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If you're looking to buy a new model of telescope, but you want to try out the equipment first, try contacting your local astronomy club to see if they have a loaner program. For instance, the Los Angeles Astronomical Society has a well-known loaner program among local amateur astronomy enthusiasts and professional astronomers, which allows members to check out a model for their use and learn about the night sky. You can pay for a yearly membership and the education you receive from members and resources make it well worth the cost. If you don't live near Los Angeles, an excellent resource to check for a local astronomy club in your area is Sea & Sky's list of resources at www.seasky.org/links/skylink10.html.