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Welcome to the Big Sky Astronomy Club

The Big Sky Astronomy Club is a group of dedicated amateur astronomers located in the beautiful Flathead Valley of Northwestern Montana.

Inside you will find information about our club, our monthly meetings, Star Parties and other events (both past and future), resources for observing plus

a poignant and special message from the late Dr. Carl Sagan.

We cordially invite you to

"Discover the Universe with The Big Sky Astronomy Club"


Montana Chapter IDA Forms

May 13, 2019

It is with great excitement we announce the formation of the Montana Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association. Our Montana Chapter received its official status as of May of 2019.

The chapter currently has seven board members, chaired by noted local astrophotographer John Ashley. Yours truly, Mark Paulson is the current co-chair.

It is very easy to join our Montana chapter. Simply visit the main IDA website and go to their Membership Page and join the main organization. All members of the parent IDA automatically become members in our Montana Chapter.

Please check out our Monatana IDA Chapter page where you'll find their new "Dark Sky Destinations Map" showing 50 public campgrounds and 10 dark sky event centers, scattered across our state. Please also visit their own webiste, which features a wealth of information about light pollution and their efforts to preserve Montana's dark skies Montana IDA Chapter website. While you're there, please feel free to leave them a message.

DIL Astroturism Article

November 10, 2019

A Meteor Streaks Over Mount Oberlin in Glacier National Park - Jeremy Weber

The front page of the Sunday November 10, 2019 issue of the Daily Inter Lake prominently featured a wonderful article by reporter Kianna Gardner on the growing astrotourism industry in Montana. The article described how the Flathead's relatively dark skies are becoming an attraction to those looking for a nighttime experience they cannot find at their own place of residence.

The importance of preserving the heritage of our dark skies in Montana cannot be overstated. Reducing the amount of Light Pollution and its many harmful effects in Montana will not only provide economic opportunities across the state, it will benefit all of the state's wildlife that we hold so dear.

A PDF of the DIL article can be opened by clicking this link: DIL-Montana's Dark Skies Spur Astrotourism

2020 G.N.P. Summer Stargazing

Summer Season, 2020

See The Milky Way Poster

The Big Sky Astronomy Club will once again work with the management and staff of Glacier National Park to put on a very popular Summer Stargazing Program at the Apgar Transit Center on the west side of the park and at St. Mary on the east side. Over the past eight summers, literally thousands of visitors from all over the world have had a chance to view sunspots on the face of our Sun during daylight hours and then, each evening, they have had an opportunity to view many of the interesting deep sky objects visible through telescopes of various types and sizes under the truly dark skies found in Glacier.

For the 2020 season, the Astronomy Program will begin soon after the 4th of July. Check the Park's online schedule in the late spring for the actual starting date. On the west side, the program typically runs Sunday through Wednesday each week. The east-side program typically runs Wednesday through Saturday each week. Solar observing will be available from 12 Noon to 2 PM and the nighttime observing session will run from 10 PM until Midnight.

If you'd like more information on this program, please contact Park Headquartes at 406-888-7800 or visit our "Contact Us" page and send us a message.

And, please let us know that you saw this message on our website when you come visit us at Glacier.

2020 Lone Pine Astronomy Prog.

Monthly, Summer 2020

Montana State Parks Logo

The BSAC will again host our Monthly Astronomy Program at Lone Pine State Park this coming summer. The dates for these mothly programs will available on our Meetings and Events Calendar in late spring, so check back then.

2020 Logan Pass Star Parties

July & August; 2020

National Park Service Logo

The Big Sky Astronomy Club, in conjunction with Glacier National Park, will once again host three star parties this coming summer under the extremely dark skies at the Logan Pass Visitors' Center parking lot at the summit of Going-To-The-Sun-Road.

The events are extremely popular, with attendance at each Friday night event attracting over five hundred visitors. The 2020 dates will be available on our Meetings and Events Calendar after the first of January, 2020. The events will be held on Fridays, with the following day (Saturday) reserved as a backup in case of inclement weather on the primary date. Tickets for each event will be available through Glacier National Park. Contact Park Headquarters (406-888-7800) for more information.

2020 Montana Starwatch

Summer, 2020

Ruby Valley, Montana



The Big the Sky Astronomy Club will host our tenth annual state-wide star party, Montana Starwatch this summer on private property near Twin Bridges, Montana. The property is owned by BSAC club member Joe Witherspoon. This will be the tenth year that the star party has been held at this wonderful, dark sky site. The dates for the 2020 event have not been established at this early juncture, but the event will appear on our Meetings and Events Calendar next spring.

We are planning two great presentations on the Friday and Saturday nights of the star party.

For more information, including a registration form for the event, please see the official Montana Starwatch website at:

Ken Hair (1938-2018)

June 13, 2018

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of yet another of the club's most beloved members. Ken Hair passed away June 13 of natural causes at his home in Kalispell. Ken had been an active member for over 15 years. His enthusiasm and love of Astronomy was all too evident to everyone in the club. Ken was inevitably the first to show up at every club meeting, star party or other public outreach event that the club held.

As it was with his fellow club member Al Ebeltoft, whom we lost last December, the members of the Big Sky Astronomy Club will also miss Ken's smile, his keen sense of humor, his support of the club and his love of the night sky, each of which he selflessly and enthusiastically shared whenever we were with him.

Godspeed, Ken.

Allen Ebeltoft (1938-2017)

December 31, 2017

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of the club's most beloved members. Al Ebeltoft passed on December 31st of natural causes at his home in Kalispell. Al was one of the original, founding members of the Big Sky Astronomy Club in 2000. He was a very active member, enthusiastically offering his time, talents and knowledge to the club's public outreach efforts. Al was also an avid astrophotographer who spent many hours in his personal observatory.

The members of the Big Sky Astronomy Club will miss his warmth, his support and his love of the night sky, each of which he selflessly and enthusiastically shared whenever we were with him.

Godspeed, Al.

BSAC Missoulian Article

November 14, 2013

Big Sky Astronomy Club member Joe Witherspoon and his personal observatory located outside of Twin Bridges, Montana, were featured in a very nice article published in the Missoulian newspaper on Thursday, November 14th, 2013.

The in-depth article described Joe's interest in astronomy, his personal observatory and what prompted his eventual move to Twin Bridges, having lived in the light pollution of Tacoma, Washington for many years.

The article can be read online at the Missoulian's website by clicking here.

BSAC Daily Inter Lake Article

September 4, 2013

The Big Sky Astronomy Club was featured in a very nice article published in Kalispell's Daily InterLake newspaper on Wednesday, September 4th, 2013.

The article described our history, our many outreach efforts along with our plans to build an observatory/education center and purchase a portable planetarium for use in our educational outreach.

The article can be read online at the Daily Inter Lake's website by clicking here.

Logan Pass Star Party 07-29-16