I got my Galileoscopes!

By Phil Plait | August 24, 2009 7:19 am

My Galileoscopes arrived in the mail!

Yay! 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). But still, very cool. I ordered three; one for my daughter and me, one to give away on the blog (coming soon), and one that was an anonymous gift to some place that could use a telescope to show kids the wonder of the skies.

It comes packed pretty well, and all the pieces were there. The lenses are glass — very nice! — and the plastic in the tube is solid and fits together pretty well. I will say that the instructions are not terribly clear; if you get a ‘scope, go to the Universe Awareness for Young Children site, which has language neutral instructions that make assembly a snap.

Once I opened that page, assembly took only a few minutes. When it was done, I mounted it on my sturdy tripod (I highly recommend using one) and took it outside for a spin.

Galileoscope setup

As expected, with the low power eyepiece it’s not too hard to use. The difficulty for beginners is that the telescope employs a lens, which means images are reversed and upside-down, so be prepared for that! It takes getting used to, but most folks do get the hang of it pretty quickly.

Star images are pretty crisp. That means the lenses are decent quality and aligned well. I tried for Saturn, but couldn’t see the rings. The planet is clearly a disk, but the rings are almost edge-on and difficult to discern. Plus, Saturn is about as far away as it can get right now, so it’s a poor target to choose. It was the only object up at twilight, though, which is why I tried.

Later, Jupiter rose above our treeline, and the good news is it gets higher every night for a while now. Through low power the planet is easily resolved as a disk, and the four big moons were a piece of cake to spot. I could even just barely make out two or three of the cloud stripes on Jupiter.

I found the higher-power eyepiece 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. I suggest finding the best focus with both eyepieces and then marking the slider tubes with a white or silver marker that you can see in the dark. That way you can pre-focus.

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.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, IYA

Comments (97)

  1. PaulW

    Agreed. I’ve been using the scope for some time. The x50 ‘lens’ is almost impossible to use. I have no problems using the x18 lens and the x25 lens takes a bit more time, but is doable.

    Thanks Phil for bring this up in your blog a few months ago. I’m very happy with this and just might get a bigger scope in the near future. My kids (ages 5 and 8 ) love it.

  2. I bought three of them: one for me, one for my 9yr old daughter, and one to give to her school when they reach their Astronomy unit later this year.

    I agree with Phil – it was easy to assemble. The hardest part was handling the small lens with my big adult fingers. The way it goes together is remarkably clever.

    Since mine came, I’ve not had a decent night to test it. Its given really nice views of birds down in the pasture, minimal chromatic aberration.

    For $15-$20 it is a steal!!!

  3. I have this one as well. I can’t use the smaller lenses, because they were damaged. To return them is too much of an effort though.

  4. WOW, thanks for the link to the better instructions. I felt like a dumb turd trying to figure things out.

  5. Hooray!! I ordered mine some time ago and can’t wait to get it…

  6. I got mine a month or so ago, and I carry it now in the back of my car at all times.

    I was surprised at how clear the moon was, and how crisp the shadows and peaks were, even in an extremely light-polluted area. I’d never seen those things with my own eyes before. Jupiter hasn’t been high enough in the sky for me to take a gander at yet (I live in a fairly hilly area) but I’m looking forward to it extremely.

    I’ve always been interested in astronomy, but had never taken the plunge. This scope has gotten me out on several nights, and I’m going to our local observatory (the Cincinnati Observatory – historically significant, if you’re interested look it up) this Thursday in what will probably be the first of many regular visits.

    So congratulations, Phil! You successfully got me to not only buy a telescope, but to go out and do astronomy stuff. I’m inspired and involved because of you.

    Thanks! :-)

  7. Jon D

    I just got mine recently as well! looks and feels nice and sturdy – havent had a good night out yet to test it properly, but the view was good during the day!

  8. I have already used my 2 at 2 public star parties. I rigged up a bracket to hold both on the end of a parallelogram mount with 1 set up in the Galileo configuration (17x) and the other in the Kepler version (25x). Views of the first quarter moon worked well to compare the fields of view. Using 2 made it much easier than swapping eyepieces, since the focus points are very different. The downloaded directions (2 versions) are a big help since the included directions are inadequate. I gave up on the Barlow configuration as I have better eyepieces if I really want more magnification.

    All in all, a great educational tool for celebrating Galileo’s aniversary!

  9. Got my Galileoscope about a month and a half ago — I love it. The 50X is difficult to use, but with a pair of binoculars and a steady tripod you’re in business. The first thing I saw was Jupiter and four point-like moons. Amazing for $15.

