San Juan Stargazers to study Hubble pictures of the Sagittarius star cloud and globular star clusters


By Joan Mieritz

Special to The PREVIEW

The San Juan Stargazers will hold their regular meeting on Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center Conference Room, located on Hot Springs Boulevard. We will meet from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You will be able to warm up with hot coffee, cocoa, tea and apple cider, and a treat. If the roads are unsafe, we will cancel the meeting and postpone the program. If that happens, look for an email blast or call 731-0186. Our program will be a video lesson showing great photos taken by the Hubble space telescope of the Sagittarius star cloud. The photos are spectacular. We will also study globular clusters, which are compact groups of over a million stars held together by their mutual gravitational attraction. The Milky Way has approximately 170 globular clusters and, next to black holes, are among the most amazing things our universe has to offer. We frequently are able to see closer globular clusters with telescopes at Chimney Rock. We will also learn about the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram. The program will be educational, entertaining and very interesting. The color-coded schedules will be available for next summer’s Night Sky Programs at Chimney Rock, including nine star parties, which are well attended by locals and visitors from around the world. You are invited to join us any night by simply calling the cabin and checking for available space. We are so incredibly fortunate to have that many opportunities to view the amazing night sky in the darkness of Chimney Rock National Monument. Consider joining us at this January meeting to learn about becoming a volunteer. We have five CRIA telescopes that need operators and you will be painlessly trained and thrilled by the results. We have available a beautiful star atlas with wonderful pictures and detailed directions on how to study the night sky. It is only $10, which is an unbelievable price for its beauty and detail. The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S. We have a 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, as well as anyone interested in learning more about astronomy. Jan. 31 lunar eclipse There will be a lunar eclipse visible in Pagosa on Wednesday, Jan. 31. It will begin at 4:48 a.m., enter totality at 5:51 a.m., end totality at 7:08 a.m. and the eclipse will end, invisible to us, after sunrise. The Stargazers will not be holding a gathering because telescopes aren’t needed, but early risers will have a wonderful treat, much better than a worm, Wednesday morning.