Galileoscope?

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MasterComposter

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Has anyone purchased or used the Galileoscope? Any opinions of this thing?

They are available at this website: https://www.galileoscope.org/gs/

Here is a picture:


Here is a descripotion:

The Galileoscope™: An IYA2009 Cornerstone Project
The Galileoscope™ is a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by a team of leading astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators. No matter where you live, with this easy-to-assemble, 50-mm (2-inch) diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor, you can see the celestial wonders that Galileo Galilei first glimpsed 400 years ago and that still delight stargazers today. These include lunar craters and mountains, four moons circling Jupiter, the phases of Venus, Saturn's rings, and countless stars invisible to the unaided eye. The Galileoscope costs just US$15 each plus shipping for 1 to 99 units, or US$12.50 each plus shipping for 100 or more.
I just ordered one for myself out of curiosity. I actualy have a decent telescope, and I ordered this thing to see how it works and for the fun of putting together the kit. I have some neices and nephews that might have some fun with something like this too.

I guess it is supposed to take 4-6 weeks to come, so in the meantime, I was wondering if anyone had any feedback on it.
 
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CalliArcale

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I ordered mine last spring and it finally arrived a couple of weeks ago. ;-) (I believe they are shipping much faster now that they've gotten through the backlog, though.) The quality is surprisingly good, considering it's all plastic (apart from one metal nut used for attachment to a tripod -- tripod is not included, but I used my camera tripod and that worked fine). It's very light, fairly rugged (but be very careful not to scratch the lenses; being plastic, they are soft). Definitely great value for the money -- you will certainly not find another scope this good for only $15. Also great for terrestrial viewing, though the image is inverted.
 
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matthewota

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The telescope is a great educational tool. It has such poor optics that it is similar to the poor quality optics that Galileo used on his telescopes. I have a feeling that was the objective of the designers, as well as keeping the price as low as possible. I am interested in the history of the development of telescopes, and it has always been amazing to me how well the historical astronomers did with their crude instruments.

I have no need for a Galileoscope for myself, as I would undoubtedly be disappointed at the views with it. I already own a 10 inch SCT and a 60mm apochromatic refractor.

But my hat is off to the folks that got the project going. It is a great program for the IYA.
 
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MasterComposter

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Mine hasn't arrived yet, but I went to help my friend set hers up and do a tutorial on how to focus, how to mount it, and how to aim it.

I was surprised at $15 that the optics were as good as they were. They are plastic lenses, but not like those truely horrible wavy plastic lenses you see on kids binoculars or cheap magnifying glasses. They weren't bad, and we got a satisfactorily sharp focus.

The focusing is kind of odd, because there is no focus wheel. You push in or pull out a tube that holds the eyepiece. There is a friction ring that holds it in place, and it helps if you twist the tube as you move it in or out. This means that focusing is kind of rough and wiggly, especially on a rickety mount, so doing a very fine focus is not easy.

We set up the scope on a camera tripod, and of course that is a bit of a wobbly setup. It tended to vibrate a lot and whenever you got it fixed on an object and turned the handle to lock the position, it tended to move a bit so that the object was no longer in view. Once we figured out how to overcome that though, it was pretty stable at 25x and worked fine.

Another technical issue is that the scope deos not have a star diagonal and does not have enough back focus to accept one, so anything high toward the zenith is a real neck-breaking contortionist experience to look at. Same deal as when you use regular binoculars on a tripod and want to look directly overhead.

Unfortunately, we were also using it in my friend's back yard, so there was a lot of light pollution and a lot of trees blocking most views. It meant there were not a lot of suitable objects for this kind of scope, and most were directly overhead, the most awkward angle when you don't have a diagonal. I think one of the best objects for this scope and a beginning observer will probably be the moon, so I plan to get back there and help my friend when we get into the first quarter in a week or so.

