Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • 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.

  • 1 Moon Sets, 3 Moons Rise

    Ha, My son Matt & I set up the 13 inch Gorsky scope on the driveway just as our earths moon was setting.  We turned the scope to Jupiter and proceeded to watch 3 moons pop out from around Jupiter within 25 minutes.  I noticed on the Sky & Telescope Jupiter’s Moons program that this was going to occur and was glad to see it happen live.  As Europa cleared the planet it was visible as a little bump on Jupiter….So we called it a “Zit”.   Jupiter only appeared to have 1 moon for a time before the acne problem developed.

    On September 2nd at  10:45 pm or so, Jupiter will appear to be without any moons for 1hr & 45 minutes till 2 moons appear within 10 minutes.  This is something else I want to see.  Kinda funny that on this night, Our moon Luna, will be darn near full, and right next to Jupiter in the sky….(Apparently).

    The web site to track Jupiter’s moons is:

    Jupiter appearing moonless is a rare event that happens only about 20 times per century, and we have front row seats.

    Happy Gazing!