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Sunday, October 2, 2022

San Juan Stargazers ready for Chimney Rock anniversary, special program and club anniversary

By Joan Mieritz | San Juan Stargazers

Sept. 22-24 will be a huge celebration of the 10th anniversary of Chimney Rock becoming a national monument. 

There will be a free all-day celebration at the site on Saturday, Sept. 24, starting at 10 a.m. Of course, the San Juan Stargazers will be taking part since astronomy was an important part of life for the ancient people. 

The club will be making two comets in honor of Haley’s Comet that covered one-quarter of the night sky over Chimney Rock in 1066. 

We hope that you will enjoy this free event put on by the U.S. Forest Service, the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, the San Juan Stargazers, and there will be many native Americans who trace their ancestry back to Chimney Rock. Native Americans will have special time when the monument is closed to the public so they have an opportunity to privately honor their ancestors.

Regular meeting to
feature Bob Mitchell

The regular club meeting for the San Juan Stargazers will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29, in the Community United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall at 434 Lewis St. Please use the parking lot door so the front doors may remain locked. At 6 p.m., there will be a social time with coffee, tea, etc. 

This month’s program, beginning at 7 p.m., is Bob Mitchell, who worked on the James Webb Space Telescope. He did his first presentation to our club on the James Webb in 2013. He will be speaking again just about the wonders of the actual telescope. It is perhaps the most perfect “machine” ever produced by humans. 

It is now 1 million miles from Earth and cannot be visited by astronauts as the Hubble was. It had to be “perfect” before it left Earth and its performance so far is flawless. It had 344 single points of failure that would have scrapped the entire mission. It is an amazing story of how humans achieved “perfection.” 

Mitchell is an engineer and amateur astronomer, so his talk will be about the development and construction of the telescope and the problems that had to be overcome. All students are encouraged to attend the presentation, which will not be too detailed for people to understand.

Club 10th anniversary celebration set for Oct. 7

Club members, please note that our 10th anniversary dinner, celebration and star party is scheduled for Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. There is no charge for members, but a reservation is needed. Please call (720) 626-9304 and leave a message with your name, number attending and request a call back if you need directions. 

Our celebration and star party will be at the regular location for winter star parties and we will have the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association telescopes to set up for viewing. Ten years with the activities and growth we have experienced is worth celebrating, but we will be focusing on changes and improvements for the future. With the Webb Space Telescope, the future of astronomy is increasing and our club needs to keep up.

Join the Stargazers 

If you would like to join the San Juan Stargazers, you will also receive Reflector Magazine, which is the publication of the National Astronomical League of which you automatically become a member. To join both groups and get an excellent astronomy magazine, annual membership is only $25/family. This year, there is a fabulous special gift for new and renewing members. It will help you become the astronomer you have always dreamed of being. 

You will love it. You can join the club at any of our events or on our website. 

The San Juan Stargazers Club is part of the Astronomical League — celebrating its 75th year of service — which includes over 300 clubs from all over the U.S. including over 20,000 members. Our local group also has a website, www.sanjuanstargazers.org. Check it out for more information and beautiful Hubble and Webb photos. We welcome everyone to learn more about our amazing universe. We hope to see you soon.

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