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By Rena Gallant
Special to The SUN
On Nov. 15, interested parties were invited to attend the first meeting of the Pagosa Springs Astronomy Club.
Twelve people came together to share their ideas and desires for an astronomical group in the Pagosa Springs area. The group believes that the dark nights in our area provide boundless opportunities for studying the stars and planets.
One member talked about current plans to build a small observatory on his property that could be used by the astronomy club, and another spoke of a desire to learn what she might see through her new telescope. The founding members of the new club include a retired astronomy teacher and a student at Pagosa Springs High School.
After enthusiastically suggesting names for a new chapter of the Astronomical Society, the group decided on San Juan Stargazers.
Many amateur astronomers travel from Durango to take part in the Night Skies program at Chimney Rock in the summers and the group thought the new name would be inclusive to future members from the neighboring towns outside of Pagosa Springs.
Two main themes came across as priority for the group: to learn and share information on astronomy and to educate the public, especially students, on the wonders of the universe.
Meetings will continue on the third Thursday of the month at 5 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center. The next meeting, on Dec. 20, will be centered on the winter solstice.
All community members are invited to attend. For more information, visit the astronomy club website at www.SanJuanStargazers.com or call (970) 335-8286.