  10. rob

    i got mine a couple weeks ago. i ordered three. one for me. one i gave my dad, and the extra will be a future gift.

    i plan to first look at jupiter. i think it is the bright object in the east right now, ain’t it? i gotta look it up on a chart, or just point the scope at it and see!

  11. Cindy

    Got mine a month ago and haven’t really had a chance to use it because it’s been cloudy. Got nice views of the Moon when I looked. Haven’t had a chance to look at Jupiter yet.

    Saw one of the two remaining telescopes that Galileo built at the Franklin Institute yesterday. There was even a notation about the magnification in Galileo’s own handwriting on it. Way cool.

    If you live in the Philly area, go see the exhibit before it ends on Sept. 7th. While I wished they had more on Galileo’s achievements, they did have a nice part on telescopes and what was the current technology of the day in Galileo’s time.

  12. Darren

    I ordered mine on May 29th and still have not received it. I have inquired about order status a number of times via e-mail and phone, and received nothing except their standard auto-response. Has anyone else run into this? Were you able to solve it? If so, how? Thanks.

  13. Paul

    I got one from an astronomical gift shop a month or two ago. The BAs review is pretty spot on. I only tried it on jupiter and the moon, and both worked out pretty decently. The “barlow” was pretty useless for sky gazing, as the exit pupil is incredibly tiny. All in all, it’s not a great telescope for an amateur, but it’s pretty decent as a starter scope for a kid or for a disposable portable scope. I plan to put mine on a boat for both nautical (reading distant boat names) and astronomical purposes, and since it’s only $20 I won’t be too upset when it inevitably gets destroyed.

  14. I’ve had mine for over a month. The first thing I did was stick a 26mm Plossel eyepiece in it. It makes a world of difference. I also used it at a dark site this past weekend and was able to get some nice views of the Messier objects in Sagitarius. Not bad at all.

  15. Jody Alan

    I ordered two in March and still no delivery. They are trying to find out what happened but so far no luck. I have been really wanting to try these out.

  16. Last night I introduced my kids to the crescent Moon, up close and personal! The ‘scope’s initial test was Jupiter and the four moons, and it did very well. Unfortunately I’m in a very light-polluted area (Arlington VA just outside DC) so I’m looking forward to taking it out in the country, on camping trips etc.

    On that note, does anyone have any suggestions for carrying cases or bags? I want to keep the lenses clean and safe.

    For the person who ordered on May 29, it took several months for my Galileoscope to arrive (I think I ordered it before they started shipping any of them), so hang in there. Demand may have outstripped the ability to move them out the door.

  17. Scott Romanowski

    There is a better set of instructions, but not language-neutral, at
    https://www.galileoscope.org/gs/sites/galileoscope.org.gs/files/Galileoscope-Instructions-20090710rtf.pdf

    Note that the price has increased to $20.

  18. JoaoXP

    If only the shipping to Latin American didn’t cost $36.10 …

  19. PJE

    I used it last night to see the moons of Jupiter again. Pretty clear and crisp on both lenses.

    I do find focusing tough as the lens holder is in there pretty tight and doesn’t move easily.

    My huge problem with this is the insane cost of shipping it to Canada. I ordered 3 and ended up paying US$27 and then another “Fee” from fedex for CDN$16. This really annoyed me and to me was totally unnecessary and should have been included in the price rather than a surprise fee.

    Haven’t looked at the moon with it yet

    Oh, and I still have the two large rubber O-rings left over. They didn’t seem to be in the instructions anywhere. Any ideas?

    Pete

  20. I was lucky enough to have one earlier this year (I believe in April…I have connections!) and got a picture of Saturn. You can clearly see the rings even though they are almost edge on. http://halfastro.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/more-on-the-galileoscope/

    I took the picture with a cheap Hewlett Packard point and shoot digital camera from Best Buy that was a little under $100. There is a little chromatic aberration, but that is more from the camera lens than the Galileoscope. I mounted the camera on a second tripod, lined it up with the eyepiece, and took the picture using all automatic settings.

    Since I had one early, I got to peak at lots of objects that’ aren’t up right now. The Orion Nebuala, the Pleiades and the Beehive cluster were all nice through the Galileoscope. Between an insane travel schedule and the summer monsoons here, it has been difficult to get much observing in recently.

