By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW
The San Juan Stargazers will not hold their regular monthly meeting on the fourth Thursday, but will have a special guest speaker of interest to many on Thursday, June 20, at 5 p.m. in the Ruby Sisson Library meeting room.
Our speaker, Eric Fisk, has been an aerospace technician at Martin Marietta/Lockheed Martin for over 37 years. He has worked on the MX missile program, which was renamed Peacekeeper; the Titan missile program; the Mars Global Surveyor satellite; and military support programs. Fisk also worked on the Cassini satellite which orbited Saturn and sent data back to Earth for 13 years.
Recently, he worked on the Orion Program, which will be a manned mission taking astronauts into outer space beyond the moon. He also worked on the GPS III Program, which has part military and part civilian communication satellites.
Fisk will be presenting a talk and many slides including on the deployment of Osiris Rex satellite, launched in 2016, that has arrived at the asteroid Bennu. Its mission is to capture samples to study for the earliest of life forms.
This is an amazing opportunity to learn about an important area of astronomy that is closer to home and impacts our lives on a daily basis. You can hardly look at the dark night sky in Pagosa without seeing a satellite.
We are inviting everyone from our community including mature students who someday could have a wonderful job like this, right in Colorado.
After the program at the library, everyone is invited to join us at a restaurant for dinner. The location will be announced that night.
Later this month, there will be a star party at Chimney Rock called Stars and Galaxies: Dark Sky Event on June 28, with the gate opening at 7:30 p.m. and program beginning at 8:15 p.m., followed by telescope viewing. Our next Solar System or Moon Viewing Star Party will be July 5, with the gate opening at 7:30 p.m. and program at 8:15 p.m. We should be able to see several planets and many amazing areas of the moon.
If you are interested in taking part in our star parties, but you do not have a telescope, the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association owns four telescopes, two are computerized “go-to” telescopes and two are manual 10-inch Dobsonians. We can help you learn to use either type.
We will have practice sessions for all telescope operators on Friday, June 21, and July 12. Please RSVP to Joan if you will be coming.
The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S. We have a new website, www.sanjuanstargazers.org, as well as an email address, email@example.com, and a club phone number, 335-8286.
We welcome everyone who has an interest in learning more about our amazing universe.
By Joan Mieritz