Telescope loans

We believe that all, especially young people, should look up at the night skies and see for themselves the Solar System and the Universe they live in. However access to telescopes at a suitable time/place and being safe can be difficult. To help ease this problem, we’ve been talking to those who have perhaps replaced their telescopes or found that eye sight isn’t as it was about providing their old telescopes to Bath Astronomers to be loaned out to keen young people to enjoy the skies from their homes. Contact us if you know someone who might benefit.

The following telescopes are available to loan:

Caroline/Cecilia – Skymax 127 Az GTi

We have two Sky-watcher Skymax 127 Az GTi telescopes which are easier to use, fully app integrated and lightweight at on 8 or 9kgs. They are 1500mm focal length and come with two super plossl eyepieces: 25mm and 10mm. A great allrounder of a telescope. They use 8 AA batteries or an external 12V DC supply. We call them Caroline and Cecilia. They have a red dot finder and no handset controller. Simply power up the telescope and you’ll notice a new Wifi host spot. You need to connect your phone to this hotspot within 15 minutes and then open the Synscan app on your phone. You can download the app for free from your favourite app store. The App has the Up/Down/Left/Right buttons to move the telescope around. The telescopes are named after Caroline Herschel and Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin.

Chandra – Celestron C8

We have a Celestron C8 Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope (SCT). The reflecting telescope has an aperture of 203mm and a focal length of 2032mm so it’s an f/10. Suited for those with some initial telescope experience, it is on a precision goto equatorial Advanced VX mount and powered by a 12v Celestron powertank. It comes with two eyepieces, a 25mm and a 10mm, giving magnification of x81 and x203. It is controlled with a Nexstar+ handset and needs to be polar aligned even just approximately before use; there is a polar scope built into the mount to make this easier. The telescope fits into two large plastic crates along with the tripod. We call the telescope Chandra after Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, awarded the Nobel Prize winner for his work on the evolution of massive stars.

Edwin – Meade ETX-90

The Meade ETX-90 is a great Maksutov-Cassegrain 90mm reflector with a reliable Goto system. Powered by 8 AA or a separate 12V DC supply, it uses a two star alignment set up to orientate itself in the sky. You’ll need a chart, an app, or a small knowledge of some bright stars to successfully align. It can be used on bright targets without alignment. The aperture is 90mm and the focal length is 1250mm. A great portable beginner/intermediate telescope. Supplied with a 26mm and a 9.7mm lens. Lightweight and robust. We call this telescope Edwin, after Edwin Hubble.

Online Booking links:

Terms & Conditions of loans:

Kit will be loaned to anyone who has a new interest in observing but doesn’t have their own kit.  They will need to be members of Bath Astronomers or the daughter/son of a member to qualify for the loan. The loan will be reviewed at an agreed period or every 3 months (whichever is shortest) to check it is still required.

The member agrees:

  • to return the loaned equipment after the agreed period or earlier if requested by the Coordination Team;
  • to return the loaned equipment in the same condition as it was loaned other than reasonable wear and tear;
  • to store the loaned equipment in a secure, dry, and shaded location for the duration of the loan;
  • that the equipment is used at their own risk and the society accepts no liable for damage or injury during the loaned equipment’s transportation, storage, or usage;
  • to pay for all transportation or carriage costs relating to pick-up from and drop-off to Bath Astronomers.

The member understands:

  • that any optical equipment used during the daytime carries a risk of the Sun’s rays being concentrated and causing fire, burns, solar retinopathy, or permanent blindness for the user or those with access to the equipment;
  • that loaned equipment can be heavy and caution is required during any lifting undertaken;
  • that the loan relates to a specific item without warranty and no repair or replacement can be offered.

Contact us if you know someone who might benefit.

Other telescopes (not ideal for loan)

The Celestron 114LCM is a Goto Newtonian Reflector with an aperture of 114mm and a focal length of 1m. The mount is a computerised alt/azimuth providing a sturdy base for observing. It comes with 25mm and 9mm lenses and a barlow. It has a red dot finder. Great beginner scope. It is now part of the schools Discovery Loan Box.

Meade Starlight 80

The Meade Starlight 80 came to us missing a mount and eyepieces. We’ve mated this reflector to a robust camera mount and added a lens (14mm) to make it usable for looking at larger objects in the sky such as the Moon, parts of the Milky Way,  and open clusters. A solar filter made out of Baader mylar is also included to also white light observation of the Sun – note, this should only be used in you know what you are doing, you’ve checked the filter beforehand isn’t damaged, and the filter is securely attached to the front of the telescope. The telescope is an 80mm doublet refractor with a 640mm focal length.

Meade DS-2080AT

The Meade DS-2080AT-LNT is a 80mm f/10 refractor with a goto mount and a red dot finder. It has a diagonal and 26mm(x31) and 9.7mm(x81) eyepieces; both 1.25″. It comes with a reproduction Meade manual and we’d recommend attendance at one of the Wellow observing sessions with a parent to learn how best to use the telescope.

Slightly more technical to set up as you need to use the electronic handcontroller but once mastered, it is a doddle. The sightscope has sensors in it to help align the scope so it removes the chores of getting everything level and pointing North. The telescope is a little flimsy with lots of breakable plastic and so the Goto is potentially not operational.

Orion Optics Europa150

The Orion Optics Europa 150 f8 Newtonian reflector is 6″ in diameter with a focal length of 1200mm; it uses Orion Optics. It is on a Sky Scan 2001 manual equatorial mount. It has a 6 x 30mm sight scope and comes with a x2 barlow, and 25mm(x48) and 10mm(x120) eyepieces; all 1.25″. It has a polar scope fitter for easier alignment. Photos shown without counterweight (I forgot to put it on!). It comes with a reproduction Europa/Orion Optics manual and we’d recommend attendance at one of the Wellow observing sessions with a parent to learn how best to use the telescope.

Orion Optics Europa 200

The Orion Optics Europa 200 came to us as just the optical tube. We’ve added a homemade Dobsonian mount and laser red dot finder. It is an 8″ Newtonian reflecting telescope with a focal length of 1200mm so it’s f/6. We’ve kitted it with 20mm and 5.5mm lenses to allow a good range of objects to be observed. No batteries, no fuss. This push me, pull you light bucket is a good scope as you get familiar with the night sky. It is bulky and takes up space so ideally should be kept dry but close to the garden. e.g. a conservatory, garage, so it isn’t too much effort to lift outside.

More substantial than the smaller telescopes and with some heavy-ish parts to drop on toes, a little caution required.

Meade DS2080AT Goto Refractor

Meade Starlight 80 Alt/Az Refractor

Orion Optics Europa 150 Equatorial Reflector