TVS Loaner Scope Program

TVS Loaner Scopes

Director: Ron Kane

TVS has a loaner scope program available to its members.

Renting a scope for a month allows you to "test drive" a variety of scopes, whether you plan on buying one or not.

We have a variety of telescopes available to rent to club members. Scopes are rented for one month at a time, from one general meeting to the next. The rental rate for most scopes is $15 per month with a refundable deposit of either $50 or $100, depending upon the scope.

We have a couple of special deals on the price. If you are a student then it is only $5. If you bring the telescope to one of our public or school star parties then we will refund your entire rental fee.

The telescopes are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at each general TVS meeting. Reservations are also accepted before the meeting by telephone or e-mail. Contact the Loaner Scope Program Director, Ron Kane. The telescope must be returned at the next general meeting a month later (at the church in Livermore).

In the rental telescope program we currently have:
  • Orion SkyQuest XT8i Computerized IntelliScope Telescope

    Our newest telescope is an Orion Dobsonian reflector telescope with a large 8" aperture. This is big enough to let you to see faint deep-sky objects such as nebulas and galaxies. It includes the IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator to help you find objects; and it has a database of more than 14,000 objects to choose from. It uses a "push-to" design in which you follow directional arrows displayed on the hand controller to know which way to push the telescope to center your target. This design is very portable. The deposit for renting this scope is $100.

  • Two modified 10" f/4.5 Coulter Odyssey Dobsonians
    (the Jack Marling 10" telescope and the Conrad Stolarski telescope).
    The scopes come with a Telrad finder. The Marling scope comes with a Lumicon Sky Vector (a computerized pointing system).

  • The Dobs are easy to use and a have a big enough aperture to see a lot of objects. Fairly heavy when lifted in one piece, but not too bad when taken apart (base and tube separated). They take a long time to cool down to really get good high power images. These are great for viewing galaxies, nebulas and other "Deep Sky Objects" (DSOs), but not necessarily the best instrument for planetary viewing.

  • We have a classic Celestron Orange Tube C8 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (SCT). It has an AC-driven fork mount, wedge, and tripod. You will need an inverter to run the drive in the field using a battery.

    SCTs are good all around scopes, have a big enough aperture to see many DSOs, a long focal length which makes high power planetary viewing easy, and they can track the sky. Because of the design they are physically small for the aperture and focal length, but fairly heavy.

  • A Meade LX200 10" SCT scope and tripod

    This scope is one of a series of telescopes offered by Meade Instruments. The series is regarded by some as one of the best telescopes for astrophotograhy offered by Meade. But it is also very well suited to visual work, and is easy to operate with its built-in alignment procedure, large star catalog, and "go-to" controller that makes aiming at a target a simple process.

  • 75mm (3") f/16 Unitron refractor on a German equatorial mount and tripod
    (the Jerry Howland Telescope). Scope has a small finder scope.

    This is a long focal length achromatic refractor. It's great for planetary or lunar viewing, but the aperture is kind of small for most DSO work. The mount and tripod are very sturdy.

  • Astroscan. This funny looking scope is small and quite portable. A big thanks to John Horvath for donating this scope to the loaner program.
The Dobsonian telescopes are easier to set and use for beginners and are recommended for first time telescope users.

Our first ten inch scope, with the Sky Vector computer, was donated by Dr. Jack Marling. Our second ten inch scope was donated by Conrad Stolarski. The three inch Unitron scope was donated by Jerry Howland.

We also have an assortment of non-telescope items for rent, including:
  • 8x56 Celestron binoculars.

    If you are new to astronomy, this is a nice way to learn your way around the sky. It's much easier to get started with a low power binocular than a high power telescope, and it's much more portable!

  • Nagler 31mm type 5 eyepiece.

    This is the BIG one! This eyepiece gives you a very wide razor sharp low magnification view. You do need a 2" focuser to use this eyepiece.

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