San Juan Stargazers working to improve locating skills

By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW
The San Juan Stargazers will hold their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Chamber of Commerce 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 presented by Jerry Granock. It will be an interactive practicum on locating constellations and stars. Somehow, he will have the night sky (minus rain clouds) appear in the conference room at the Chamber. We will locate various sky objects that at first view are identified and then we will try to locate these same objects with just unlabeled stars like are usually seen.
Individuals can even test their ability and others of us can just “watch and learn.” It sounds pretty unbelievable, but because Granock is doing it, it will happen. Come and see how he pulls this off. It should be a great learning experience.
Remember that guests are always welcome at our meetings. If you’ve wondered about something you’ve seen in the night sky, this might be the perfect time to come and see if we can help you figure it out.
We are getting in one last lesson for this year’s ninth and last Star Party at Chimney Rock, which will be held on Friday, September 27. Chris Horley will be doing his wonderful presentation on stars and galaxies. There will be Cub Scouts galore, so this would be a great time for other children to come. Grandparents can bring their grandchildren for one last treat of the summer.
With the time that is remaining, we will go over a lesson on using the summer constellations to improve our telescope skills. We are working on improving because of our nine star parties this summer at Chimney Rock National Monument.
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.
We do not have another telescope clinic scheduled. 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 the right club member and set up a convenient time and place to meet. 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 September 22, 2019.