San Juan Stargazers study about galaxies near and far


By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW
The San Juan Stargazers will hold their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Visitor Center conference room located at 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
We are now a nonprofit member of the Chamber, so this is our permanent meeting location. The meeting is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. sharp. Hot drinks and maybe a treat will be served starting around 6:30 p.m.
Our program will be another profound one. We will study more about Edwin Hubble’s discovery of galaxies. At one time, astronomers thought that the Milky Way was the whole universe. What a jump from one galaxy to 300 billion galaxies. Let that thought blow your mind for a while.
Hubble’s views of nebulae that appeared to be beyond the Milky Way using the great telescope at Mt. Wilson took place in the 1920s. He came to learn that these nebulae, in fact, were separate galaxies. Then he applied the Doppler effect to come up with Hubble’s law about their movement. Way back then, he understood the need for dark energy to account for movement in the universe. He was quite the genius who certainly deserved to have the space telescope bear his name.
I love how our lessons take complex ideas and make them understandable for us all. Our programs are for people of all levels of astronomy and it is amazing how much each person learns. Don’t let the fact that you feel like a beginner keep you away. We are all so amazed by what we are learning that we simply do not judge anyone.
Start preparing for March 28 at 6 p.m., when we will have our first telescope clinic of 2019. Many people in Pagosa have a telescope which they were given or picked up somewhere, but have no idea how to use it or if it is even usable.
At our telescope clinics, you can learn how to use it or fix it. We have limited space in our clinics, so call early to reserve a telescope expert. Please call 335-8286 with a little information about what you have and what you may be needing in the form of help so we can match you with the right person. 2019 is the year to add an amazing dimension to your life.
Astronomy news flash: A supermoon will be visible on Feb. 19 and March 21. Supermoons appear larger than the usual moon because the moon’s orbit around the earth is not a circle, but an ellipse. So, there are times when the moon is, in fact, closer to the earth and therefore looks bigger. Check it out and see if you can notice a difference.
The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S. We have a new 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.