Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • SMAS archives


    The below was copied from the old MSU SMAS Website and archived here:


    Southwest Montana Astronomical Society 

      2009 Stars Over Yellowstone Dates Announced

    The dates for the Stars Over Yellowstone star parties are June 19-21, July 24-26, and Aug 21-23 at Madison Campground Amphitheater. Park entrance passes and tent camping sites at Madison campground are reserved and available free for the first five cars of volunteers. Astronomy talk will take place in the amphitheater at sundown followed by telescope viewing in the meadow below. This is the 11th annual SOY event! Originally created by James Manning (now Executive Director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific) and Mike Murray (now Director of the Clark Planetarium in Salt lake City).

    You need not be a SMAS club member to join us for this event! We enjoy sharing the nights skies of Yellowstone with all star-grazed enthusiasts!

    2009-01-18 – 2009 SMAS Winter Lecture Series Announced

    Astronomy experts will provide the latest information and research on the universe. Sponsored by the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society, the Montana Space Grant Consortium, and the MoR.   All lectures are at 7:30 pm in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies and are free to the public.

    January – Stacy Palen, Assistant Professor at Weber State University, will present News From The Very Latest In Very Large Arrays on Friday, January 30.

    February – Neil Cornish, Associate Professor at Montana State University, will present Gravitational Waves: A New Way Of Seeing The Universe on Friday, Feburary 20.

    March – Rob Landis, Mission Operations Directorate at NASA Johnson Space Center, will present Between The Moon And Mars  on Friday, March 6.

    Your Telescope and You – An Introduction 

    SMAS will host a observing session at the  Museum of the Rockies  on April 25 beginning at 7:30 PM for club members and the general public. So bring our telescope/binocular/eyeballs and let SMAS members help you to learn how use them. If you don’t have an instrument of your own, there will be a wide variety of club and member instruments available along with knowledgeable and gentle guidance to help  you have a memorable observing experience. Come one, come all, and even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, there will be plenty of activities indoors.

    The Sun will set at 8:23 and astronomical twilight occurs at 10:20. We have prepared  all sky charts in  PDF for this time to aid in planning your session.

     2008-03-11  Anatomy of a Revolution: How Galileo Democratized the Sky 

    Jim Manning, Executive Director of The Astronomical Society of the Pacific, will present the third and final lecture in our 2008 winter lecture series Anatomy of a Revolution: How Galileo Democratized the Sky on Friday March 27 in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies. The presentation will begin at 7:00 PM and is open to the public.

     2008-02-22  The Search for Earth: NASA’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory

    Our winter lecture series continues with Dr. John Armstrong’s presentation of The Search for Earth: NASA’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory on Friday, February 29 in the Hager Auditorium at the  Museum of the Rockies. The presentation will begin at 7:00 PM and is free to the public. The lecture is sponsored by SMAS and the  Montana Space Grant Consortium .

    2008-02-22  Hundreds Turnout to Observe Lunar Eclipse

    Hundreds of people turned out on Wednesday to observe a spectacular total lunar eclipse at the Museum of the Rockies. Despite thin clouds partially obscuring Luna early in the penmbral phase, beautiful views through a wide variety instruments were had by all. In addition to the eclipse, many observed Saturn and its moons which were in close proximity to Luna as well as other favorites such as the Great Nebula in Orion which was high in the South.

    Duncan and Robert Banfill piggybacked their DSLR onto their 10″- LXD75 Schmitt-Newtonian and captured this time-lapse sequence  of most of the eclipse. The frame interval is three minutes so you get to see most of the eclipse in about 28 seconds.

    Thanks to everyone who came out and to the  Museum of the Rockies for hosting this event. A very special thanks goes out to all the SMAS members and the museum staff who helped out with this event.

    2008-02-16  Total Lunar Eclipse

    Join the Museum of the Rockies and SMAS as we observe the total lunar eclipse that will occur on February 20. It all happens at the  Museum of the Rockies Redstart Classroom at 6:00 PM.

    2008-02-01  SMAS Site Back on the Air

    After a fairly long break, we have the site updated with the election .  We have a new President, Dr. Richard Sabo, who has been our Vice President and Observing Chair for the past few years.  Dick replaces Fred Birk who is assuming the role of Editor of the Star Wrangler.  David Binnewies is our new Vice President replacing Dick.  David has been a Member-at-Large and very active in the club for many years. Congratulations to all new officers, members-at-large, and activity heads.

    We hope to have the Star Wrangler available online soon and we are looking for content from our members. If you have content to contribute the newsletter or the site, and we know that you do, please contact  Fred and get involved.

    In the near future we also plan to have an RSS feed for current club activities and events up and running along with the  Star Wrangler. Please check here at the site often and please get involved in these efforts.

