Helena Astronomical Society

The Helena Astronomical Society is the Montana capital’s amateur astronomy club, dedicated to offering free, public educational outreach and special observatory nights for our members.  Regardless of your experience level, if you have an interest in astronomy you are welcome to join us.  HAS owns 2 telescopes--one that is permanently mounted in our Observatory and a smaller telescope that can be checked out by members.  Additionally, we have a good collection of books on astronomy for all interests and skills that are available through a lending library.


Public Viewing Event

The Helena Astronomical Society will be hosting a public viewing Saturday, September 23 beginning at 8pm at the Montana Learning Center located at 7653 Canyon Ferry Road, Helena in celebration of the first full day of Autumn and the 171st anniversary of the discovery of Neptune.

After playing a pivotal role in the Great American Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, we'll welcome seeing a 4 day old waxing crescent Moon with earth shine early in the evening before it drops out of sight to the west.

Saturn rises in mid-afternoon and will be high in the southern sky.  The rings are tilted wide toward us now so we'll get a good view of the rings and the gap between the rings and the planet. With good viewing we should be able to see at least 5 of Saturn's many moons as well.  Uranus rises a little after 8pm so we should be able to find it by 9pm.  Neptune passed opposition a few weeks ago, the point in its orbit where it is directly away from the Sun as seen from Earth.  Neptune rises just before sunset and will be visible all night long. With good viewing conditions we might be able to see Triton, Neptune's largest moon in addition to bluish Neptune itself.  Pluto is also out in the evening and will prove a good challenge for our newly rebuilt 10" telescope.

After our tour of the outer planets we'll turn our telescopes onto several Deep Sky Objects including the Andromeda Galaxy.

When you join us don't forget that it can be quite chilly toward the end of September at night so bring a warm coat, hat and gloves. Binoculars and spotting scopes are also welcome--we'll be glad to show you what you can see with your own gear.

A public viewing is highly weather dependent so if there is any doubt about the weather please check the HAS web site at helena-astronomical-society.org for the latest weather and event status.   We hope to see you at our Tour of the Outer Planets and the Autumnal Equinox Celebration, with Clear Skies, of course!

Here's a map to the Montana Learning Center!

Please follow the Parking sign to park, then follow the red lights to the viewing area.

This month HAS will hold its monthly meeting at 7pm before the Public Viewing.  Please join us at the MLC in the Blue Cottage.

See our Meetings page for more details on our regular monthly meetings.