After several months of waiting, I finallly got my IYA 2009 Galileoscope which I ordered from the Galileoscope website. I’m soo happy!
There were some shipping problems, and it took longer than expected (they arrived about a month ago but I’ve been too busy to write up this post). Before anything else, I would like to thank the following for their enormous help.
Mr. Rick Fienberg, Galileoscope team member, for being kind enough to send me regular updates regarding the status of my order;
Ms. Amy Pekar, for taking charge of resending my order 😛 (They had to resend it 3x because the first 2 got lost somewhere and didn’t reach me.)
Nicole Obidos, for driving us to the Marikina Post Office 🙂 *clap clap*
The Marikina Post Office, for giving me 50% discount on the tax i have to pay for the parcel;
and to Andre Obidos, for serving as another recipient and helping me assemble the Galileoscope 🙂
The Galileoscope is a ‘cornerstone project’ of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). It is a high-quality, inexpensive telescope kit designed by a team of folks who wanted to make the night sky available to as wide an audience as possible, especially young people.
Peeking through a Galileoscope is like seeing the celestial wonders that Galileo first glimpsed 400 years ago, which still delight stargazers today, including lunar mountains and craters, Jupiter’s moons, the phases of Venus, Saturn’s rings and countless stars and deep-sky objects invisible to the naked eye. It incorporates features such as achromatic optics, stray-light rejection and a 1.25-inch focuser normally found only on more expensive telescopes.
It comes packed pretty well, and all the pieces were there. The 50-mm f/10 objective lens is an achromat made from two types of glass, and the 20-mm (25x) eyepiece employs two achromats — a total of four lenses — made from two types of plastic (this four-element configuration is similar to that of the popular Plössl eyepiece, a high-quality design rarely seen on any telescope eyepiece). The plastic in the tube is solid and fits together pretty well. However, I will say that the instructions are not terribly clear; I had to download the additional pictorial instructions from the website in order to better understand the whole assembly procedure.
Assembly took about twenty minutes. When it was done, I mounted it on a sturdy camera tripod that was available then.
I first looked on the bright planet Venus which I saw in its crescent phase.
An hour later after sunset, we point it on the waning gibbous moon and then to Jupiter. Through low power the planet is easily resolved as a disk, with its four largest moons. I could even just barely make out two or three of the cloud stripes on Jupiter.
(Photo details: Kodak EasyShare C813 6mm focal length F/2.7 lens aperture at ISO 80. Taken using afocal method. Second image was processed in Registax)
The higher-power eyepiece was almost impossible to use, which I actually expected — it’s hard enough in much more expensive telescopes. Higher power means smaller field of view, so finding objects is tough. Focusing is hard as well, since the target is hard to keep centered given that telescope has no adjustment knobs for easier navigation. Perhaps it would be better to find the best focus with both eyepieces and then mark the slider tubes with a white or silver marker that you can be seen in the dark. That way, one can pre-focus.
All in all the Galileoscope is a good piece of equipment. It’s not that hard to assemble, and if you have a tripod and some measure of patience it will allow you view large bright objects. You won’t go galaxy hopping with it, and the inverted view makes bird-spotting hard too. But it serves the purpose it was designed to do: get astronomy in the hands of people everywhere for a very low price. 😀
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