Outreach / Star Parties / Solar Viewing

    SMA is a community of interested professional and amateur astronomers, exchanging ideas and information at meetings, through Google Groups and the Night Sky Network. As a member of the International Dark Sky Association and Dark Sky Maine, SMA is actively involved in fighting light pollution and preserving our dark Maine skies.
    SMA Club members provide advanced astronomical equipment and mentorship to members, students and the general public interested in astronomy. We also plan for star parties where naked eye, binocular, and telescope viewing take place with the support of trained volunteers.

    Also, SMA has partnered with "Cornerstones of Science" and the Library Telescope Program, recently changed to the STAR Program; Sharing Telescopes And Resources. We modify telescopes, provide assistance, hands-on training and mentoring for the staff at participating Libraries.
    SMA’s monthly meetings feature occasional lectures by experts in astronomy, "what's up" this month, discussions among members and member presentations.


    Due to COVID-19, all meetings will be by ZOOM, until further notice.

    Contact us for ZOOM details.

  • Upcoming Events

    Outreach and other public events

    You can also see our events calendar on the NASA's Night Sky Network!

    Upcoming Special Events

    • Observe the moon night – Sunday, Oct 17 - Eastern Prom near Fort Allen Park after 5pm
    • Lady Adventurer’s Club – Oct 29/30
    • Cape Elizabeth Library Virtual Star Party EAA with SMA – Nov 9 (rain date: Nov 16) - Register for this event ahead of time.
    • Next club meeting  - Nov 4

    SMA Monthly Club Meeting (ZOOM Only)

    Thursday, Oct. 7, 2020, 7pm. Social "half-hour" starts at 6:30pm.

    I hope you’ve all had a chance to enjoy some of our recent, beautiful, clear September days and nights. We are now turning back to our fall club meetings, and our next one will be educational and inspiring. Our October meeting will feature Professor Renee Bergland of Simmons University in Boston providing a look into the life of America’s first female astronomer, Maria Mitchell. Born on Nantucket in 1818 Maria stands out as a woman in science who received recognition for her work in her lifetime, brought to fame by her discovery of a comet in 1847. She eventually taught at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, NY, working with a 12” refractor, the third largest telescope in the United States at the time. She is also credited with advancing women’s rights to education, and equal pay for female teachers. Come enjoy this story about a remarkable woman in science told to us by Professor Bergland, a teacher of American Literature, Research and Writing and Critical and Culture Theory. Prof. Bergland received her B.A. at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD and her Ph.D. from Columbia. She has written extensively about women and science, particularly in the 19th century.


    Our meeting will also feature input from members on recent activities and a number of announcements regarding upcoming star parties and events. It will conclude with another exciting tour through a constellation provided by Russ Pinizzotto – this month: AQUARIUS.


    Our zoom program will open at 6:30 p.m. for some online socializing with the formal meeting beginning at 7 p.m.

    Please use the "Contact Us" form or join our Google Group for the Zoom link, if you don't have it!

    SMA Monthly Club Meeting (ZOOM Only)

    Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, 7pm. Social "half-hour" starts at 6:30pm.

    Please plan to join us as we resume our regularly scheduled meetings in September. We were hoping to return to USM – which we determined has the capabilities for hybrid in-person/Zoom meetings – but due to the recent spike in COVID cases we decided to defer until the situation improves. Therefore, we will resume meeting via Zoom, and the link is provided through our Google Group distribution. Our topic for September will be Astrobiology, presented by our resident MD and Director, George Bokinsky. Dr. Russ Pinizzotto will also continue his wonderful series of exploration of constellations overhead at this time of year. Finally, we’ll review the numerous activities the club has been involved in during the last two months and what lies ahead for club outreach in the coming months.

    Please plan to join us Thursday, Sept 2. The “doors” open at 6:30p for socializing and the formal meeting begins at 7 p.m.

