I've been looking to get into some astronomy of late and this post may be of interest to anyone in that same mood. Or, for those who are looking for a good gift for a budding astronomer.
Today I received two Galileoscopes
in the mail. They are low cost telescopes that seem perfect for amateur astronomers. Here is the product description from their site.
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. As of August 10, 2009, the kit is priced at U.S. $20 each plus shipping for 1 to 99 units, or U.S. $15 each plus shipping for 100 units or more (see below).
My wife and I had been shopping for either good binoculars or a cheap telescope to help us get started in sky gazing. For a novice, it was very confusing and we weren't sure what we needed. I proposed some binoculars and attend a star party or two. Actually, a few websites recommended that to me, which I then passed along to the wife. But then I stumbled upon the Bad Astronomers blog post regarding these
Phil Plait also gave a favorable review here
. He summarizes thusly:
All in all the Galileoscope is a good piece of equipment. It’s not 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.
Well, that sold me and so I bought two. Unfortunately, the only thing in the sky tonight worth looking at was Jupiter, and without a tripod it was difficult to find and then keep the planet within view. I'm ordering a cheap tripod off of Amazon.com that is only $15 and somebody gave it a review based on their use of it with their, you guessed it, Galileoscope.
I'm pretty excited and I wanted to share this with you all at Think Atheist that maybe were thinking of dabbling into some astronomy. If you do order, however, be aware that shipping times can be long. I ordered mine in late September and just received it, so that wasn't too bad. However, I read where others who had ordered earlier waited much longer, mostly due to production not being able to keep up with demand. Also, the instructions that come with it for assembly are woefully lacking. You can go to their site, however, and find a more comprehensive guide.
And in case this came across too much like a sales pitch, I assure you, I will see no residuals or commissions....unfortunately.