Telescopes for Telethon

Having fun helping children with neuromuscular diseases

April 28 and 29, 2006

Telescopes for Telethon is about raising funds so that children with neuromuscular diseases can enjoy the stars like the rest of us.  It helps these children attend one of the summer camps sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

This year for the first time, Meade Instruments offered a second telescope.  The names of all individuals or organizations donating more than $100 dollars to Telescopes for Telethon were put into a drawing for the new telescope.  The drawing was open to all participants, including individual members of the club that won the other telescope for raising the most.  Donors have one chance per $100 donated.  Meade continues to offer a 10-inch SCT to the organization that raises the most funds.

This drawing is open to everyone except the winner of the original prize given to the organization who raises the most.  Congratulations to the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, who won a 10-inch Meade SCT with Autostar for raising more funds for Jerry’s kids than any other club.

This coming year will be the 9th for T4T, our program to raise funds to combat neuromuscular diseases and to send children afflicted with these illnesses to summer camp so that they, like we, can enjoy the night sky.  It costs about $550 to send one child for a week to camp, and there are camps in most states.   Our event in Tucson will take place on the night of April 28 and 29th, 2006. However, you can use any appropriate night for your star party.  A night near the first quarter Moon (when the Moon looks like the “D” for Dystrophy) is always good, because there is so much detail to see on the Moon at that time, though as you can see Tucson’s choice for 2006 is different.

Types of events you can set up:

  • An evening star party at a good urban observing site.  Besides raising funds from the public directly at a star party, you might try to do some work ahead of time sell telescope advertising time to local businesses.  Thus, Zubenelgenubi Car Sales could advertise with a poster on a specific telescope in exchange for a donation to MDA.

  • A daytime star party with the Sun as guest of honor.  Remember "safe Sun" rules though.  If you use projection, make sure that no one gets near the eyepiece.  And ensure that any filter you use is appropriate for the observer's eyes.

  • A public lecture, with the same idea for donations as the price of admission.

  • A private fundraiser star party, where the guests enjoy an evening of fun and observing.

  • Ask for local MDA chapter if your local Walmart will donate an evening for a few telescopes.  Don’t forget matching funds. 

At the end of your event,  send your cheque to your local MDA office.  But please let us know what you did, how much you raised, what worked, and what didn't.    Thank you.

Everyone deserves a look at the sky, even children with neuromuscular diseases. These children look through telescopes supplied by the Starizona astronomy store. 


On Friday and Saturday evenings, April 28 and 29, southern Arizona will be able to view a beautiful evening sky, including the glorious rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter—through telescopes as part of our Telescopes for Telethon fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.


The night before: Friday, April 28, 2006; 6-9 pm, at the Walmart stores in the Tucson area.

The big night: Saturday, April 29; 3-10 pm: As many as 50 telescopes at the University of Arizona Mall in front of the Flandrau Science Center.

We will be looking SAFELY at the Sun (through safe filter systems) on Saturday afternoon. After sunset, we will watch as the planets appear, then the fascinating double stars, and finally the great galactic star systems that will wisk us some 50 million years into the past. A tour of the heavens in one evening! Telescopes are provided by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, Starizona, SkyWorks, Stellar Vision, and the Flandrau Science Center.

To show off the night sky for Tucsonans, and at the same time raise funds for children with neuromuscular diseases. Specifically, we hope to raise funds so that children with any form of dystrophy can attend the MDA=s weeklong summer camp, so that they can enjoy nature, and the stars, like the rest of us. It costs about $600 to send one child for a week to camp.

John and Liz Kalas: