San Juan Stargazers to consult on school district astronomy project, learn summer star constellations

By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW
The San Juan Stargazers will hold their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, May 23, in the Chamber/Visitor Center conference room located at 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
The meeting is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. (sharp). Hot drinks and a treat will be served at 6:30 p.m. with time to socialize.
Our program for this month will be meeting and brainstorming with Pagosa Springs Middle School Principal Chris Hinger, who is working on a very expensive and exciting astronomy project that the Stargazers may be able to help with. He will present background information about the project. Stargazers can share their ideas and then we will see how we can work together to make it happen.
With the time that is remaining, we will have a specially designed lesson on using the summer constellations to improve our telescope viewing skills. If you have wanted to learn the constellations, this method may be the answer. We are working hard because of our nine star parties this summer at Chimney Rock National Monument, plus we have an additional 10 practice sessions.
Our first star party will be a Stars and Galaxies dark-sky event on May 31 with the gate opening at 7:30 p.m. and program beginning at 8:15 p.m., followed by telescope viewing.
If you are interested in taking part in our star parties, but you do not have a telescope, the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association owns four telescopes: two are computerized “go-to” telescopes and two are manual 10-inch Dobsonians. We can help you learn to use either type of scope with operation manuals which you can study. We will have practice sessions for all telescope operators on Friday, May 17, and Friday, May 24, but they are for members only. Please RSVP to Joan if you will be coming.
We do not have another telescope clinic scheduled for now. But many people in Pagosa have a telescope which they were given or picked up somewhere, but have no idea how to use it or if it is even usable. The San Juan Stargazers want to help you learn how to use it or fix it.
You may call 335-8286 with a little information about what you have and what you may be needing in the form of help. We will match you with a club member and set up a convenient time and place to meet. We want to get as many telescopes as we can working. You can have an amazing summer learning how to use it at both the star parties and practice sessions. 2019 is the year to add this amazing dimension to your life.
The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S. We have a new website, www.sanjuanstargazers.org, as well as an email address, sjstargazers@gmail.com, and a club phone number, 335-8286.
We welcome everyone who has an interest in learning more about our amazing universe.

This story was posted on May 19, 2019.