Telescope Library

RCA Telescope Library

The Rose City Astronomers’ Telescope Library offers members (after their third month of membership) free borrowing privileges from a variety of telescopes and binoculars for their evaluation and enjoyment.

Club members may check out, without cost, binoculars, telescopes and other equipment. You can find the checkout procedures here

We encourage those members with little or no prior observing experience to attend the Club’s introductory lectures given before each general meeting and go to a star party or two and talk to other members about their scopes and how they use them.


Binoculars are a wonderful way to begin an astronomy adventure. Sooner or later all amateurs acquire a pair. The club has currently two large astronomical binoculars: 10x80, and 15x70, and two smaller but more manageable 12x60s. We also offer monopods to help the observing.


     The Library’s telescopes fall into two categories: Reflectors and Schmidt Cassegrains.

   Reflectors: The reflectors run in size from 8 inch diameter mirrors to 13 inch diameter. Their advantages are that they are simple to operate, and easy and quick to set up and take down. The primary disadvantage is that they are bulkier and larger in size than the Schmidt Cassegrains. The reflectors, with one exception, are composed of a tube, containing the optics, and a base on which the tube rests. The club has one “truss tube” Dob which requires some assembly: metal rods or tubes are used in place of the single main tube. The 8 inch Dobs are readily moveable by a single person, the larger Dobs are heavy and can be awkward to move.

1. Two 8 inch Dobsonians
2. Two 10 inch Dobsonians
3. One heavy 10.5 inch Dobsonian
4. One 13.5 inch heavy Dobsonian
5. One 10 inch Dobsonian with digital setting circles

  Schmidt Cassegrain: The club also has Schmidt Cassegrain Telescopes available. They are capable of tracking objects in the sky but require some basic knowledge of astronomy, and also require time and some adjusting to properly set up so they can track objects for the observer. Power is supplied by batteries.

1. Three 8 inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescopes with tripods and mounts
2. One five inch SCT with programmable go to capability with tripod and mount
3. One four inch SCT with go to capability with tripod and mount

Solar Telescopes (Hydrogen-Alpha)

The club has available for check out 3 specialized small solar telescopes. These scope are used to observe solar flares and active regions on the sun. They must be used with the eyepieces provided. These instruments have very special coating that eliminate virtually all of the light from the Sun except a very small portion in a very specific wavelength to avoid eye damage or blindness; they must be used with adult supervision.

Mounts, Tripods and Eyepieces

The club has available a tripod and mount on which a digital camera can be placed for basic astro imaging of the moon and night sky. There is a learning curve involved in this and the club encourages you to contact the members in the astro imaging Special Interest Group for help.

The club has available 1¼ inch and 2 inch eyepiece collections in cases for check out as available. Remember, to determine the maximum magnification divide the focal length of the telescope in millimeters, by the focal length of the eyepiece in millimeters: a typical 8 inch Dobsonian is 1000mm focal length, so a 20mm eyepiece will yield 50x magnification.

The club has a Binoviewer that fits into any of the Schmidt Cassegrains, but for technical reasons, will not work on reflectors. And of course, the viewer requires two eyepieces instead of one. A set of two 25mm eyepieces come with the Binoviewer.

Web Sites for Amateur Astronomers

There are hundreds of free websites to assist in your viewing, both web based and freeware requiring down load. Always be cautious, particularly with downloads. Here are a few that may help you get started.

Binocular Sky: This web site allows you to locate and plan for your viewing of the best of the objects viewable with binoculars. It is a free site. http://binocularsky.com/

Skymap: From WikkiSky is a general planetarium site with articles, maps and a variety of offerings, not overly technical.  http://www.sky-map.org/

World Wide Telescope: is a Microsoft project aimed at the general public and especially younger people. http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/OpenWWT/

Sky and Telescope Magazine has published a long list of astronomy related web sites by category. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/astronomy-software-public-domain-freeware-and-shareware/

Procedures for Checking out Telescopes from the RCA Telescope Library


1. Contact the Telescope Librarian (telescope@rosecityastnomers.org) at any time to inquire about the current Library inventory.


2. To initiate a request to borrow an item in the Library, contact the Telescope Librarian (telescope@rosecityastnomers.org) at least 24 hours, but not more than 30 days, prior to the next general meeting.
  • If the Librarian replies that the equipment is available at the next general meeting, complete a Telescope Borrower Agreement and bring to the next general meeting to pick up your equipment.
  • If the equipment is not available at the next general meeting and no one else has reserved the equipment for the following month, you may reserve the equipment and pick up at the following month’s general meeting.
  • All requests are filled on a “first come first served” basis.
  3. All borrowers must sign a Telescope Borrower Agreement when checking out equipment from the Library. Note that:
  • A parent needs to co-sign with any member under 18 years old.
  • Borrowers are responsible for the proper transport, storage and use of the equipment, and maintaining in a safe and secure location at all times.
  • Borrowers agree to reimburse or compensate RCA for any loss or damage of equipment deemed by RCA to be caused by the member.
  • Failure to abide by this Agreement or return equipment on time may result in a member losing borrower privileges.

4. The Telescope Library is open from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. outside of the Planetarium on the night of the general meeting for equipment to be checked-out and checked-in. With such a large membership and limited equipment, it is extremely important that members return equipment when due and on-time in order to facilitate turnover to other members.


5. Check out period is one month (from the monthly general meeting when checked out – to the following monthly general meeting when it is due to be returned).


6. If you have not previously contacted the Librarian by email (preferred method), you may approach the Telescope Librarian during open hours to inquire about the availability of specific equipment, and check out desired equipment if the Librarian is able to accommodate your request during this time, given the need to service incoming and outgoing reservations first.


If you wish to donate a telescope, contact the RCA President
** NOTE – donations must be in good working condition and acceptance is subject to current needs and plans of RCA; and may subsequently be donated to another club or organization, or sold to produce income for RCA.


We do not buy telescopes for our library but if you are looking to sell a telescope

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