Flintstone Stargazing

September 23, 2009

Trying out my Galileoscope

Filed under: astronomy, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 7:16 pm

Last night I had a chance (in between the clouds which have covered the sky for weeks) to try out my $20 Galileoscope. The Galileoscope is a project of the Internation Year of Astronomy. It’s a simple scope that duplicates Galileo’s telescope capabilities so people can cheaply experience a part of what Galileo experienced. The scope is made of plastic, but seems pretty sturdy and after assembly (which is pretty easy) it’s reasonably easy to use. They can be purchased here. Note that it took over 3 months for me to get mine, so be prepared for a wait if you decide to order one. (I’d also recommend this not be your first scope just because I could see it being very frustrating for a first time user since you really can’t see much with it.)

I attached it to my camera tripod and pointed it at the crescent moon. The Moon was crisp and clear once I focused the thing, which is somewhat difficult to do precisely (what do you expect for $20?). I was able to easily make out a number of craters and could easily see that the moon was not smooth, just as Galileo did. Next, I pointed it at Jupiter and all four Galilean satellites presented themselves on one side of the planet. I could just make out two cloudbands on Jupiter itself, which I’m fairly certain would not have been visible in Galileo’s actual scope. The scope itself is probably quite a bit better than the original it’s based upon. Finally, I pointed the scope at M13, the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules. While I could not make out the individual stars, the shape of the cluster was clearly visible.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this scope and hope to figure out a way to mount it on my LXD75 so that I can do some imaging through it. It’s not very powerful or amazing and has plenty of flaws, but that’s kind of the point – to see how Galileo saw.


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