    There is a set of pictorial directions that are language neutral at http://unawe.org/joomla/images/materials/instruments/galileoscope.pdf

    There are people in other countries working on translations so check back to the Galileoscope website periodically if you are looking for a particular language.

  21. Pete,

    You need to download the instructions, especially the set linked in Scott Romanowski’s post. The larger o-rings go on the outside to help hold the halves together.

  22. Luiz Borges

    I wanted to buy one or two of these, but the shipment to Brazil is almost 40 dollars. The folks over there need to find a better shipment option. :(

  23. I got mine a few weeks ago but I’ve only had one chance to get out of the city and use it…I have to get a tripod for it as it’s hard to focus without one.

    I have no idea how to find things in the sky though…where would I find some good charts that would make it easy for me to locate things? I’m in central Canada.

  24. dbear

    can anyone recommend a good tripod to purchase.

  25. Yojimbo

    Hey cool! Thanks for the update, Phil. I was beginning to wonder. Hopefully mine will arrive any day.

  26. Dan

    Not all of the lenses are glass. The objective is, but at least some of the eyepiece/barlow lenses are plastic.

    I was planning to use mine for imaging, because it has a shorter focal length than my main telescope. But the tripod attachment is not very good: an ordinary hex nut buried quite deeply inside the plastic housing. You’d need an extra-long thread on the tripod to get more than a turn or so of purchase.

  27. Mike

    Yep, your review is spot on. I spent a couple nights just staring at Jupiter with the Galileoscope and loved it. I found that the low power lens was easy to use, the smaller lens by itself was almost impossible to use, and when you combine them into that 50x configuration, it was difficult but not impossible but in the end I preferred the wider FOV of the lower power lens by itself.

    Definitely worth the purchase price!

  28. Got 2 (with twins you need 2 of everything), along with 2 cheap tripods from woot! Saw the Moon and Jupiter nicely with 25x power. But what was really neat was when I manually adjusted the 2 scopes next to each other, and got a 3D binocular view of the Moon. It is really a ball!

    Now I want a more “permanent” binocular setup. I’d also like to know how to adapt a digital camera or iphone camera to the scope. I can’t seem get the camera in focus. Suggestions?

    Thanks.
    John

  29. Well, I guess I am the only here who hasn’t heard about these before. I made my own telescope about 10 years ago with a mail-order mirror, concrete form tube, and various bits and pieces the book I checked out from the library told me I’d need. It was not perfect, but since it was only for myself, I accepted the limitations. Now with 4 children, I had put off buying a “real” telescope until we could afford to do it right. (My wife wonders why I don’t want to pay $200 for the Meade at Costco…)

    But this? I’m in! Hopefully mine will arrive before the Winter constellations fade…

  30. dbear

    Hey you folks….help…does this look like it would work for just about anything?
    http://www.amazon.com/Sunpak-Platinum-Plus-Heavy-Duty-Tripod/dp/B000B4VJYQ/ref=reg_hu-wl_item-added

  31. Got mine about a month ago, but I have had some minor heakth problems and hazy skies. Maybe this weekend I will go out with my neice and see what we can see.

  32. 4. Doubting Foo Says: “WOW, thanks for the link to the better instructions. I felt like a dumb turd trying to figure things out.”

    All it takes is a mechanical engineering degree from Berkeley and 35 years field experience and you should have it assembled in less than a day.

    Seriously, the main instructions were OK, but I still can’t figure out all the different eyepiece configurations. I’ll have to check out the uprated ones others have linked to.

    - Jack

  33. 13. Paul Says: “I plan to put mine on a boat for both nautical (reading distant boat names) and astronomical purposes.”

    My hat’s off to you if you can use this to read boat names that are inverted, reversed and bouncing up and down. That’s the thing I’ve always wondered about pirate movies (or any story set in the 17th and 18th centuries) where you see the captain scanning the other ships with his “glass.” Shouldn’t the image be inverted and reversed?

    - Jack

  34. 19. PJE Says: “Oh, and I still have the two large rubber O-rings left over. They didn’t seem to be in the instructions anywhere. Any ideas?”

    If you find out, please let me know as well. I hate having parts left over and I spent half an hour going over the (not-too-detailed) exploded diagrams trying to figure it out. And for Wayne @ 23, I used the very large ones to hold the focusing tube together and form the drag bearing. The ones I had left over came in the small plastic bag with the even smaller O-rings that hold the eyepieces together. If the big ones are for the main tube, it’s hard to believe that you can use the wrong ones that are so grossly out of size and still have the thing work!

