20 Maine libraries now have telescopes to loan

Posted July 31, 2012, at 4:34 p.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Cornerstones of Science, based in Brunswick, and its Maine library partners have announced a new program to introduce astronomy and the wonders of the night sky through hands-on telescope viewing.

Through a grant, Cornerstones of Science has provided telescopes that library patrons can check out, like one would a book, to take home and have their own stargazing experience with family and friends. The CoS Library Telescope Program is now in 20 public libraries throughout Maine, newly equipped with telescopes and resources for night sky viewing throughout the year.

Cornerstones of Science has partnered with Southern Maine Astronomers and Astronomical Society of Northern New England, amateur astronomy clubs whose members have volunteered to help launch the effort through hands-on training and ongoing support of the telescope program for the participating libraries.

Ron Thompson of the Southern Maine Astronomers is one of the volunteers in charge of the program. “My relationship with Cornerstones and the Library Telescope Program has been a very rewarding experience. Working with the libraries with their new, modified telescopes, has opened up new doors to help encourage others to learn the night sky and use a telescope to view some of the many wonders in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and our universe beyond,” he said. Thompson, along with other SMA volunteers, has helped to modify and maintain the telescopes, offer trainings and astronomy presentations and host special events such as star parties with the local libraries. More than 50 people attended a star party at Pittsfield library last week.

Library Telescope Partners in Maine are Camden Public Library, Casco Public Library, Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, D.A. Hurd Library in North Berwick, Falmouth Memorial Library, Graves Memorial Library in Kennebunkport, Hartland Public Library, Lewiston Public Library, Newport Cultural Center, Patten Free Library, Pittsfield Public Library, Portland Public Library, Prince Memorial Library in Cumberland, Raymond Village Library, Rockland Public Library, Shaw Public Library in Greenville, Skidompha Public Library in Damariscotta, Waterville Public Library, Windham Public Library and York Public Library.

For information, visit cornerstonesofscience.org or call 248-8975.

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