San Juan Stargazers announce National Astronomy Day events

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By Joan Mieritz
Special to The PREVIEW
National Astronomy Day will be Saturday, Oct. 5, when hundreds of astronomy clubs across the U.S. that are part of the Astronomical League sponsor educational events.
The location in Pagosa Springs will be the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center conference room. We will be indoors, so it will happen rain or shine. The time is from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be activities for children of all ages from preschool to 100. The best part is that most of the activities can be done with another person. A child can work with a parent or grandparent. It is a wonderful opportunity to have quality time together learning about our amazing universe. It can be quite meaningful, enjoyable and worthwhile. Come try it.
We will also have lessons for adults about images from the Hubble space telescope. An adult can pick from about 25 videos on deep sky objects like star clusters, nebula or amazing galaxies. Then there will be about a 15-minute presentation. Refreshments can be purchased to support our scholarship fund, but otherwise it is free.
On Saturday evening at Mesa Verde National Park there will be a huge star party. This is one of the last events that John Buting, who was a San Juan Stargazer and master astronomer from Durango, started the year before he died. It has continued and is going strong. I want to make sure that people from Pagosa are invited to join many others from the Four Corners area. If you can bring a telescope or help in other ways, you can have a free campsite at Mesa Verde. Call our club number, 335-8286, for more information. This is a very big star party with well over 100 people and telescopes. It is something I would encourage everyone to experience. It can be mind-blowing, thrilling or, at the very least, an amazing learning experience.
There is one more event to mention. Our end-of-the-year celebration for having completed nine star parties at Chimney Rock serving hundreds of people, and our seventh anniversary dinner for the San Juan Stargazers Astronomy Club will be held on Oct. 25 at a private home. It is for club members and guests only. We always invite the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) members who help us during the summer. You must make a reservation this year and can then learn the location. The cost is $5. Hope to see all you stargazers and CRIA night sky support people.
The year passes so quickly and it is time to order your 2020 deep sky calendar. It is even more beautiful than last year. If you study all the information on the calendar, it is comparable to a college astronomy class. Each day has a listing of things visible in the night sky. The fantastic monthly images are described in great detail so that, after 12 lessons, you have a sampling of all categories in the field of astronomy. It is an easy Christmas gift to mail that is a reminder every day all year that you care. It is a fundraiser for our scholarship fund.
The San Juan Stargazers are part of the Astronomical League, which includes clubs from all over the U.S. We have a wonderful new website, www.sanjuanstargazers.org, as well as an email address, sjstargazers@gmail.com, and a club phone number, 335-8286.
We welcome everyone who has an interest in learning more about our amazing universe.