Just announced, the Society For Popular Astronomy has up to 1000 telescopes to give to qualifying UK schools, as part of their IYA2009 International Year of Astronomy celebrations.
The telescopes are 70mm, 700mm focal length (F10) refractors on easy-to-use, alt-azimuth mounts. They have been carefully selected for their decent optical quality and versatility, while being suitable for general school astronomy lessons.
What Could You See?
One of these telescopes should give great views of the Moon, with plenty of crater detail to study, plus exciting sights of the largest planets in our Solar System, Jupiter and Saturn.
The rings of Saturn and the belts of Jupiter’s surface, should be within reach on a clear night.
Even from our light-polluted cities, these telescopes will reveal star patterns, which can’t be seen with the naked eye. And in good seeing conditions, you may be able to see nebulae and even other galaxies, outside our own Milky Way.
How To Apply
There is a simple application process. Basically, any UK secondary school can write up to 500 words, saying what lessons the telescope would be used for, to be in with a chance of getting one.
The details and application form can be downloaded from the SPA Telescopes For Schools page.
To help teachers, they will also get a DVD showing how to set up the telescope and suggesting how it might be used in lessons. There will also be website pages, providing astronomy teaching ideas and assistance.
All applications from schools need to be received by 31 December 2008.
So, if you are a teacher, parent or student and think your school could make use of a telescope, download the application form now.