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On the occasion of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009), a special beginner's telescope - the GalileoScope - was developed by the organization responsible. This high-quality telescope was designed to be both extremely inexpensive and capable of immediately delivering successful results for those taking their first steps in the hobby of astronomy.
The GalileoScope is a lens telescope or refractor: a long tube with a large lens at the front end and a small lens at the back. This design goes back to the great Italian scientist Galileo Galilei - his telescopes were also refractors. However, with the GalilleoScope, some important improvements have been made to the 400-year old design. During Galileo's time, telescopes were still plagued with serious chromatic aberration - an optical aberration that occurred at the edge of bright astronomical objects. The GalileoScope has an achromatic objective lens: early in the 17th century, scientists found that the combination of pairs of lenses of different materials minimized chromatic aberration.
The telescope mostly consists of accurately manufactured ABS plastic parts (the main element of the objective lens is made of glass) that can be assembled within a few minutes, even by young children under the supervision of an adult. The eyepiece is also delivered in its component parts, so that its operation can be followed during assembly. The GalileoScope comes with a selection of useful accessories. These include a Barlow lens for doubling the magnification, accessories for fixing the telescope on different stands, a detailed instruction manual and a stand for storage. A special feature is the possibility of reconstructing the telescope's eyepiece to correspond to Galileo's original design which used a concave eyepiece lens, or to correspond to the design of his contemporary Kepler, who used a convex eyepiece lens and so produced a much wider field of view, although this was then mirror-reversed and upside down. The GalileoScope gives you the opportunity of seeing and comparing the results of both systems with your own eyes. The eyepiece comes in the common 1.25" format, which allows easy use of optional accessories.
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The Galileoscope is an educationally oriented optics kit for better understanding the first telescopic observations of 400 years ago. Using the diverging lens as an eyepiece gives the same observing properties and the same field of view as with the original instrument of Galileo Galilei. It achieves its goal of demonstrating the difficulty of observing, and thus how well the first observers could actually observe.
In Kepler mode with a converging lens as eyepiece, the observing properties become much more pleasant. In this configuration, the Galileoscope becomes a functioning telescope even by today's standards. The moons of Jupiter are just visible and, with a field of view of about 2 lunar diameters, it is no longer so difficult to successfully find the object you are searching for. The 1.25 inch standard connection allows [Ploessl eyepieces, to be used for achieving higher magnifications.
More information about Galileoscope can be found at: