Explore the night sky with expanded library telescope collection | TheUnion.com

Explore the night sky with expanded library telescope collection

County Librarian Nick Wilczek poses with an Orion StarBlast 6, one of several telescopes that can now be checked out for personal use at Nevada County public libraries.
Submittd by Cindy Pawlowski

Thanks to the Nevada County Astronomers Club, the Nevada County Community Library has expanded the number of telescopes available for check out to patrons who want to scan the stars and other celestial bodies in the night. The Astronomers Club has donated two additional Orion “StarBlast 4.5” telescopes and three larger Orion “StarBlast 6” telescopes.

Last year, several members of Nevada County Astronomers Club, including member John Griffin, approached the library with the idea of expanding telescope offerings for patrons. The group received funding from the Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF) from the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools and had been looking for ways to expand astronomy outreach to the county. Bringing telescopes to the library is part of the nation-wide Library Telescope Program, which originated with the New Hampshire Astronomical Society.

“The Nevada County Community Library has had multiple programming collaborations with the Nevada County Astronomers Club over the years and the club is a wonderful resource for our community, sharing and teaching about the night sky with people of all ages,” said Cindy Pawlowski, Madelyn Helling Branch Manager.

Library cardholders can check a telescope out for five days and pick it up during curbside service hours at selected branches. Unlike books that are checked out, telescopes can only be checked out and returned at their library of origin, not to a different branch. In addition, one will be available for use at the San Juan Ridge Community Library to support residents in the North San Juan area.

Library staff are available to direct patrons to information that explains the basics of the telescope’s operation on the library’s website.

The telescope can magnify objects from within the solar system, as well as some deep-sky objects. Pointing it at the moon, will bring into focus features like mountains and craters. Planets are also observable, with Venus, Jupiter and Saturn being the brightest.

Users can also view distant stars and allow stargazers to distinguish the colors of different stars. The National Audubon Society Constellations Pocket Guide is included with the checkout of the telescope to help in locating deep-sky objects. Warning labels on the 4.5 telescopes also remind users to never use the telescope to look at the sun, as this can result in permanent eye damage.

To check out a telescope, patrons with a library card can go to the library catalog online and place a hold or call their local branch. The patron will be notified when the telescope is available for checkout and pick-up. If a community member does not have a library card, please contact your nearest branch to learn how to sign up.

For more information, visit the Library Website at https://mynevadacounty.com/library or call 530-265-7050.

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