    August - No Monthly Club Meeting

    Reminder: There is no August meeting. With many vacations underway we decided to skip August and encourage attendance at star parties and other events. An August calendar of events was circulated a few days ago. Please come to one or more of these events (see Special Events above as well), bring a scope or binoculars, and share your passion with many eager guests! We do need volunteer help.


    Several members of the club met with the USM IT Manager yesterday to evaluate capabilities to conduct hybrid live/zoom meetings. USM has upgraded its facilities and technical capabilities so that we could conduct hybrid meetings. More to come on the details of our next meeting on September 2.


    Enjoy August and please try to come to our scheduled events, especially our Club Open House on Saturday, August 21 at our new HQ in Brunswick.

    SMA Monthly Club Meeting (ZOOM Only)

    Thursday, Jul. 1, 2021, 7 p.m. Social "half-hour" starts at 6:30pm.

    The Club will hold its final meeting of the summer on Thursday, July 1. There will be no meeting in August but there will be plenty of star parties to get out and enjoy, including the virtual Astronomical League Annual Event, ALCON 2021, on August 19-21. More notice about these opportunities, including SMA-sponsored events, will be provided later.


    July’s meeting will welcome back Dr. David Batuski of the University of Maine at Orono. Dr. Batuski is a Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. His interests include Observational Cosmology and Large Scale Structure in the Universe (he holds a Guinness World Record for discovering with a colleague, Jack Bums, in 1984 the largest structure in the known universe - a string of galaxies 730 Million LY long!). His July 1 talk will be “Tracing Dark Matter in Two Superclusters of Galaxies by Gravitational Lensing Effects.” Given recent news of further galactic strings of galaxies, we may also get Dr. Batuski to comment.


    Dr. Batuski received his B.S. from the US Air Force Academy in 1970, his M.S. from Purdue University in 1971 and his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1986. He has probably enlightened more Maine undergraduate students on the basics of Astronomy than any other faculty member ever! With that classroom presence I’m sure we’ll have a very understandable and engaging presentation from Dr. Batuski.

    We will also have a constellation tour by our own Dr. Russ Pinizzotto, so be sure to tune in!

    The meeting starts officially at 7 p.m. with Prof. Magri’s talk. Doors open at 6:30 for socializing. The link was sent out to our Google Group. Please use the "Contact Us" form or join our Google Group for the Zoom link, if you don't have it!


    Please attend if you can and we look forward to seeing you.

    Past Events & Speakers

    • 2021/06 - Dr. Catherine Zucker talking about the now-called Radcliffe Wave.
    • 2021/05 - Feature a preview of our Electronically-Assisted Astronomy (EAA) project by Russ & Ara.
    • 2021/04 - Prof. Chris Magri, Assistant Professor of Physics and Chair of the Natural Sciences Department at the University of Maine at Farmington, “A Radar Analysis of Asteroid Bennu.”
    • 2021/03 - Dr. Neil Comins, Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Univ. of Maine, Orono, "Heavenly Errors: Misconceptions About the Real Nature of the Universe."
    • 2021/02 - Chuck Allen, Vice President of the Astronomical League
    • 2021/01 - Telescope Workshop
    • 2020/12 - Dr. Aileen Yingst, Planetary Science Institute, “Big News from a Dwarf Planet: The Story of Vesta”
    • 2020/11 - Sarah Betti, Ph.D. candidate, UMass, “Planet Formation in Protoplanetary Discs”2
    • 2020/10 - Tom Field, President, Field Tested Systems, LLC “You Can Almost Touch the Stars” – Spectroscopy for Amateur Astronomers
    • 2020/09 - Dr. Jack Gelfand, club member – building a backyard device to measure the temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation
    • 2020/08 - Member Short Presentations: reprise of Birr Castle telescope; The Perseids; Voyager update
    • 2020/07 - Dr. Ryan Hickox, Dartmouth College – “Light from the Void: the Next Generation of Space-based Telescopes”
    • 2020/06 - Ralph Pass, former mathematician at NASA – Apollo Mission reminiscences
    • 2020/05 - Ara Jerahian, club member – Introduction to Astrophotography
    • 2020/04 - Dr. Russ Pinizzotto, club member – What to See in Ursa Major
    • 2020/03 - Dr. Russ Pinizzotto, club member – The Color of Stars
  • Membership

    Support your local club and become a member of Southern Maine Astronomers!