    I’ve looked over the improved instructions and it shows the large ones are indeed for holding the main tube together. The instructions that came with the ‘scope don’t mention this at all! I find it doubtful that the ones I have around the focusing tube will stretch far enough to go around the main tube (especially since you have to stretch them over the sights), or that the O-rings in question are actually for the focusing tube. O-rings aren’t like rubber bands. They don’t normally have the ability to stretch over 100% of their rest size without breaking. I’ll have to take things apart tonight and see what works.

    - Jack

  35. Paul

    I ordered two, then later ordered another one plus one for donation. I eventually received one. I suspect that this was the later order, and that the earlier order was lost. I tried e-mailing info@galileoscope.org, which seems to be the only online contact, and I called the listed number, but never got a response from either. I suppose I should send a paper mail as well, but is there any point?

  36. Moe

    I ordered mine on May 29 but I still haven’t received it. sigh…

  37. We bought 200 of these to give to kids from time to time at Palomar Observatory. It seems to be pretty popular! So much so, that we will soon be ordering more. :)

  38. Are you supposed to use the x18 lense by itself?

    When I tried it, the image’s diameter was like 4 times smaller than the whole view.

  39. SlyEcho

    I can’t believe I just ordered two of them! I just hope they don’t take months to arrive.

  40. mezzobuff

    I am still waiting for mine as well!

  41. BicycleRepairMan

    Ordered in mid-April, still no sign of it, it said on the site that the first 20000 had shipped and was “probably delivered” on august 7, and I was number 16000-ish. I really hope I’ll get them soon..

  42. billdorr

    Ordered two of them in March after you mentioned them the first time, order number in the 6800s, and I’m still waiting for them to arrive. While I think this Galileoscope project is a great idea, the endless waiting and seeming lack of customer support that is being reported from those that inquire about their order, kind of sucks the enthusiasm for it right out of me.

  43. Built mine the other day. My 6yo son was with me that night when we first found Jupiter and moons. He was really excited! That was through the 50x eyepiece, but I managed to line it up so everything stayed in view for about 15 seconds, which was just enough. I’m going to try the other eyepieces soon.

    I think it’s an excellent piece of kit, especially for the price – and was worth the wait. My son agrees :)

  44. @35. Jack Hagerty – “That’s the thing I’ve always wondered about pirate movies (or any story set in the 17th and 18th centuries) where you see the captain scanning the other ships with his “glass.” Shouldn’t the image be inverted and reversed?”

    Scopes can be lensed inside the tube to allow the image to be correct. I have a small 9x brass spyglass that works well for that sort of thing; the image is right way round and right side up.

    Most sailors wouldn’t be reading the name on the distant ship anyway, since it was almost always painted on the stern. First they’d be checking the rig to see the kind of vessel (ship, brig, snow, barque, etc) and wether or not it was rigged as a merchant, whaler, or man-o-war. Then they’d count the gun decks, and then the gun ports to see what they were up against. Sometimes this was enough to identify a specific ship to expert eyes.

    A First Rate 72 gun ship of the line is quite the different thing from a Sixth Rate 28 gun frigate. And while those two examples are extreme, the difference between a Second Rate 50 gun ship of the line vs an American 40 gun heavy frigate might not be so obvious.

    Interestingly, at least some of the scopes they used back in the day had split lenses would show two images of the distant ship. If the images converged, the ship was approaching, if they diverged, the ship was departing.

    Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled astronomy news.

  45. Rob P.

    I used mine at VA beach to see Jupiter and three moons. I used a lightweight tripod that didn’t do too well when the wind was high, but was fine when it was still. My kids were insufficiently impressed, but my brother in law thought it was pretty cool.

    Better yet, in the morning, I was able to watch a couple of C-17s drop 5 boats and a bunch of what I assume were SEALs into the ocean a fair distance off shore. The parachutes for the boats were huge and visible with the naked eye, but the men were only visible through the scope. Once you got used to the view of people falling up, it was pretty easy to track them into the water.

  46. I love mine – also still learning with the x50 but otherwise it is a great piece of kit.

  47. GA

    I got mine about 6 weeks ago after about a 3-month wait. I’m looking for a decent tripod, because it doesn’t sit well on the tripod I have. With the 50x, I need it to be really steady. Anyone have any recommendations for a good (and hopefully not too expensive!) tripod for telescopes?

    @hale_bopp (#20) My kids were thrilled to see the picture you posted. Did you simply place the camera next to the eyepiece and take that? If I use a DSLR, would I need to use any special settings (like setting the focus to infinity)?

