Southwest Montana Astronomical Society

Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • November SMAS update

    Posted on November 4th, 2020 Lynn Powers No comments

     Sorry for the late notice for our virtual meeting this month – which happens to be tomorrow night!  Luisa has offered to do a talk for us, but tomorrow she is doing an online talk for the George Mason Observatory.  The Universe in the Infrared – Spitzer’s final voyage.  Starts at 8 p.m. Eastern/ 6 p.m. Mountain. 
    This page has more information:
    Along with the log on information: 
    To join this Evenings Under the Stars session and future sessions, here is the Zoom meeting connection info:
    Meeting ID: 929 6449 9451
    I’m sharing that page with you so you can log into other talks in the future. 
    We’ll get Luisa for our club member meeting after the new year.  

    Also, there is another online talk on Friday night that looks interesting, too: The first portrait of a black hole and beyond. 
    Caltech virtual lecture series Friday 11/6 starting at 7:pm Pacific time/ 8 p.m. Mountain
    It will be a youtube live event from the Caltech Astro page
    Again this site has past events in their archive – things to keep you busy for a very long time. 

    Next month is our year-end holiday pot luck and elections meeting.  Considering how the numbers are ramping up, we are considering a virtual pot luck SMAS member meeting.  Let us know your thoughts. 

  • SMAS October guest speaker

    Posted on September 24th, 2020 Lynn Powers No comments

    This Saturday is International Observe the Moon Night – if you can try to get outside and take a look! I got a sneak peek last night and the ISS flew overhead a beautiful site!

    Our October meeting will be a virtual meeting:  Thursday, October 1st via zoom – so you can join from the comfort of home. Starting at 7:00 p.m. mountain time. 

    “You can almost touch the stars”  By guest speaker Tom Field

    Even if you wanted to touch a star, they’re all impossibly distant.  Despite these great distances, astronomers have learned an enormous amount about stars. How?  The most common method to study stars is called spectroscopy, which is the science of analyzing the colorful rainbow spectrum produced by a prism-like device. 
    Until recently, spectroscopy was too expensive and too complicated for all but a handful of amateurs.  Today though, new tools make spectroscopy accessible to almost all of us.  You no longer need a PhD, dark skies, long exposures, enormous aperture … or a big budget! With your current telescope and FITS camera (or a simple webcam or even a DSLR without a telescope), you can now easily study the stars yourself.  Wouldn’t you like to detect the atmosphere on Neptune or the redshift of a quasar right from your own backyard?! 
    This talk, with lots of interesting examples, will show you what it’s all about and help you understand how spectroscopy is used in research. Even if you are an armchair astronomer, understanding this filed will enhance your understanding of things you have read about the night sky.  
    This 45 minute live via zoom presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. 

    Tom Field has been a contributing editor at Sky & Telescope Magazine for the past 7 years. He is the author of the RSpec software which received the S&T ‘Hot Product’ award in 2011.  Tom is a popular speaker who has spoken to hundreds of clubs via the web and in-person at many conferences, including NEAF imaging conference, the Winter Star Party, the Advancing Imaging conference, and others. 

    An email reminder along with the login information for zoom will be sent soon!

  • Space and Astronomy

    Posted on September 1st, 2020 Lynn Powers No comments

    It’s not just our little club in our part of the country that is seeing dramatic changes this year.

    We’ve missed heading out this past summer for all the events, star parties and outreach programs. And here we are into September with a meeting only a few days away – but we are still dealing with gathering and staying safe.

    Our October 1st meeting will be a virtual meeting – with several others planned. Members will receive emails with log in information.

    Until then – we thought you’d be interested in this article that outlines how this time of COVID-19 is impacting others. From Sky and Telescope magazine, enjoy the read.

  • 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

    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!