Stargazers look at Chimney Rock astronomy


By Joan Mieritz

Special to The PREVIEW

The next regular meeting of the San Juan Stargazers will be on Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce, located on Hot Springs Boulevard. Refreshments will be served as we learn how to operate two brand new Chimney Rock telescopes.

Even if you don’t plan on operating the new scopes, it will be a valuable meeting because we will also be discussing deep-sky objects to be observed and telescope use in general. There are many people who own telescopes that they don’t know how to use and this would be a great time to start learning. You can bring your own scope, if you’d like.

After we have learned how to use the scopes, we will go to a park and practice what we’ve learned. Chimney Rock volunteers (present and future) and any other curious people are invited to join us. In case of inclement weather, we have a backup date of Thursday, May 1, for the park observation. Bring a treat to share, drinks provided.

We also have been hoping to get more high school students to become involved with astronomy. The Stargazers are setting up a scholarship fund available to students who are volunteering at Chimney Rock and participating in other club activities. In addition to telescope operators, we need students who are willing to speak to visitors about topics in astronomy. Each talk will be only about 10 minutes and you will be thoroughly trained and supported. High school students need to consider how great it would look on your resume to be an astronomer volunteer and you also could qualify for a scholarship. We are starting to gear up for this summer when we will be hosting Star Parties every other Friday night, starting May 23, at Chimney Rock. Locals are always encouraged to come to Chimney Rock Star Parties.

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, 335-8286, to help communicate with the public. Anyone interested in learning more about astronomy is invited to come. The public is always welcome at our events.