Wednesday, 15 July 2009


Well my Galileoscope arrived safe and sound. It came in the box as is and is pictured, for scale, next to some book I had lying around. For those out of the loop the Galileoscope is an initiative to create a low cost high quality kit to help promote the International Year of Astronomy. The Galileoscope is similar to Galileo's telescope... except it is plastic. Galileo's scope wasn't plastic. A scope can be picked up for a ridiculously low US$15 (AU$18) plus postage. Yes 15 bucks... I bought two.

Here's how it looks when you slip it out of the box. I hadn't read the fine print that mentioned something about being a "kit" and "easy to assemble" when I ordered it. D'oh.

The next step, assembly, is easy. You go to a Simon Singh lecture and you come home and, voila, your lovely better half has decided to put it together for you. She did struggle a bit with the instructions in the kit but if you click over to the Galileoscope downloads page here you can find better instructions (with pictures) in PDF form. We actually pulled it to bits again and reassembled it in a few minutes.

You can then pick it up and play pirates, aarrrghh, if you want to hand hold the thing and you can spy out stuff but it is like trying use a video camera when you're sprinting over an obstacle course. It works better if you pop it on a tripod. I'm using a fairly standard camera tripod with a video head. The telescope has a standard tripod nut mount thingy so it should fit any standard camera tripod.

First impression. Kewl. You focus by pulling the the tube with the eye piece in and out and that is a bit fiddly but it works. It was cloudy last night but I was able to point it between a slight gap in the clouds and I could see a star through the Galileoscope that I couldn't with the naked eye and that was pretty awesome. Can't wait for Moonrise, Saturnrise and Jupiterrise over the next few nights.


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