    2007-05-21  Measuring the Universe Study Group

    The ongoing lecture series and study group, Measuring the Universe, is being conducted by our club President  Fred Birk. Part I –  The Solar System, is currently underway with three sessions completed so far and three more planned. Part II and Part III are planned for later in 2007 and for the better part of 2008. The coverage will be "Our Milky Way Galaxy and the Local Group (Part II) and finally Sizing up the whole Universe (Part III).

    Check the  Study Groups link  or contact  Fred for more information or if you’d like to get involved.

    2007-05-19 – Club Membership Dues Reduced

    The club has reduced its annual dues from $25.00 to $20.00 per year for single memberships and from $30.00 to $25.00 per year for family memberships.  If you’re not a member, now would be a great time to  join.

    2007-05-11 – Weather cuts short the Mini-Messier Marathon

    Despite clouds, winds, and the threat of rain, a good number of members turned out for the Mini-Messier Marathon at Dick Sabo’s house on the 11th. Our Vice President and his wife put on an very nice event even though the weather cut things short at about 1:00 AM. A good time was had by all and many delicious brownies were consumed along with copious amounts of hot coffee. Thanks to Dick and his wife for hosting this event at their wonderful home and thanks to everyone you turned out in spite of the weather.

    Better luck, and hopefully better skies, next time…

    2007-04-21 – Astro Fair on Astronomy Day

    The Southwest Montana Astronomical Society’s 12th annual  Astro Fair on Astronomy Day was held on Saturday, April 21, at the  Museum of the Rockies. Special thanks goes out to everyone who helped to make this event such a great success. Here is a quick summary and a few photos  of the event.

     2007-03-31  The  Pace to Space 

    The  final lecture of our winter lecture series , Dr. John Bacon’s The Pace to Space: Where We’re Going in Space, and How Fast We’re Getting There; was held on Friday, March 30, in the Hager Auditorium at the  Museum of the Rockies  to a nearly full house. Many thanks to everyone who turned out for the lecture, to  David Binnewies, Manager of the Taylor Planetarium at MoR and SMAS board Member at Large, on whose initiative we were able to have such a prominent speaker here in Bozeman, to SMAS members Brigitte and Doug Flecter for hosting the after-lecture social and to everyone else who helped to make this event happen.

    And a very special thanks to Dr. Bacon for coming and sharing his knowledge and vision with us.

    2007-03-29  Call for member talks

    This year’s calendar includes several  Club member talks during our regular meetings.  These are intended to provide an opportunity for us to get to know each other’s interests and astronomy-related activities.  They also can be used a catalyst to do some research on a topic of interest and put the information into order so that it can be shared with fellow enthusiasts.  Here are a few topics to tease your interest: (all of these were mentioned in the SMAS survey)

    Supernova as standard candles, Basic Astrophotography, Building a telescope, Status of extra solar planetary science, Solar research, Double star, Variable stars, Star clusters, Quasars and black holes, DSLR astrophotography, Star histories of primitive peoples,

    Available dates are June 29, August 31 and November 30.  Please contact Dick Sabo soon if you are interested in participating.

     2007-03-13   Mini-Messier Marathon announced 

    Our Vice President and Observing Chair, Dick  Sabo, has scheduled a Mini-Messier Marathon for SMAS  members at his house west of four corners on Friday, 2007-05-11. An exciting time is sure to be had by all so be sure to mark your calendar.

    We also received a really  nice card  from the good folks at the Irving School thanking the club for our involvement in their  Cosmic Carnival  last month. Be sure to take a look…

     2007-03-11  Web site work continues… 

    Work continues on the new site which is now online. The old site will continue to be available.

    Over the last few weeks we have taken some time to firm up the site markup and stylesheet with fairly exhaustive testing across a broad range of user agents  including Firefox 2.0, Safari 2.0.4, Opera 9.1, Netscape 8.1, Internet Explorer 6.0 and 7.0, and Lynx. This testing along with <a title=”XHTML 1.0 Transitional” href=””>XHTML</a> and <a title=”Cascading Style Sheets 2.1″ href=””>CSS</a> validation helps to insure that everyone can access our site regardless of their platform or browser. We have also addressed many accessibility issues in the markup and have used <a title=”HiSoftware® Cynthia Saysâ„¢ Portal” href=””>Cynthia Says</a> to validate <a title=”Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0″ href=””>WCAG 1.0</a> and <a title=”Section 508 requires that Federal agencies’ electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.” href=””>Section 508</a> compliance which will help to insure that people with disabilities will also be able to access our site.</p>

    2007-02-24   Irving School Cosmic Carnival a great success

    Irving Elementary School Cosmic Carnival – The Universe was a great success. The kids and their parents came out in force to take a look at the Moon and Saturn. A special thanks to David Binniwies hosted an inflatable planetarium indoors, along with Fred Birk, Dick Sabo, and Lynn Powers who, in addition to Duncan and I, staffed the telescopes outside. photos are in the gallery

    “fineprint” Copyright © 2007-2009 SMAS – All rights reserved. Valid  and  “Section 508 requires that Federal agencies’ electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.”  Section 508</a> compliance.