All in all, I think it is a great deal for $15. And I am looking forward to receiving my own and puttng it together. I think the experience of assembling it is going to be half the fun and more than half the educational experience. I've never built a telescope.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Part of the whole point of the Galileoscope (and why it only costs $15) was to show what a piece of crap it was compared to today's cheapest telescopes (which of course cost much more than $15!).
It's intention is to show how much he accomplished with such a weak instrument, and show us how much better off we are today. :)
 
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MasterComposter

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MeteorWayne":28kfdvg2 said:
Part of the whole point of the Galileoscope (and why it only costs $15) was to show what a piece of crap it was compared to today's cheapest telescopes (which of course cost much more than $15!).
It's intention is to show how much he accomplished with such a weak instrument, and show us how much better off we are today. :)
By this you mean Galileo's telescope was a piece of crap by our standards, right? Not that the point of the Galileoscope program is to show that its own Galileoscope is a piece of crap, I hope! I'm sure this scope is actually far better than the one Galileo himself had. He really did accomplish very much with very little, and that is a great lesson.

As for whether this scope iteslf is a piece of crap, well, yeah, it is, sort of. But at 15 bucks it is actually probably is roughly comparable to the junk they sell in department stores for ten times as much. So this crap is much less expensive crap than some other crap you can pay much more for. The one thing I would worry about is that if people are very disappointed with this scope, they might write off amateur astronomy. Many people pay $150 for a piece of junk and have that reaction. It might work for inspiring people, but it might also just be a cheaper way to turn them off, if they don't understand what they are buying.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Yes indeed, a piece of crap by today's standards. I thought that's what I said! :)

In today's world, a $150 scope is probably not much better and risks the same kind of disappointment. If you are going to buy a scope, don't bother unless you are going to spend $300 or so...otherwise, buy a good set of binocs.
 
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summoner

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As MW mentioned cheap is not good when it comes to optics. It's one area where you really get what you pay for. My hunting rifle has a Zeiss scope on it and it cost nearly $500, now extrapolate that out to telescope power. That's not to say that you have to have the very best to get good quality, but the more you spend the better your results.
 
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CalliArcale

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I find the Galileoscope mostly good for educational purposes and for ground observation (though everything is upside down). It is damn good for $15. But ya gotta admit, for $15 the expectations aren't exactly stellar. (Ha.) It's good value, and here's the really good part:

It's designed to be completely dismantled repeatedly.

The reason this is good is because a classroom can use it to teach the students the basics of optics. And that's cool. ;-) You'll want a good light-bucket for actually showing them the sky, but this is one you can take apart without fretting that you're going to blow a $600 investment for a freakin' optics demonstration.
 
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crazyeddie

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Speaking of Galileo's telescope:


Galileo's telescope reaches 400th anniversary
It is 400 years since Galileo Galilei demonstrated his telescope, which would lead him to make new astronomical observations

While many people have been loudly celebrating this year's double commemoration of 200 years since Charles Darwin's birth and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species, another scientific anniversary has crept up relatively quietly, marking an event which arguably changed human thought and the way we see ourselves even more irrevocably.

Exactly 400 years ago today, on 25 August 1609, the Italian astronomer and philosopher Galilei Galileo showed Venetian merchants his new creation, a telescope – the instrument that was to bring him both scientific immortality and, more immediately, a whole lot of trouble.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/ ... nniversary

 
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DanielleLeoScienceLab

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I'm interested in finding out if any Galileoscope owners would be interested in a diagonal for it? The designer of the scope is considering making one if there is any interest. Let me know!
 
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SpaceTas

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Sky and Telescope also had good things to say about the Galileoscope in their review of low cost telescopes. A fuller review was not done because it does not come with a mount.

The mount is a very important part of a telescope. A wobbly, hard to point (unable to stay pointed) ... mount makes good optics useless. So those buying a Galileoscope go for the best mount you can.
 
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MasterComposter

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DanielleLeoScienceLab":2kdyrymp said:
I'm interested in finding out if any Galileoscope owners would be interested in a diagonal for it? The designer of the scope is considering making one if there is any interest. Let me know!
I think there would be interest in a diagonal, especially it it were the same super low-cost kind of thing as the scope iteslf.
 
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