San Juan Stargazers having fantastic summer

By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW

July and August have been fantastic for the members of the San Juan Stargazers.

We supply the lectures and telescope operators for the Chimney Rock National Monument astronomy program on Friday evenings, which will be the Moon Viewing Program on Aug. 21 at 6:45 p.m. and Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Program on Sept. 11 at 5:45 p.m. The Moon Viewing Program will also take place on Sept. 18 at 5:45 p.m.

These programs are $10 for adults and $5 for children 5-16. They are an outstanding family activity.

Astronomy was very important to the ancient people living at Chimney Rock and we feel honored to be continuing this legacy. You might want to find out what it meant to the ancient people and what it can do for your life to broaden your perspective to include over 100 billion galaxies and much more in our incomprehensible universe.

Maybe it’s time to blow your mind with this ultimate reality.

On Thursday, Aug. 27, we will have the monthly meeting of the Stargazers at the Chamber of Commerce at 7 p.m. Our topic will be light pollution in Pagosa Springs, presented by Pam Morrow, who has been working on this issue for years. Some of the darkest skies in the U.S. are in our area and they help make Pagosa special. It is a treasure that we need to value and learn how to maintain.

At the meeting, we also will plan programs for the total lunar eclipse on Sept. 27, which will start at 6:10 p.m. and continue until 10:27 p.m. There will be telescope programs both at Chimney Rock in conjunction with the Full Moon Program and probably at Echo Lake, because we need a good view of the eastern sky.

Mark your calendars because this is a special event which can be observed from anywhere without needing special glasses. But, if you come to our programs, you will see it in greater detail using a telescope and you will learn what it is all about. After and during the eclipse, there may be viewing of other sky objects.

In addition, at the meeting, we will be handing out awards for last year’s participation at Chimney Rock.

If you want to become a member, there is still time to join for the full 2015-2016 membership year, which includes receiving the outstanding astronomy magazine Reflector.

Everyone is welcome to come to our events, especially the Chimney Rock star parties. If you are a visiting amateur astronomer, you are invited to join our activities and star parties with or without your scope. We are always in need of more telescopes or operators. If you have an interest in astronomy, but lack a telescope, we will gladly teach you on one of four Chimney Rock Interpretive Association-owned telescopes.

The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S. The club has a great website, www.SanJuanStargazers.com, as well as an email address, sjstargazers@gmail.com, and a club phone number, 335-8286, to help communicate with the public.

Anyone interested in learning more about astronomy is invited to come to all Stargazers events.

This story was posted on August 22, 2015.