taken at a higher magnification through a large 16 inch telescope! Credit: J. A. Blackwell

    By David Prosper

  • SMAS September meeting

    Posted on September 18th, 2019 Lynn Powers No comments

    Join SMAS out at the Sore Elbow Forge on Friday September 27th starting at 7:00 p.m. We’re going to do an inventory of our club scopes and see what needs to be worked on. Bring your own scope and see what needs to be tightened, collimated, WD-40’d, repaired and more.