San Juan Stargazers to continue study of asteroids

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By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW

The San Juan Stargazers will hold its regular educational meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, in the Pagosa Springs Visitor Center conference room, located on Hot Springs Boulevard.

There will be coffee, tea and snacks.

We have a program that is of interest to the general public and everyone is invited to attend. Last month, we studied evidence of impacts from asteroids that hit Earth before humans were in the picture. These sites were so fascinating that they took the entire program time.

This month, we will study the latest information reported in the July issue of Astronomy Magazine which says that we are “discovering asteroids at a faster rate than ever before” and that “planetary defense is one big reason to study more asteroids.”

We will look at things that amateur observers could do, right here in Pagosa Springs, to save the planet or populated areas.

The 2013 meteorite over Chelyabinsk, Russia, should be a “wake-up call” for increased observation because we “did not even see it coming.” We were lucky that it went over a city and hit in an unpopulated area. It still did tens of millions of dollars in damage and injured over 1,500 people.

This should be a very interesting and proactive meeting.

In September, we will have three or four astronomy programs at Chimney Rock and we really need new volunteers to bring their telescopes (great practice opportunity with immediate help available) or to learn to operate our four CRIA telescopes. You do not have to start out an expert. It is a casual enough situation that you can learn as you go. If you have been thinking of doing this, September would be a great month to start because you will be helping others as well as yourself.

In July, we had a couple with a brand-new telescope and they had “the time of their lives.” It was fun and exciting for everyone to share in their new experience.

Please call 731-0186 if you would like to get involved.

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

Anyone interested in learning more about astronomy is invited to come to all our events.