  48. @dbear

    An ordinary old camera tripod will do for the Galileoscope. It has a standard tripod nut so it should screw in to any head.

    Having said that though I already have a fairly decent solid Manfrotto tripod with a video head.

  49. coolstar

    Got mine some time ago (we ordered a LARGE batch to give away). I think the quality is remarkable, for the price, and have been very impressed. I actually find the eye-relief with the barlow to be just fine, as I have no trouble using it with glasses.

  50. Alan

    I’ve had mine for a few weeks. The 18x and 25x are great.
    In the 50x I could use it for the moon, but I could not focus to resolve a star – the best I got was a disc about the size of Saturn, when it should be a point.
    It’s great for the price and much better than the department store one we gave my son for his birthday which cost twice the price.
    As shown above the Galileoscope website has better instructions for assembling the lenses.

  51. Kim

    25. LinzeeBinzee

    Stellarium software lets you put in most locations in the world to pull up charts. They can be real time or set to the future. You could even see what it in the sky for people in Europe, if you wanted.

    As for a tripod, check out your local camera store. Then you can see what kind of clamps and such for adjusting legs and the mount you prefer. I have a decent one I have used for a vid camera. I may have to see about a 2nd one to try to take pictures through the scope. I hadn’t thought about that.

    Even with freight the price should still be really good. I have some on order. One for my & my husband, one for my (almost) 10yr old niece and perhaps the other will go to my brother and his wife to use when they go out to the lake on weekends.

  52. CameronSS

    Mine is order #22,670, which apparently means it will arrive sometime in September. I should have just ordered it sooner, I spent too much time debating whether I really needed a second telescope, and another 2,670 orders sooner would have meant I could take it to the dark skies of Colorado mountains. Alas…

  53. Tobin Dax

    It was a wonderfully clear night out tonight, and I was discussing both Galileo and telescopes in my introductory astronomy night class. We went outside in the middle of class and looked at both Jupiter and the moon through a Galileoscope. This was in the middle of a well-lit parking lot, and both objects (plus the Galilean satellites) were nice and clear. This was the first time I’ve had a good opportunity to use the Galileoscope, and everything worked out wonderfully.

  54. 46. ZADL Says: “@Scopes can be lensed inside the tube to allow the image to be correct. I have a small 9x brass spyglass that works well for that sort of thing; the image is right way round and right side up.”

    Perfect! Someone here always seems to have the answer. Thanks!

    Not to hijack this thread with another non-astronomy topic, but is there a good reference for defining all of the sailing ship classifications, such as the examples you mentioned? It’s always seemed terminally confusing to me. When I was on the USS Constellation in Baltimore, they told us that during the 1850′s retrofit it was changed from a brig to a sloop-of-war by making the top deck continuous rather than a higher foredeck, lower main deck and a raised poop deck. It still was the same hull, the same number of masts, the same displacement (approximately), and the same armament. Why such a different designation?

    - Jack

  55. I too found the focusing to be tough. Which is why I built this:
    http://bespokeblog.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/galileoscope-modification-lego-focuser/

    Ben Keller

  56. Hendi

    Hi,

    the google doodle of today is celebrating 400th anniversary of galileos ‘scope.
    Nice, isnt it ?

  57. Thanks to everybody here today I was finally able to use the 50x properly and by golly I could see a couple of bands around Jupiter. I feel like a goose because I’ve been using the thing for a month and haven’t used it to its best.

    Frack it is good. I wanna bigger one… :(

  58. Ginger Yellow

    I was sorely tempted to buy one of these, but living in central London it seemed a bit pointless. The combination of extreme light pollution and near constant cloud cover isn’t great for observation.

  59. !AstralProjectile

    Hendi:
    WOOT!
    Yep!
    You took the words right out of my mouth.

  60. @ 56. Jack Hagerty – “Not to hijack this thread with another non-astronomy topic, but is there a good reference for defining all of the sailing ship classifications, such as the examples you mentioned?”

    It is confusing. I have dozens of books on the subject, and none of them are as one would say comprehensive.

    Most of the distinctions come from the number of masts combined with the types of sails. If you get the basic rigs it’s a good start.

    http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/descriptions/shipsrigging.htm

    After that it starts to get confusing. By rigging alone, sloops have only one mast and a fore-aft sail, but in Navies, a smaller vessel commanded by a junior captain, rather than a rated Post Captain could be called a sloop regardless of the rigging. The Constellation is an unusual case; the original ship was designated a frigate, and the rebuilt one is only partially constructed from the original. Despite her rigging and displacement, she was smaller than other frigates of her day. That coupled with the single gun-deck are what help rate her a sloop. It all starts to make sense after a while, but there’s a great deal of context that goes into it.

