Borrowing Guidelines

The Seattle Astronomical Society maintains a library of telescopes that may be checked out free of charge by members in good standing. If you are new to astronomy, this is an excellent way to learn how to use a telescope and to begin viewing the wonders of the night sky, without having to invest immediately in a telescope of your own.

Length of Loan

The length of a loan depends on the month the equipment is checked out:

  • November - February : 8 weeks
  • March - April : 6 weeks
  • May - August : 4 weeks
  • September - October : 6 weeks

How To Borrow

To borrow from the equipment library:

  1. Sign in as a Seattle Astronomical Society member
  2. Click on the Resources tab to see a list of equipment.
  3. Click on the “Details” link for the item you are interested in borrowing.
  4. Click on the “Borrow” link on the item detail page to borrow it.
  5. Click on the “Yes, I understand.” button to confirm your borrow request.

Overview of Process

The borrower will receive an automated email confirming his or her borrow request, and the borrower will be placed on the waiting list for the equipment. The Equipment Manager will contact the borrower when the equipment is available for check out. In most cases, an item of equipment is checked out in the order in which it is requested. However, the equipment manager may skip a member who is next in line if he or she has another piece of equipment checked out.

When specific equipment is not checked out, the borrower usually picks up that equipment from the location where the equipment manager stores that equipment. When an item of equipment is already checked out, the equipment manager may request that the equipment be transferred directly from the current borrower to the next. This direct transfer has worked well in the past as it eliminates the latency and overhead of routing the equipment through the equipment manager.

For the direct transfer of equipment, the returner and the borrower should work out a mutually acceptable time and place to do the transfer. The borrower usually picks up the equipment from the returner’s residence, if parking is readily available, or at a mutually convenient location. In the unlikely event that a transfer location cannot be agreed upon, the returner should return the equipment to the equipment manager, and the borrower will pick it up at a later date.

Each person should be considerate of the other person’s time and should be prompt in doing the equipment transfer. Members who repeatedly miss transfer appointments or do not respond to transfer emails may lose their privilege to borrow from the equipment library. The goal is to have specific equipment transferred within one week of the transfer request.

The borrower must fill out an equipment transfer form completely, i.e., the signature, date and contact information are required. The returner should email the completed form to equipment@seattleastro.org; equipment is considered checked out to the returner until the equipment manager receives the completed form. The returner should go through the equipment checklist carefully because members are responsible for the condition and the maintenance of the equipment they borrow. Returners should wipe off dirt, etc., from the tripod legs, containers, etc. before returning any equipment but should not clean the optics of the telescopes.