Amateur Astronomy Under The Big Sky
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  • “The Discovery of Saturn’s Largest Ring” lecture set for September’s SMAS meeting

    Dr. Anne Verbiscer
    Department of Astronomy
    University of Virginia

    Location: Hager Auditorium of the Museum of the Rockies
    Date: September 24th, 2010
    Time: 7:30, doors open at 7:00PM

    Abstract: Recent observations by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope revealed that Saturn has an enormous outer ring, by far the largest planetary ring in the Solar System. The ring is associated with one of Saturn’s dark, outer moons called Phoebe. The discovery of this huge ring appears to solve an age-old mystery in planetary science. Since its discovery in 1671, astronomers have puzzled over the odd, two-toned appearance of Saturn’s moon Iapetus. One side of the moon is as bright as snow, but the other is dark, like Phoebe. The new ring explains how dark material originally launched from Phoebe moves inward toward Iapetus, slamming one side of the icy moon like bugs on a windshield. Dr. Verbiscer will discuss how she and her team found the ‘Phoebe Ring’ and post-discovery observations.

    Presentation sponsored by:
    Museum of the Rockies, Montana Space Grant Consortium, and Southwest Montana Astronomical Society

  • 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.