Missoula Public Library and the Western Montana Astronomy Association (WMAA) have partnered to provide a telescope for the public to check out from the library.
The Orion Starblast 4.5" Reflector on a dobsonian mount will be available for check out after its debut at "Meet the Orion Starblast Telescope" which takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23rd in the large meeting room at the library.
"MPL is a very progressive and innovative library, and I thought that having a checkout telescope would be a good fit," said Nick Wethington, a member of the WMAA who set up the telescope for the library. "All of the members were just as excited about the idea as the library was." The partnership is modeled after a similar effort between New Hampshire libraries and an astronomy organization.
Hands-on practice with the Starblast and other telescopes will take place at the event, with Nick and other members of the astronomy group answering questions and demonstrating telescope use. The group hopes that having the Orion Starblast available for check out at Missoula Public Library will increase public interest and awareness of astronomy. Both organizations have websites where more information can be found: www.MissoulaSky.org for the WMAA, and www.MissoulaPublicLibrary.org .