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Stargazers meet July 18, plan national star party in August

By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW

The July 18 meeting of the San Juan Stargazers will be set to finalize plans to host the group’s first national star party, called the “San Juan Stargaze,” on Aug. 8-11.

The star party will attract visitors from across the U.S., with some, hopefully, bringing powerful telescopes. Some telescope owners plan their vacations around star parties such as the one planned for Pagosa Country.

Attendees can stay at a nearby motel, or at home and commute for activities. There also is camping available at Capote Lake with a special area reserved for people to camp beside their telescopes. The club will have the entire east side of the lake for campsites, viewing and activities.

There will be catered meals including a 5 p.m. dinner on Friday, before setting up telescopes at Chimney Rock to join in the Night Sky Program.

On Saturday evening at 6 p.m. there will be a gourmet dinner with speakers presenting research and papers. Saturday night, the public is invited to an astronomy lecture at 9 p.m., followed by a night of deep-sky viewing.

In the early morning on both Saturday and Sunday, there will be a 2-4 a.m. hot breakfast served after glorious nights of viewing.

Local residents interested in astronomy are invited to come for meals, programs and night-sky viewing. This will be a star party extraordinaire.

Please arrive at Lake Capote before dark and turn right to drive over the dam. Park on the south side of the lake. Prices are reasonable and ala carte for camping, meals and each event you attend. Check out the website for details.

The July 18 meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce Conference Room. After a program about stellar evolution, participants will move outdoors for a brief night-sky viewing.

San Juan Stargazers is part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S.

The group has a website, www.SanJuanStargazers.com, as well as an e-mail address, sjstargazers@gmail.com and club phone number (970) 335-8286 to help communicate with the public.

This story was posted on July 11, 2013.