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San Juan Stargazers study star clusters

By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW

The next regular meeting of the San Juan Stargazers will be on Thursday, July 24, at 7 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce on Hot Springs Boulevard.

We will be planning activities such as our booth at the free Life at Chimney Rock program, which is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will have astronomy activities for both children and adults and a very special art project related to the lunar standstill that made Chimney Rock so important to the ancient people.

We will also start planning our second anniversary “super star party” for members only. We will pick a date in September or early October while it is warmer, rather than waiting for November, which is our actual anniversary date. Members are starting to come up with some out-of-this-world ideas for celebrating as only astronomers can do.

We also are operating the telescopes at star parties every other Friday night, including Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, moon viewing programs and at the Aug. 22 and Sept. 19 Night Sky Programs at Chimney Rock National Monument. We have new Chimney Rock “go-to” telescopes that are absolutely amazing and we will also have a 20-inch telescope, weather permitting, with Saturn being its best in 10 years. Club members and guests can also bring their own telescopes. Locals are encouraged to come to Chimney Rock Star Parties, which include an educational talk before we view the amazing dark sky with telescopes in the upper parking lot.

Our brief program will be about summer star clusters. If you are a visiting amateur astronomer, you are invited to join our club meeting and share your interests and activities with us. We value new ideas. Also, you can join our star parties with or without your scope.

The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S. We have 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.

This story was posted on July 17, 2014.