Solar astronomer and Pagosan to talk about our closest star Jan. 26

By Joan Mieritz

Special to The PREVIEW

The regular meeting of the San Juan Stargazers on Thursday, Jan. 26, will be more exciting than usual, if that is even possible.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs Visitor Center conference room.

Our newest club member, Stephen Keil, Ph.D., will be speaking about solar astronomy. He is an expert on the subject and was the director of the National Solar Observatory at Kitt Peak from 1999-2013. He is also a consultant for the new solar telescope currently under construction in Hawaii, which will revolutionize our understanding of the magnetic process on the sun and its impact on the earth.

It is an honor and great privilege to have such an expert share with us. We invite everyone in Pagosa to come and meet your neighbors, and we especially hope to see students who have an interest in astronomy. Keil is preparing his talk for our interest, education and enjoyment.

As a club, we are preparing for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21. You can start making your plans to view it here with protective glasses as a partial eclipse, or you can go to Wyoming, where you can experience amazing totality. There will also be special viewing programs at Chimney Rock National Monument.

We have the schedule for next summer’s Night Sky Programs at Chimney Rock. We can always use more telescope operators and we will gladly train you for what will become a highlight of your life. You can either bring your own telescope or use one that is owned by Chimney Rock Interpretive Association. It is a wonderful opportunity to develop a skill, be learning about our universe and at the same time, help others to learn, while being with an exceptional team of knowledgeable and caring volunteers.

The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs all over the U.S. We have a website, as well as an email address,, and a club phone number, 335-8286.

We encourage anyone interested in learning more about our amazing universe to come to our events. Hope to see you.