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Scan the skies at Chimney Rock with a 20-inch telescope

By Joan Mieritz
Special to The SUN

SUN photo/Randi Pierce Guides and attendees wait for sunrise Sunday morning at Chimney Rock National Monument’s autumnal equinox sunrise program. In one of the season’s final events at Chimney Rock, the San Juan Stargazers will host a telescope event, complete with a 20-inch scope, on Oct. 4.

SUN photo/Randi Pierce
Guides and attendees wait for sunrise Sunday morning at Chimney Rock National Monument’s autumnal equinox sunrise program. In one of the season’s final events at Chimney Rock, the San Juan Stargazers will host a telescope event, complete with a 20-inch scope, on Oct. 4.

Many people are not familiar with telescope sizes, but viewing through a 20-inch scope is a memorable experience you don’t want to miss.

San Juan Stargazers will host a very exciting opportunity, when a 20-inch telescope is brought to Chimney Rock National Monument on Oct. 4. People with additional telescopes can plan to arrive at 6 p.m. for setup. Anyone owning a scope is welcome and club members can help you learn how to use it. The two Chimney Rock 10-inch Dobsonians will also be available for viewing.

The public can enter the site 6:30-7:15 p.m. with a $10 per person charge, cash only, paid at the gate. Children are admitted free. No reservations are needed. The Visitor Center and Gift Shop will not be open, so credit cards cannot be used.

A short program will be presented at 7:30 at the upper parking lot overlook to preview what participants might see. Viewing will begin shortly after 8. The gate will be closed at 7:15 p.m., so you cannot be late. Dress for a Colorado night, when the temperature drops significantly after sunset. Bring something to drink.

The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S. The club has a website, www.SanJuanStargazers.com, as well as an e-mail address, sjstargazers@gmail.com and a club phone number (970) 335-8286 to help communicate with the public.

This opportunity is provided in partnership with the National Forest Service and the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association.

This story was posted on September 26, 2013.