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The Local Group of Deep Sky Observers is pleased to announce their next Sidewalk Astronomy event.

Weather permitting, on Saturday, November 17, 2018 starting at 5:45 p.m., and continuing until at least 10:00 p.m., we will set up our high-quality telescopes for public viewing at Riverview High School.

Located at 1 Ram Way in Sarasota, (just off Proctor Road, 0.8 miles east of US 41), the telescopes will be set up on the sidewalk just outside of the school's Planetarium/Science Center.


This will be the FINAL opportunity (until next September) to observe the spectacular ringed planet Saturn. The planets Mars, Uranus, and Neptune will also be visible as will the waxing gibbous moon. Other deep-sky wonders may also be viewed through the member's telescopes.

As always, Sidewalk Astronomy is free of charge and is open to people of all ages.
Equipment for Sale/Trade / Celestron NexStar 4 SE ***PRICE REDUCED!***
« Last post by Jonathan Sabin on October 21, 2018, 07:32:56 pm »
Passing along some information regarding a nearly-new Celestron NexStar 4 SE scope that's come available for sale.
As always, please contact the seller directly. (Photos of actual scope are attached.)

Asking price was $399   NOW JUST $299!

Anyone interested should contact the seller, Vicki Eckl at

Celestronís iconic ďorange tubeĒ design is updated with all the latest features to provide the best stargazing experience for beginners and experienced observers alike. 4-inch aperture provides excellent light-gathering ability at an affordable price. Youíll get impressive views of the Moon and planets, along with deep sky objects like the Orion Nebula, while retaining a compact form factor.

Fully automated GoTo mount with database of 40,000+ celestial objects automatically locates and tracks objects for you. SkyAlign technology gets your telescope aligned and ready to observe in minutes. Even if youíre unfamiliar with the night sky, you can easily align your telescope on any three bright objects.  Unique single fork arm design and sturdy steel tripod all break down into separate components for easy transport and quick assembly..Alignment Procedures:SkyAlign, Auto 2-Star Align, 1-Star Align, 2-Star Align, SolarSystem Align

Compact and Portable
The 4SE is ideal for weekend camping trips or excursions to dark sky sites. Its compact form factor is easy to transport and assemble just about anywhere.

Fully Automated GoTo Mount
Select from a database of more than 40,000 stars, galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, solar system objects, & more. Your NexStar SE locates them all with pinpoint accuracy & tracks them automatically

Fast Setup with SkyAlign
Celestronís proprietary SkyAlign procedure has you ready to observe in minutes. Center any three bright objects in the eyepiece and NexStar SE aligns to the night sky, ready   to locate thousands of stars, galaxies, and more.

Accessories Included
You receive a red dot StarPointer finderscope, 25mm Plossl eyepiece, visual back, and mirror star diagonal.
Maksutov-Cassegrain Optics

The 4" primary mirror is offers enough light gathering ability to see the best of the solar system & beyond: Saturnís rings, Jupiterís cloud bands, details on the Moon, & brighter deep sky objects.

Astroimaging Made Easy
Budding astroimagers can use the built-in wedge to polar align NexStar SE. Using simple, inexpensive adapters, connect your DSLR or astronomical camera & capture your own images of celestial objects!

Compatible with all Celestronís most popular accessories, including StarSense AutoAlign and SkyPortal WiFi Module, the NexStar SE can grow with you

 I don't normally get to call it a "go" 36 hours in advance, but the weather forecast for tomorrow night's Sidewalk Astronomy at Robinson Preserve is excellent.

If you haven't been to this new SA location, I can't say enough good things about it. The area devoted to our telescopes and other equipment is huge, there aren't any street or security lights nearby, and there's almost no waiting for objects to clear obstructions on the horizon--it's almost flat 360 degrees around.

Because of the weather and the great location, I anticipate pretty big crowds tomorrow, so if you're on the fence about coming with a telescope--PLEASE-- get off the fence and come on down! We can use every piece of equipment we can get out there!

You'll be glad you did!

BTW... I've mentioned this previously, but I'll say it again: If you've been to Robinson Preserve just to visit in the daytime and used the entrance at the very western end of 17th Avenue NW, THAT IS NOT THE ENTRANCE OR THE PART OF THE PRESERVE WHERE WE SET UP!

To get to the new site, turn west at the traffic light at the intersection of 75th Street NW and 9th Avenue NW. Drive 1.5 miles due west, and 100 yards past 99th Street NW, you'll see the entrance on your right.

Hope to see you tomorrow!!

Equipment for Sale/Trade / Meade 8" with tripod/equatorial wedge for sale
« Last post by Jonathan Sabin on October 07, 2018, 01:15:02 pm »

Here is an older, but very-well preserved Meade 8" SCT (model 2080) telescope complete with tripod, equatorial wedge, and accessories. (Photos attached)
According to the seller, it's only been used a handful of times since new.