    If you really want to learn all you can about it, I might suggest reading Patrick O’Brian’s excellent Aubrey/Maturin series, and getting the dictionary and atlas companion books. They are informative as well as immensely entertaining! AND they reference astronomy from time to time!

    See? There’s a way to bring it back to astronomy. I believe they discuss a method of finding one’s latitude(?) by observing Jupiter’s moons… I have no idea how that would work though.

  61. Jack Hagerty @ 36,
    I also started with the larger o-rings on the focuser tube. I found the focuser tube very hard to slide in the main tube until I got the detailed instructions and realized my error. It made focusing much easier with the smaller o-rings. Yes, the large o-rings can be stretched over the sights without damage. The detailed instructions are right; unfortunately the ones supplied in the scope are misleading or ambiguous. I guess I can’t complain too much for a $15 telescope.

  62. I must correct my earlier post – you can find your longitude by observing the transit Jupiter’s moons and comparing it to known tables of when said transits would be visible in Greenwich. All you need is a reference, a watch, and a telescope.

    And here’s how (along with some history):

    http://www.lhs.berkeley.edu/pass/passv07/jupmoons.html

  63. Tom

    Wow, I’d never heard of this before. I’ve bought two, one for me and one as a present for my friend so I can show her some astronomical sights

  64. 49. GA. I have not done a lot of eyepiece projection using a DSLR. I tried it with my Digital Rebel but find that it is harder to line up well with the eyepiece, so I just use the less expensive point and shoot cameras.

  65. Yojimbo

    @38 & 43

    Yeah, I’m with you guys – ordered back in April and no sign yet. At this point they’ll almost have to arrive after the clouds return to Seattle

  66. coolstar

    I put together another one (hey, I need one of my very own too) with the good instructions from galileoscope.org to see how long it would take. Being moderately slow and careful it took 30 minutes (plus the usual 5 to figure out how to work the release on my tripod again). Really the only slightly tricky part is the tiny doublet diverging lens used in the Barlow. Get that right and the eye relief is good and magnification and field of view are very close to what you get with a 40 mm fl eyepiece on a typical backyard 8 inch (f/10) schmidt-cassegrain. Even with my glasses using the barlow is easy and has a field of view of 3/4 of a degree, 1.5x the diameter of the full moon. The main problem with any small scope for night time use is just that a good tripod is essential (and a good tripod and mount head is many times the price of this ‘scope, but there’s really no cure for that problem, so it’s definitely not a design flaw). I’ve been recommending pawn shops, attics, and basements…….Oh, to more closely duplicate what Galileo saw, use the galilean eyepiece AND stop the aperture down to about 1 inch.

  67. «bønez_brigade»

    As Hendi already mentioned at #58, forget not today’s anniversary.

  68. Looked at Jupiter last night for the first time. Wow! Four perfect moons, all in a line. Too awesome by far.

  69. Jim

    For 15 bucks, I can see Jupiter and 4 of its moons. My kids think it’s cool.

  70. coolstar

    Early evening on the night of Aug. 27 (for people in the Americas) will be another great night to check out your new Galileoscope. Moon is just past first quarter and Jupiter is getting pretty high, reasonably early. PLUS, all 4 Jovian moons will be in a nice classic line tomorrow night (unlike tonight with, I think, two transits and another moon hugging Jupiter closely, so that I could only find Callisto about 5.5 arc-minutes away).
    A couple of pretty obvious points: do the moon first as it’s gorgeous and is a wonderful practice target. So you can try out both the 25x eyepiece and that with the barlow for 50x to learn what the fov is and how hard it will be to find things. It helps, when finding Jupiter, to illuminate the gunsight with a penlight. Doesn’t matter what kind or how bright really as you’re not going to need your night vision for any targets with this ‘scope.

  71. 63. Wayne Says: “I also started with the larger o-rings on the focuser tube. I found the focuser tube very hard to slide in the main tube until I got the detailed instructions and realized my error. It made focusing much easier with the smaller o-rings. Yes, the large o-rings can be stretched over the sights without damage. The detailed instructions are right; unfortunately the ones supplied in the scope are misleading or ambiguous. I guess I can’t complain too much for a $15 telescope.”

