Get a glimpse of the universe!
Use your library card to discover the universe. Our Orion telescope has been customized for ease of use and comes with step-by-step instructions; and it's powerful enough to resolve the rings of Saturn, the Galilean moons or nearby star clusters.
Who can borrow the telescope?
Any Lincoln Public Library cardholder in good standing and over 18 years of age. Borrowers will be asked to sign a Lending Agreement and show a valid driver's license or other photo ID. Borrowers are encouraged to use the scope with friends, family members, scout troops, classes and clubs.
How do I borrow it?
How do I use it?
The telescope kit includes a user guide and an Audubon constellation book. Beginners are encouraged to prepare with books, videos and/or websites that will help them use the scope and successfully find stars, planets, moons and constellations in the sky. Some useful places to start include:
Books & DVDs - find them in the 520's on the nonfiction and DVD shelves.
Free Apps - recommended by Good Housekeeping, February 2019
NASA - Get the latest NASA photos, videos and features; watch NASA events in real-time; and you can look back down at the Earth from the International Space Station.
Star Walk 2 - Uses your GPS to find the exact position of celestial bodies. You just have to point your phone at the stars.
Sky View Free - Uses an augmented-reality interface to show you what's up above, and you can track your favorite constellations as they move across the sky.
Star Chart - Point this at the sky to see what's above you. Then, when you're done, point it down on the ground to get a view of the sky on the other side of the world.
Night Sky - An interactive star map. This app syncs with your Apple watch, so you can use the watch as a star compass.
Sky Wiki - Set to calendar mode, and you'll never miss another important celestial event in your viewing area.
Sky Map - If you don't know where to start, point it at the sky and have it direct you toward something cool.
Solar Watch - Especially good for kids, because it augments its 3D space model with video clips that explain different celestial concepts.
SkEye - Use this like a regular planetarium app, or, with some telescopes, you can use it in conjunction and have it guide your towards objects of interest.
SkySafari - Augmented-reality tools you can control with your voice. ("Find Jupiter!")
Star & Planet Finder - Instead of pointing your phone at the sky and having the app tell you what's there, you tell it what you want to see, and it'll tell you where to look. (The free version only comes with a few star/planet options; you can unlock more if you pay.)
GoSkyWatch Planetarium - Only for the iPad, but the bigger screen works for it: Touch anything you see, and a pop-up will display with more information.
ISS Detector Satellite Tracker - Keep track of the International Space Station; this app will ring an alarm when either the International Space Station or the Chinese space station Tiangong 2 are in view (you can see them with the naked eye)
Websites & Magazines -
Sky & Telescope - Lists monthly celestial events and astronomy news; sky charts are available online.
Astronomy - Sky event coverage, observing tips and great color photography
Astronomy Resources for Kids from AAA State of Play - Posted February 22, 2022, this long list includes a variety of resources, mostly interactive or project-based. Thanks to Logan for letting us know about this page!
EarthSky.org - "Daily updates on your cosmos and world"
NASA - Aimed at media, educators and students; featuring stunning photos and videos from Hubble, International Space Station, and other missions.
SkyMaps.com - "The Evening Sky Map is a 2-page monthly guide to the night sky suitable for all sky watchers including newcomers to Astronomy." Designed to print clearly on all printers.
Space Place - A feature of the NASA site, with a mission is "to inspire and enrich upper-elementary-aged kids' learning of space and Earth science online through fun games, hands-on activities, informative articles and engaging short videos."
SpaceWeather.com - News & Information about the Sun-Earth environment - cosmic rays, near-earth asteroids, sun spots, aurora borealis, etc.
Stellarium-web.org - "an online planetarium running in your web browser." Easy and interactive. Apps also available: Stellarium Mobile Sky Map ($3.49) and Stellarium Mobile PLUS - Star Map ($9.99) - augmented reality!
WorldWideTelescope.com - WorldWide Telescope project purpose: "to enable the seamless visualization and sharing of scientific data and stories from major telescopes, observatories, and institutions among students and researchers, through science museums and full-dome immersive planetariums, and in scholarly publications."
THANKS to the Aldrich Astronomical Society, Cornerstones of Science and Mathworks, Inc, for making the telescope lending program possible! Their goal is to foster scientific literacy, stimulate an interest in astronomy, and provide people who have never looked through a telescope the chance to experience the excitement that comes from discovery.
*Staff members authorized to lend the telescope: Kate, Bobbie, Lisa, Robin and Alyssa.