By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW
The regular meeting of the San Juan Stargazers on Thursday, June 22, at 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs Visitor Center conference room will be another telescope clinic by popular request.
There are dozens of unused telescopes sitting in Pagosa closets and basements with people not knowing how to use them. We want to give you an opportunity to bring it to our meeting to get the help you need. Our many star programs at Chimney Rock National Monument provide the perfect opportunity for you to practice using your scope with immediate help available. Telescopes are too much fun to be wasted. Dig yours out.
Aug. 21 eclipse
Then we will have club members to help you decide how you can best see the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.
It will be the last one visible across the United States until 2044. (In 2024, one will be visible in Canada.) This may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we want to help you experience. It will have about 80 percent of totality in Pagosa. There will be a memorable program at Chimney Rock.
And, starting Aug. 1, the San Juan Stargazers will make the special viewing glasses that are absolutely necessary for safe viewing without permanent eye damage, available to the public for free or a donation to our scholarship fund. More information about the location to get the glasses will be available in the future.
Chimney Rock programs
On many Friday nights (check the Chimney Rock website for exact dates) in June, July, August and September, we will have our Chimney Rock archaeoastronomy programs. We have made some changes to our usually twice-monthly telescope programs. All are called night sky programs, which means that telescopes will be used in the upper parking lot (fabulous view) after the interesting educational program.
The program scheduled close to the new moon (no moon), is called Night Sky — Stars and Galaxies because we will be able to see the more difficult deep sky objects which include stars at various stages of development and as many other galaxies as possible.
Then, about two weeks later, we schedule a program when part of the moon is visible, calling it Night Sky — Our Solar System, because we will not only see the moon close up, but also the planets of our solar system that are visible. Please join us any date, as locals do not need to make a reservation.
We will not have our regular monthly meetings the fourth Thursdays in July and August because we will be scheduling special lecture times in mid-July and mid- August for visiting astronomer Andrew Green, Ph.D., from Australia.
Many people will want to hear this well-known astronomer with special connections to Pagosa Springs — he is Nancy Green’s son. He will be presenting wonderful programs for the public.
The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs all over the U.S. We have a website, www.sanjuanstargazers.com, as well as an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 there.