    After a couple of days, I finally got around to confirming this. At least I don’t have any parts left over now!

    I agree that we can’t complain to much. It actually did work when using the wrong rings. I took it out again tonight and looked at the moon, Jupiter and Mizar. Still an amazing value.

    - Jack

  72. 62. ZADL Says: “See? There’s a way to bring it back to astronomy. I believe they discuss a method of finding one’s latitude(?) by observing Jupiter’s moons… I have no idea how that would work though.”

    Thanks for a most informative post. I’ll check out those references. It’s sort of embarrassing not having a better handle on naval jargon seeing as how my dad retired from the Navy as a full Commander.

    It’s actually your longitude that you find using Jupiter’s moons. Before John Harrison invented the chronometer there was no way to determine your longitude (east-west position) while at sea. It works like this: You can determine local noon by “shooting” the sun with a sextant and determining the point of highest elevation. If you also knew the time at your reference (which we still consider the meridian that runs through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England) you could subtract the two and determine how many hours, minutes and (if you’re lucky) seconds you are away from your reference. Knowing that the Earth rotates 360° in 24 hours, you can then calculate how many degrees, minutes and seconds you were around the globe from Greenwich.

    The problem is that, before Harrison, there was no way to keep the time in Greenwich with you on a ship. The only accurate clocks at the time were the pendulum type, and they don’t work on a rolling, pitching ship!

    Astronomy to the rescue! By the 17th century the orbits of Jupiter’s moons were known precisely enough to create tables of the eclipses as the moons passed around the planet. The times of the eclipses were stated, of course, in Greenwich time (called UT today). If you had a small telescope with you, then you set your clock to the time of the next eclipse then watched until the eclipse happened and started your clock. This was good to better than one minute in accuracy meaning that you could determine your longitude to better than one degree. This really only worked when you were on land, since the eclipse observations were done at night (and you’d need a really calm sea to be able to see them at all) and your clock probably wouldn’t remain accurate until the next day at noon.

    - Jack

  73. I got mine about three weeks ago and last night I was finally able to get the highest powered lens combo to work. After playing with the focus enough I was able to get some amazing views of Jupiter, and was able to see the cloud rings very clearly. You have to be patient with the highest power lense to get it to focus accurately, but if you are the results are simply stunning.

    I can’t believe that you can get this type of quality viewing with a $20 telescope. Three cheers for the Galileoscope team!

  74. John S

    Ordered one back in April and still has not arrived. Repeated attempts to contact company have left me frustrated and disappointed. Received an e-mail after leaving several voice messages saying someone would check about order. Almost 3 weeks later, still no response and now voice mail box is always full and can’t leave message. Finally, wrote a letter cancelling order and requesting refund. Hope others have had better luck.

  75. I ordered two back in February, and I’ve gotten two email responses to my plaintive pleas for information as to their whereabouts. I’m to the point of now just hoping that they arrive before the end of the IYA. *sigh*

  76. G Williams

    So, my finger was poised over the ‘submit comment’ button on a post about how I had been waiting for my Galileoscope since May, when a knock at the door announced a very welcome delivery!
    I haven’t even opened it yet, can’t wait to try it out tonight though.

    I hope everyone who is still waiting get’s theirs shortly.

  77. Yojimbo

    Wow!!! Just got mine (ordered in April). They are VERY cool – better than expected and worth the wait!

  78. G Williams

    quick review now that I’ve had a chance to use it:

    Very nice! However, the tripod I thought I had turned out to be more of a ‘quantum-Schrodinger’ tripod that only exists when nobody needs it (my family seems to collect these kinds of things, we had a camcorder for years that never managed to record anything because it was never findable when there were things to be recorded, and we have several books that we can never find when anyone wants to borrow them, our keys and remotes are also seemingly unconnected with reality, though I understand that is more common)
    So I was only able to use it until my arms gave out, during that time though I was able to get a nice, clear view of the moon for about a minute, and several brief glimpses of Jupiter (more by accident than any serious intent) with the 25x eyepiece. I fiddled with the 50x eyepiece briefly and caught a streak of what I believe was Jupiter, but only ever managed to catch an edge of the moon.
    with the 25x eyepiece, I was able to get the hang of focusing pretty quickly, though I never had anything in cross-hairs long enough with the 50x.

    I’ll get a Newtonian (or at least Einsteinian) tripod this weekend and hopefully get some better views.

    I can’t wait to play with it some more when I have a tripod.

