San Juan Stargazers to study the Sombrero Galaxy


By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW
The San Juan Stargazers will hold their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Chamber Visitor Center conference room located at 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
We are now a nonprofit member of the Chamber of Commerce, so this is our permanent meeting location. The meeting is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Hot drinks will be served starting around 6:30 p.m.
Our program for the evening is about the famous Hubble image of the classic edge-on Sombrero Galaxy. Sombrero is part of our galaxy group of 40-50 close galaxies which is called The Local Group. I chuckle every time I think of the “Local Group.” Astronomers have a sense of humor.
We also will take a look at Charles Messier, a French astronomer who, between 1758 and 1781, identified over 100 of the brightest objects in the night sky. He did that because his goal in life was to become famous by being the first to find a new comet which like Haley’s Comet would forever bear his name. He never did find a comet, but he is more frequently remembered for his list of Messier Objects.
We will also study Edwin Hubble’s discovery of the concept of galaxy which took place in 1925. Just think how astronomy has grown in the past 90 years — by going from a man named Hubble who first presented the concept of galaxy to the telescope named after him that makes it possible to see billions of them. That is mind-boggling stuff we study. You may want to join us.
If you haven’t packed up your holiday decorations yet, make sure that as you do, you notice the location of your stored telescope. Almost all families in Pagosa have at least one. As soon as we have a bit less snow we will be having several telescope clinics so that you can learn how to use it or fix it and perhaps share that enjoyment with others. 2019 is the year to do it.
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, 335-8286.
We welcome everyone who has an interest in learning more about our amazing universe.