    Annual Membership Fee

    Annual Membership Fee

    10.00 - 1,000.00
    SMA annual membership fee. This includes a membership to the Night Sky Network and a membership to the Astronomical League, which entitles you to receive the quarterly Reflector magazine.

    All memberships are annual and aligned with the calendar year, not to the time of purchase.
    Buy now
  • Wish to donate to SMA?

    Your donation will go to support the club including our outreach and educational efforts in the communities we serve.

  • Committees

    We've got a top notch team! While each of these committees is staffed by Club Directors, any member can join and assist these committees in their club objectives. We welcome participation! Support your Club!


    This committee is focused on increasing membership and improving member experience.

    Purview includes club meetings, greeting members and guests, following up with new people, providing refreshments. It will be the point of contact for club clothing and such. This committee will coordinate with the Program Committee to ensure we are offering speakers and topics that square with the needs and desires of members. It will also liaise with other clubs, including student organizations, and encourage developments between clubs.


    Director Member: Al DiSabatino, Bob Dodge


    Acting as the point of contact for the public, for things like star parties, speakers, etc., and for coordinating the club’s response.

    This committee responds to groups looking for star parties and such events; would determine if it’s a request the club can accommodate; would organize club members willing to attend/staff the event. This committee also provides formal notice to news organizations and public bulletin boards and other third parties of club meetings and events.


    Director Member: James Shields, Ara Jerahian

    Club Member: Ron Thompson


    Planning for meetings, finding speakers, coordinating publicity.

    This Committee seeks speakers in contemporary topics of astronomy and space exploration that are of interest to the membership. The Committee ensures other engaging content to appeal to beginners as well as seasoned amateurs to improve their knowledge of the night sky, telescope equipment, observing techniques and astrophotography.


    Director Member: George Bokinsky, Rowan Goebel-Bain, Russ Pinizzotto


    Managing club equipment, purchased and donated, to fulfill the club's outreach and educational mission.

    Club assets include purchased and donated equipment. This committee determines what best suits club needs and then seeks to sell or otherwise dispose of excess equipment with funds received used to support the club. This committee also manages the Club's Equipment Lending Program that makes more sophisticated equipment available to club members for use.


    Director Member: Forrest Sumner, Kerry Kertes

    Club Member: Ron Thompson

    Dark Sky Advocacy

    Liaising with Dark Sky Maine, IDA, and other groups interested in controlling light pollution.

    Advocating for dark sky-friendly zoning and other regulations to control and reduce light pollution. This Committee hope to develop a recognition program for organizations and municipalities who undertake improvements in light pollution control.


    Director Member: Rob Burgess

    Club Member: Paul Howell


    This Committee is responsible for administration of club finances.

    Responsibilities include management and reconcilement of club finances and bank statements, tax filings, club insurances, etc. Recently, the club decided to undertake fundraising. This new venture will examine club short and long term goals and then find sources and develop strategies to support those goals, including the establishment of an endowment fund.


    Treasurer & Chair: Bob Dodge

    Fundraising Subcommittee: Rob Burgess, Bob Dodge, Russ Pinizzotto

    Executive Committe

    Director Members: Rob Burgess, Bob Dodge, Forrest Sumner, Ara Jerahian

  • Drop Us A Note

    Don't be afraid to reach out. You + us = awesome.


    You can also join our Google Groups mailing list and
    stay super informed of our club activity :)

    179 Neptune Drive, Suite 300
    Brunswick, ME 04011
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