Free Instruction Sessions for our Telescope and Binocular Lending Program

SVO is participating in the 2021 Southwest Astronomy Festival with Two Star Parties in Kanab on Friday, September 10 and Saturday, September 11. Activities include Constellation Tours and Hands-On Training in how to use our Free Telescope and Tripod Mounted Binocular Kits . See information below. Save the dates. Hope to see you there!

Reserve your Telescope or Binocular kit for either session by filling in the required fields at the bottom of this page. Here’s some key information for the upcoming sessions…..

  • Two Star Parties: Sept. 10 and 11, 2021
  • Free Lessons in how to use our Telescope and Binocular Kits
  • Sessions begin on location approximately one-half hour after sunset at 8 PM
  • Friday, September 10, at the KCWCD Boat Ramp two miles south of Kanab (restrooms)
  • Saturday, September 11, at the BLM ‘Zion View Star Field’ off US 89, 10 miles north of Kanab (no facilities)
  • SVO will provide training on its Binocular and Telescope Kits to the first six families or individuals to sign up below for each event (total of 12 for the two events)
  • Youth 10 years and up may receive hands-on training when accompanied by parent
  • Best targets for celestial observation in the month of September will be provided
  • Night sky friendly outdoor lighting demonstration
  • Bring your own telescope or binoculars if you have them
  • Appropriate Covid 19 precautions will be taken and required of all participants. (masks and social distancing)

Telescope & Binocular Lending Program Goals:

Our program is made possible by a grant from the Utah Governors’ Office of Outdoor Recreation in cooperation with the Kane County Office of Tourism. SVO has designed the program to encourage and facilitate outdoor recreation by people of all ages and levels of experience, including children with parental guidance. By providing high quality astronomical equipment on loan (free of charge) with instructions for proper use, SVO enables Kane County residents to enjoy the night sky through direct observation of the planets, constellations and stars from the comfort of their home or other viewing locations they choose.

Standard Procedures during Covid:

  • SVO holds each kit for 3 days between loans
  • Safe delivery and pick-up are arranged by phone
  • Equipment hand-off takes place outdoors – please wear a mask
  • Support handled by phone or email

About our Astronomical Equipment Kits:

Kit A: The Celestron 15×70 binoculars with tripod

The Celestron SkyMaster 15×70 binoculars, with their wide objective aperture and high magnification power, provide rewarding views of the moon, planets and large star clusters, such as Pleiades and Hyades. Also viewable are smaller constellations, as well as the delightful patterns of stars scattered in the billions across the night sky. The parallelogram-style mount and tripod allows for two-eyed viewing in comfort without needing to hold the large binoculars steady.

Kit B: The StarBlast 4.5 inch Astronomical Telescope

The Starblast 4.5″ telescope is easy to use and robust. There is nothing to assemble. It has a wooden base, not the usual spindly tripod legs. The telescope is of manageable size, but has a relatively large optical tube. This means that the Moon and deep sky objects will show far more detail than once could be seen with the common beginner’s telescope. It also has a large field of view that allows the object to stay in the eyepiece longer.

Kit C: The StarBlast 6 inch Manual Astronomical Telescope

The Starblast 6″ is a capable, and simple point-and-view tabletop reflector telescope, popular among both beginners and seasoned astronomers thanks to its ease of use and versatile performance. The substantial 6″ aperture reflector optics reveal good detail on the planets and Moon, as well as bright deep-sky objects such as nebulas, galaxies, and star clusters

Borrowing the Equipment :

  • Patrons age 18 and older may borrow one of the above kits for a one week period, with an option to renew for another week if there is no hold on the equipment.
  • Surveys will be included with each equipment loan (and can also be downloaded) to report findings and share experiences.
  • A replacement or repair fee will be assessed for damage of the equipment or any of the accessories.
  • The SVO Equipment Loan Agreement form must be completed at time of borrowing. An SVO member will provide the form when delivering the equipment.
  • You can reserve an SVO astronomy kit by calling 435-644-3735, or by filling out the form below:





    Resources / FAQs:

    Once you have requested the kit and arrangements have been finalized, the equipment will be transferred at the agreed upon location by an SVO member.

    While your equipment is on loan,  free telephone support is available daily from noon to 7pm. 435-644-3735

    • Warning: Never look directly at the Sun through a telescope or binoculars – permanent eye damage will result. Do not point the instrument at the Sun, as parts will melt.
    • Planets and the moon are the easiest objects to find and view, there are usually some great time sensitive objects described in the SVO weekly Sky Report
    • The kit includes both a deep sky map and an observer’s guide to help you locate star clusters, nebulae and galaxies beyond the Milky Way
    • An interactive Astronomy app for your phone can be helpful, such as SkySafari or SkyView
    • You can also see what is in the night sky using this Interactive Star Chart

    A journal is a good way to keep track of what objects you have viewed over time. An observing log is included in your kit, and here are some ideas on astronomical note taking

    While some animals like bats and owls are known for having excellent night vision, humans have a decidedly poor ability to see in the dark. To get a better view through our telescopes, we need our eyes to “dark-adapt,” that is, the pupils need to open to their widest setting to let in the maximum amount of light. It can take 30 minutes to an hour for our eyes to completely open up for prime sky-viewing. Most artificial light, and especially the blue-tinted light emitted from smartphone screens and other devices, causes our pupils to immediately contract, destroying our night vision. The one exception to this is red light. The long wavelengths and low frequency of red light do not disturb our eyesight. (It’s the same reason film developers use red lights inside their darkrooms.) Whenever you’re out observing, take care to protect your own night vision and that of those around you. Avoid any white light sources until it’s time to clean up for the night!

    The StarBlast telescope can be transported in one piece.

    Cover the telescope tube and eyepiece with their caps, then turn the tube to horizontal. While standing with the vertical part of the base toward you, slide your  forearm between the tube and the base, then lift.

    The telescope can be transported in a vehicle by placing it on the seat with the vertical part of the base toward the back of the seat, then placing the lower part of the safety belt around the base and the upper part around the tube of the telescope.

    Astronomers must be patient; you must optimize your observing site and times, as well as your equipment. When you observe the Moon and the planets, and they appear as though water is running over them, you probably have bad ‘seeing’ because you are observing through turbulent air. Always observe objects as high in the sky as possible, not close to the horizon. Don’t observe immediately after sunset and avoid viewing across heat-radiating ground objects such as buildings and parking lots. Let your telescope come to temperature with the surrounding air, sometimes the shimmering is due to ‘tube currents’ within the telescope tube. Optimize all that you can then be patient because good ‘seeing’ comes and goes.

    Yes and no. Bright objects like the Moon, some planets and some star clusters will show colors and features just like photographs, but faint objects are more difficult. The eye is not sensitive enough to detect color at low light levels so even bright nebulae appear as shades of gray in small telescopes. Color films and digital images can be exposed long enough to collect light across the visible spectrum so photographs show colors that you don’t see visually.