San Juan Stargazers to share astronomy phone apps and more June 23

By Elizabeth Mieritz

Special to The PREVIEW

The San Juan Stargazers will hold its regular educational meeting on Thursday, June 23, at the Pagosa Springs Visitor Center conference room at 7 p.m. It is located on Hot Springs Boulevard. Coffee and tea will be served.

We will be discussing a National Geographic coffee table book called “Sizing Up the Universe: The Cosmos in Perspective.”

It comes highly recommended, as Neil de Grasse Tyson describes it as “A feast for the eyes and a banquet for the mind.”

If you want to broaden your perspective on life, you will want to attend this lecture and discussion. We will study our sun and compare it to other stars, study a “map” of the universe (greatly condensed), “travel” to the edge of the visible universe and more. You will experience a sense of wonder and may even “blow your mind,” leaving a changed person.

Later, we will be sharing free and low-cost astronomy apps for our phones. A reminder for members that annual dues are needed, with new, lower-cost renewals for active volunteers.

The San Juan Stargazers will also be part of the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association’s (CRIA) fundraiser, the Celebrate Chimney Rock Festival, on Saturday, June 25, at Town Park. From 4 to 8 p.m., we will have a solar telescope to view our sun in real time and we will have celestial planispheres or star finders for you to make and take home to help you view the stars on fantastic dark and clear Pagosa nights.

We are experiencing an increase in visitors this summer at Chimney Rock, including at the astronomy programs, and we need new volunteers to bring their own scopes (great practice opportunity with immediate help available) or to operate our four CRIA telescopes with on-the-job-training. We’d love to see some of our students. You do not have to make reservations, just show up. We never cancel an astronomy program, but modify it as needed. At our last two programs, we have had the best viewings in five years.

The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S. We have a great website,, as well as an email address,, and a club phone number, 731-0186, to help communicate with the public.

Out-of-town amateur astronomers are always welcome to come and share their ideas. Anyone interested in learning more about astronomy is invited to all our events.