Rental Telescopes - Program Overview
By John E. Hoot (Program Director)
The Orange County Astronomers Telescope Loan Program is designed to allow members to try out telescopes before buying one of their own. All too often someone becomes interested in astronomy and without prior telescope experience buys one that is difficult to use or poorly made. The resulting difficulties dampen their enthusiasm and they lose interest in the astronomy. Our program seeks to prevent this problem by allowing you to find out what type of scope suits your interests before you buy one.
We try to maintain an inventory that includes good introductory level scopes and some more advanced scopes for those looking to move up to advanced viewing or astrophotography.
When taking over the program I have restructured the program to allow me to manage the program without having the inventory overwhelm me or the limited space I have available to store things. As a result we have changed the way the program is administered in several key ways. Firstly, the club’s scopes that are not on loan are now stored in a locker at:
South Coast Self Storage
3480 W Warner Ave
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Secondly, scopes are now checked in on one weekend every 3 months. This arrangement offers members more selection as the inventory turns at specific intervals. In the prior system, you were pretty limited in selection to whatever was recently returned.
I am looking forward to helping members find the type of scope that will give them many hours of pleasure under the stars and planets, in their yards, at outreach events, and star parties far afield.
Procedures and Rules
- Scopes are lent out for a periods of 6 months.
- Scopes may be return after only 3 months if you want to try something else , have purchased your own scope, or no long want to use it.
- At the end of the 6 months loan, you can request a 3 month extension so long as no one else has requested the scope.
- Some very large scopes may be borrowed for periods longer than 6 month by prior arrangement with the program director.
- Scopes in inventory (not on loan) and those whose loans are expiring will be advertised on the club web page, the pre-meeting slides, and in the Sirius Astronomer Newsletter. Additionally, current available inventory can be requested by sending the Director an email.
- Scopes listed on the Available Scope List can be reserved by sending the Director an email. The request should contain the desired scope’s inventory number, the member’s name, address, telephone number and email contact address.
- To request a scope you must be a member in good standing whose dues are paid up to date.
- To reserve some advanced telescopes it is required that you have been a member in good standing for one full year.
- You may only borrow one scope at a time.
- Reservation for scopes due to be returned cut off 7 calendar days before Scope Exchange Weekend.
- Scopes are reserved on a first come, first served basis. The timestamp on emails will be used to resolve all conflicts.
- Reservation request confirmations will be via email.
- If you request a scope that is already reserved, you will receive an email with a list of all the currently available scopes.
- Scopes whose loans are expiring should return their scopes and all accessories to the address listed in the email you receive from the Director between 12:00PM and 5:00PM the Saturday of Scope Exchange Weekend. If you cannot return the scope in that time window, contact the program director prior to that time to make alternate arrangements to return your scope.
- Reserved scopes can be picked up on Exchange Weekend Sunday at the address sent in your email reservation confirmation email between 12:00PM and 5:00PM.
- If your reserved scope has not been returned and is past due, we will make our best effort to email or phone you to let you know before 12:00PM exchange weekend Sunday.
- Members with scopes that are past due, will be charged a $10/month overdue fee for every month they are delinquent. This charge will need to be paid and the scope must be returned before your membership in the club may be renewed.
- Some scopes in the program are rent free, others have a $5/month rental fee. All rental fees must be paid in advance via check or cash, or at time of scope pickup.
- All scope borrower must provide proper identification and sign the club’s loan agreement at the time of scope pickup.
- I will accept telescope returns after any monthly meeting that I attend. Returnee's need to email me to assure I will be at that meeting. This is a convenience for members from north county, and an alternative for those who have scheduling conflicts on return Saturdaty.
- Some scopes will be loaned indefinitely to "active" outreach volunteers so they do not have to drag their personal equipment to events where they are subject to continual hard use. Volunteers who wish a loaner scope will need a recommendation from the outreach coordinator.