While the US may not be currently sending astronauts into space, there are still opportunities to learn more about the stars. To help inspire that, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) has a Telescope Program with telescopes available for CALS patrons to borrow.
The telescopes are 4.5” Orion StarBlast Newtonian instruments and will gather several hundred times more light than the unaided eye and magnify up to 56 times. These small, portable scopes are particularly suited to observing the moon and the brighter planets, such as Saturn, Jupiter, and under proper conditions some “deep sky” objects can be observed as well, such as star clusters.
The CALS Telescope Program began in 2016 when the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society helped CALS procure funding for the program from the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium and then modified the original collection of 16 telescopes for public use. There are now over 40 telescopes available.
Since the program began, hundreds of CALS patrons have participated in the program, checking out telescopes to take home and attending educational events to learn about the night sky