I discovered my local library has an Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Telescope that can be checked out like a book! It is part of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society Library Telescope Program. From their website:
The New Hampshire Astronomical Society, and particularly its Educational Outreach Committee, started placing telescopes and educational materials in selected libraries in New Hampshire beginning in December 2008. Our goal: To help foster scientific literacy, stimulate an interest in astronomy, and provide people who have never looked through a telescope the chance to experience the excitement that comes from discovery.
Since my telescope won’t be delivered until the end of the week, I checked it out along with a copy of Atlas of the Night Sky published in 1985.
The telescope is a nice little Newtonian reflector that has been modified from the original configuration. It comes with a small storage bag that includes:
- A simple instruction book
- A copy of National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Constellations of the Northern Skies
- A “lens pen”
- A “modified” moon filter
The stock eyepiece has been replaced with a Celestron 8 to 24mm 1.25 Zoom Eyepiece with set screws so the eyepiece is not removable. That makes sense. There is no reason anyone would need to remove the eyepiece with the range it provides.
The finder is an Orion EZ Finder II. It’s the same one I will be getting on my scope. I read the simple instruction booklet that came with the telescope explaining how the finder is used, what all the knobs are for, and how to make sure it is aligned with the scope. Simple.
Of course, rain is in the forecast for the next few days so I will have to wait to actually use it but I think the idea is great. Apparently I’m not the only one, Astronomy magazine chose the New Hampshire Astronomical Society as the winner of their 2012 Out-of-this-world award!