Telescope Loan Program
Do you want to explore the heavens with a telescope but don’t have one?
Do you want to see if Astronomy is for you or your family?
Southwest Florida Astronomical Society, Inc. (SWFAS) and its members are hosting a program to loan out small to medium sized telescopes for a 4 week period of time.
(See FAQ’s & Application at the bottom of this page)
Telescopes from 60mm (2.4”) and up to 150mm (6”) are being made available along with necessary equipment to allow you to observe the moon, planets and other objects.
The only 2 requirements are:
1) Providing positive ID with a local address and a phone number, and
2) Telescopes must be checked out by an adult 18 or over. (Please see the program information sheet below, for full details.)
We have a limited number of telescopes of varying sizes and mounts and they are available on a first come basis.
Some telescopes are motorized or even computer controlled. You can check out the FAQ to learn more about the different telescopes we have available. Keep in mind that many of the motorized and the computer controlled scopes will require access to a power source, a few require AC power, most are 12 volt, and some can run on battery packs using standard batteries.
As the FAQ points out, don’t expect to do any photography work with these telescopes. Copies of the manuals are provided where available. The FAQ has links to many of the manuals if you want to learn something about the different models available. Other links on our website can provide details about what is currently visible and special astronomical events that may be happening.
SWFAS reserves the right to not check out telescopes to individuals and to request their return on demand.
Telescopes are often available for checkout at our public events. Telescopes can always be checked out or returned at our monthly meetings with prior notice. Arrangements to return the telescopes can often be made for a spot near where you live if you are unable to make it to an event or meeting to do so. Please E-Mail our Equipment Co-Ordinator (Check current newsletter for contact information) if you are interested in a specific telescope or want to make arrangements to pick up a telescope outside of events where we have specifically indicated that telescopes would be available.
SWFAS also has a “member only” loan program with the following telescopes:
A nice portable Orion 6″ f/8 newtonian on a simple dobsonian mount. This is a great scope which can provide sharp views of the moon and planets as well as low power wide fields for deep sky observing. It’s easily manageable by one person, and has many extra’s.
A 4″ Bushnell “Ball” widefield telescope that is extremely portable and easy to use.
A couple of 8″ Newtonian telescopes on GEM mounts (One of these is quite heavy though).
We recently were given a Celestron CPC-800 8″ Schmidt Cassegrain that is fully computerized!
There are other non computerized Celestron 8’s that are also available to club members to check out.
Some of these “member only” telescopes can be used for astrophotography purposes if your camera/webcam is capable of doing so and you have appropriate adapters.