Wednesday, September 27, 2023

NASA PUNCH Mission to Share Impacts of Solar Winds at Star Party in Jemez Springs


Jemez Historic Site in Jemez Springs, New Mexico will give stargazers a chance to view constellations and hear about the impacts of solar winds on the earth, during their third Star Party event on Saturday, Sept. 16. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a talk led by a member of the NASA PUNCH mission, about the sun, solar winds and its effect on humanity. “PUNCH” is an acronym for the Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere.

“We are excited to bring the NASA PUNCH mission to our event and continue expanding our astronomy related offerings at each of our star parties,” said Jemez Historic Site Director Elisabeth Stone. “Jemez Springs has some of the darkest skies in New Mexico, ripe with opportunities for stargazing and learning about the world above.”

PUNCH scientists are heliophysicists who research the physics of the sun and how it releases charged particles, magnetic fields, and solar storms that impact our solar system.

As part of the PUNCH mission, scheduled to launch in 2025, four suitcase-sized satellites will work together to produce images of the entire solar system. As a result, scientists will be able to gather 3D images of the solar corona, from the outermost solar atmosphere to the inner heliosphere, closing a 60 year gap in understanding what happens in that region of space.

Immediately following the PUNCH presentation, the Albuquerque Astronomy Club (TAAS) will provide telescopes and lead star gazing opportunities at the Site. Saturn, the Milky Way, and summer constellations will be prominent in the evening sky. The star party is scheduled around a New Moon, when sunset will be around 7:11 p.m. and the best visibility will be around 8:30 p.m.

Food and arts/crafts vendors will be located outside the Historic Site, and Jemez Springs restaurants and shops are within walking distance of the Site. Please visit for a list of businesses and hours.

Entry to the Historic Site will begin at 6 p.m., with the event ending at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10. There is no charge for those 16 and under, Indigenous tribal members, or Museum of New Mexico Foundation members. Tickets are limited and may be purchased at Flashlights may not be used unless covered with red cellophane and flash photography is prohibited to protect the viewer's eyes.

The following morning, on Sept 17, the Natural History Museum will lead a presentation on the upcoming annular eclipse in October, and will provide sun viewing filters for visitors. Sunday entrance to the Historic Site is included with a star party ticket.

The Historic Site’s final star party of the year will take place on Oct. 14, starting with the annular eclipse and running through the day, ending with the star party. More information will be forthcoming.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit For general information about the Village of Jemez Springs, visit


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