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By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW
The new, local astronomy club, San Juan Stargazers will meet Thursday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce conference room, with the program starting at 5:45.
The name “San Juan Stargazers” was selected so people from the entire region will feel welcome. We are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs all over the U.S. and the club is offering two magazines — Sky and Telescope and Astronomy — at reduced rates.
San Juan Stargazers has a website, www.SanJuanStargazers.com, as well as an e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org and a club phone number (970) 335-8286, to help communicate with the public. All this thanks to Natalie Carpenter.
The program this month will be a telescope “Show and Tell” where people can bring their scope, if they have one, and share it, or ask questions of Jerry Granok, our telescope expert. One special scope to be shown is an accurate model of the first telescope invented by Galileo, made for the 400th anniversary of its first use. Also, Michael Vincent will regularly supply a computerized educational program about current astronomy topics.
It was decided that this is not a highly technical group, so owning a telescope is not a necessity. Our purpose is to educate ourselves and the public about astronomy with amazement, dedication and enthusiasm. What you know about astronomy is not as important as what you want to learn and teach others, and how much wonder you feel about our unbelievable universe of over 100,000,000 galaxies. We have numerous exciting ideas for programs, field trips and public events.
Our Feb. 21 program will include a fantastic DVD, narrated by Robert Redford. “The Mystery of Chaco Canyon” unveils the astronomical brilliance of the ancient culture in the American Southwest, of which of own ancient people at Chimney Rock were part.
Club meetings are at the Chamber of Commerce Conference Room on Hot Springs Boulevard, starting with snacks at 5 p.m. Everyone is asked to bring finger food to share since we meet early during the winter months. The educational program starts at 5:45. Our group members range from high school age to senior citizens. We welcome anyone who thinks about the wondrous universe and wants to know more.