Library reaches ‘astronomical’ heights

On March 7, Tim Sagear, of Brookline, gave a presentation on the Orion StarBlast telescope and its accessories to staff at the Brookline Public Library. The scope was donated to the library by the New Hampshire Astronomical Society through a grant from Oceanside Photo & Telescope.

Also donated were an adjustable-height scope table, a Great Courses DVD course on “Our Night Sky,” a book titled “Binocular Highlights” and a three-year subscription to Sky & Telescope magazine.

A long-time member of NHAS, Sagear spoke about the team of volunteers that gathers regularly to adapt and maintain the scopes for library use.

“Our goals: to help foster scientific literacy and to stimulate the interest in astronomy, enable people who have never looked through a telescope the chance to experience the excitement that comes from discovery and to provide a valuable asset for the library along with NHAS assistance in maintenance,” he said.

The telescope has been on display at the library since mid-January. People are already eager to take the scope out on loan, and there are plans to use the new equipment as part of a “nightwatch party” to be held during this year’s Summer Reading Program. The 2012 Summer Reading Program celebrates night, and library staff found the addition of the telescope serendipitous.

It’s a perfect fit for our “Dream Big” and “Take back the Night” themes for Summer Reading. What better time to introduce the wonders of astronomy to kids of all ages? The Summer Reading Program kicks off in June, and a stargazing event will be held in August.

The telescope kit includes the carrying bag, Orion telescope with an adjustable lens and a star finder on a revolving base, a star map, instructions and a safe light.

Other related materials, such as astronomy books, magazines, DVDs and a portable table are also available. These items will be ready for checkout to adult patrons beginning in early April.

For more details, please contact the library at 673-3330.

The New Hampshire Astronomical Society, and particularly its Education-Outreach Committee, started placing telescopes and educational materials in selected libraries in New Hampshire beginning in December 2008. This early venture evolved into the Library Telescope Program. There are now more than 26 participating New Hampshire libraries. Check out the website at www.nhastro.org for more information on NHAS and its programs.

Myra Emmons is director of the Brookline Public Library and can be reached at 673-3330. Visit the library online at www.brookline.nh.us.