  79. Got my Galileoscopes yesterday and put on together. I purposely mounted it on a very inexpensive tripod and used it on my backyard deck to replicate typical operating conditions.

    Using the 25x eyepiece with a nearly-full Moon I not only got nice views of it and Jupiter with the Galilean moons, but also NGC 457 and M31. I’m thinking they will look pretty darn good under a moonless sky.

    I’m suprised to hear people report so much trouble with the “barlow” eyepiece. It seems to work quite well for me and I had no trouble seeing a few cloud bands on Jupiter. Initially, I did have the lens elements backwards in the housing, which I cleared up when I went online and took a look at the “real” instructions. Once that was rectified I thought the scope operated quite well at 50x.

  80. Dave H

    Ordered one in late May. It still has not arrived. Made several calls and left voice messages none of which were returned. Emailed twice before getting any response, and that was an autoreply.

    I finally got a reply from someone apparently using their personal email address. She promised to check with shipping and get back to me. A week later, no news from her so I emailed her and received a reply consisting of the delivery update cut and pasted from the website.

    About the only reasons I haven’t cancelled the order is that they would probably take longer to credit my card than deliver the scope and the favorable reviews here.

    Edit added 12:35 PM (thanks for that freaure, BA) Here is Irony for you. I hit the submit button and the doorbell rang. It arrived!

  81. Wayne L.

    I ordered one a while ago and received it about 3 months later. I finally put it together yesterday and played with the coarse view finder during the day so I would be able to find objects at night. I used my camera tripod which worked very well. I used the Barlow configuration…it was a bit touchy but do-able. Last night was a nearly a full moon and viewing it was amazing. Jupiter was also visible. It was so neat. A nice clear image of Jupiter and it’s four moons! It was worth the price just for that!

    It’s going to be a lot of fun.

  82. JS

    For those that ordered in May, but have not yet received their scopes, it could be worse. I ordered in February, but am also still waiting. Everytime I enquire I get told it will be just a few more weeks, and then everytime delivery is postponed again

  83. My February order arrive on the fourth of September. I got to see the Galilean moons between breaks in the clouds, and my son and wife were quite impressed. Not sure if any of my nephews or nieces is loved enough to get the second scope, but we’ll see. :-)

  84. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for posting that link to Universe Awareness. I ordered my ‘Scope in June and just got it today (September 17th) and the directions were so frustrating I gave up. My husband said they might as well not have included them at all. But he used the site you linked to and had much better luck.
    Now, for clear skies and a rooftop!!

  85. Ferdush

    This is a Pain for long wait. Now, I am really worried after reading ordering comments. I ordered them this week and I have to fly within a month. It’s seems to me that I may not have it with me. Pathetic…..!!!
    - Ferdush

  86. aniodchai

    It seems, that I’m a lucky one. I wait “only” from July 31.

  87. kirby

    ahhhhh! guys i ordered mine at august! i want it now! i’m from singapore and the orions belt is visible from here now!!!! ahhhh!!!! i’m missing so much fun and action with my future telescope.

  88. DISAPPOINTED

    I ordered one for my husband, 6 weeks before christmas. We were disappointed.

    I’ve emailed them several times, no response. I’ve threatened to start forwarding my email to the magazines they’ve advertised in.

    They’re making “humorous” comments on their updates page now about how they are putting up their prices.

    I think I’ve been scammed. I don’t care if they aren’t “salesmen” – THEY TOOK THE MONEY FROM MY ACCOUNT QUICKLY AND EASILY ENOUGH!!!!

    Very cross about this and I WILL be pursuing them.

  89. DISAPPOINTED

    It’s like they want different rules to apply to them, just because they are ‘scientists’…. well I’m sorry, but out here in the real world, when you take people’s money, you must supply the goods!!

  90. Cindy

    Just used ours outside for the first good night. The Seven Sisters, the Orion Nebula, Saturn and the edge of the rings. Awesome buy, just had to wait through the backorder from being so popular. We used my camera tripod, and switched between 2 scopes, one with each eyepiece.

  91. I’m interested in finding out if any Galileoscope owners would be interested in a diagonal to use with it? The designer of the scope is considering making one if there is any interest. I think it would be great. What do you think?

  92. Carol

    Got my Galileoscope in less than a month. I bought it by the end of November and it arrived just in time for Christmas. By the way, I live in Brazil so, if anyone here is willing to buy it but is afraid of the taxes and so, just don’t. It came tax free. Now, I need to wait for my tripod and for the rain to stop…

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