He is asking $800 for everything...

Full Description...
Model 2080 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain. The optics were warranted for life by Meade.
Includes tripod, motor drive, equatorial wedge,
6x30 mm viewfinder (with lighted reticle),
Prism diagonal

MA 9mm
MA 25 mm
Televue 40mm (Plossl)
Televue 2.5x (Barlow)

Original shipping box and hard-foam carrying case, plus a map-light metal carrying case and original instruction manual are also included


Bill Priesmeyer
(941) 812-8281
Equipment for Sale/Trade / Portable Projection Screen 60"
« Last post by Joan Mackiewicz on September 16, 2018, 01:54:09 pm »

Portable Pull-up Projection Screen Tripod 60-Inch Diagonal by Elite.

Viewing Size:  29.0"H x 50.0"W    Overall Size:  95.9"H x 53.0"W
Black case.

New, never used.

Currently sells for $95.99       Asking Price:  $70.00

Contact Joan Mackiewicz @ 941-497-2370 or email



It's not very often that I get to call a "go-no-go" by noon on the day of a scheduled Sidewalk Astronomy event, but my confidence for this evening being REALLY NICE, is pretty high!

The attached screenshot is from a weather tool I use. I've highlighted the "important" blocks in yellow, as that's when we'll be out at the Celery Fields...from a bit before 8:00 p.m. until around 11 or so.

The top row indicates the expected cloud cover. Dark blue squares are good. Light blue are so-so. And if they're white... forget it! But they're blue... so we're good!

The next row shows "transparency," and though I'd prefer to see dark blue squares, the ice-blue squares show that we'll probably have a hazy layer above us for most of the evening--but it's not going to ruin our observing.

The next row shows "seeing," and that refers to how steady the skies are. These range from mid-blue to dark blue, so we should be enjoying some pretty steady images!

See you all tonight!
Equipment for Sale/Trade / For sale: Telescope Glass Solar Filter
« Last post by Joan Mackiewicz on September 10, 2018, 02:26:13 pm »
For Sale:

Orion 6.58" Full Aperture Glass Telescope Solar Filter

This solar filter will block 99.99 percent of incoming light so you view the sun safely.  Product dimensions are 7x7x1.1 inches.  Will work with 130mm inside diameter telescopes.  Will work with the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST equatorial reflecting telescope as well as other telescopes with the same opening.

New, never used.  Currently sells for $129.99.   Asking Price:  $80.00

If interested, please call Joan Mackiewicz @ 941-497-2370.

Equipment for Sale/Trade / Televue TV60 with 1.25 inch Everbrite Diagonal
« Last post by Andy Pyatt on September 09, 2018, 12:07:27 pm »
Hi to all:  I am selling my Televue Tv60 on Cloudy Nights.  It includes the scope, the dielectric diagonal, a dovetail bar adaptor to mount scope on a larger mount, and an Olivion case that is not in great shape but has worked well for me on several trips.  I have all for sale on Cloudy nights for $600 but will sell to my LGDSO members/friends for $525.  Email me at or call at 941-320-4271 with any questions. 

Equipment Wanted / Looking for an inexpensive "starter scope."
« Last post by Jonathan Sabin on September 08, 2018, 11:44:23 am »
One of our Sidewalk Astronomy attendees is looking to "dip a toe into the water" and is interested in purchasing an inexpensive telescope.

If you happen to have a piece of equipment you're no longer using that would be fairly priced in the $200-$300 range, please contact him directly at the number below.

Don Huntsinger
941 567-7029
Sidewalk Astronomy at the Celery Fields
Monthly observing of the celestial wonders resumes on September 15th

I am pleased to announce the return of Sidewalk Astronomy following our annual summer hiatus!

Weather permitting, on Saturday, September 15, 2018 starting at 7:45 p.m., and continuing until at least 10:15 p.m., the Local Group of Deep Sky Observers will set up high-quality telescopes for your viewing pleasure in the parking lot at the southeastern corner of Sarasota's Celery Fields Park.

Home to the Sarasota Audubon Society, located at 6893 Palmer Boulevard, Sarasota, you'll find parking available in the large parking lot just west of the Nature Center building. Our telescopes will be set up in the smaller lot on the east side of the Nature Center. (Telescopes will NOT be set up at the top of the hill.)

Observing highlights during the evening include the spectacular ringed planet Saturn, as well as the planets Mars, Jupiter and Venus. The first quarter moon and other deep-sky wonders will also be viewed through our telescopes.

As always, Sidewalk Astronomy is free of charge and is open to all ages.
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