Learning About the Solar System

The Central Montana Astronomy Society pulled out all of the stops (well, all of their scopes) Friday evening to view the sun and later the stars.

They always set up in the parking lot of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center east of Great Falls. It’s far enough away from the lights of Great Falls to avoid the glow of artificial light. And, the Lewis & Clark expedition used celestial readings to guide them on their trek to explore the Louisiana Purchase – a nice connection with the Interpretive Center and the Central Montana Astronomy Society.

During the school year the astronomy group sets up viewing scopes once a month and hopes for clear skies. This was their annual Star Party Extravaganza so both solar and night time telescopes were set up. Historically, the weather cooperates during this month and the sky is great for viewing. This week was no exception to that.

The Central Montana Astronomy Society’s scopes are magnificent – it’s difficult to explain them but once you look through them you get it!

In addition to the outdoor telescopes, there were inside activities in the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.

Dr. Arthur Alt gave a talk in the theater and there were several kids activities. Lots of pre-planning effort went in to this event and I was glad to see the parking lot almost full.

What a great way to learn astronomy. I learn each time I go to this event but probably the most rewarding part is seeing the look of amazement on the faces of kids looking through those wonderful telescopes.

Check local event listings if you are in Great Falls and if you see the Central Montana Astronomy Star Party happening, take advantage of the group’s knowledge and powerful telescopes.

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