In December 2019, the ASB received a donation from the Southport Astronomical Society in the U.K. The generous donation was made to the society by SAS members John and Marjorie Barrow, and the ASB owes many thanks to them all. The donation consisted of a 5” Celestron SLT127 Maksutov Cassegrain astronomical telescope, including all the needed manuals, software and accessories. The logistics, shipping, duty and all else were arranged and paid for by Mr. Michael Dow, chairman of the SAS, Professor Mike Bode and Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hester of the ASB and Mr. Ian White. Thanks to all of them as well.
The telescope is awaiting the completion of a concrete viewing plinth on a specially selected spot at the Mokolodi Nature Reserve outside of Gaborone, where it can be used by the ASB for future activities. An agreement has been signed between the ASB and Mokolodi allowing for the telescope to remain safely stored at Mokolodi when not in use. As soon as the viewing site is ready, a brief training course will be organized to teach any interested members on the proper assembly, alignment and use of the instrument. All members will be notified in advance once a date has been decided.
After the telescope was received in Gaborone, society member Mr. Bill Tomlinson set up the instrument in Kanye for testing and captured some images of the moon as examples of what the scope is capable of. The lunar images were later posted on Facebook by Mr. Gihan Ilangakoon, ASB secretary, and were acknowledged by Celestron – the manufacturer of both the telescope and the camera that were used – requesting permission for their use on their company website. Two of the images can be seen below.