Galileoscopes and More

galileoscope logoThis year is not all about Darwin. There’s even more fun to be had. It is the International Year of Astronomy. It is 400 years since Galileo Galilei looked at the night sky using a telescope, and this is regarded by some as the birth of modern astronomy. There’ll be lots of celebratory events and discussions taking place under this banner, and of course it is a wonderful opportunity to highlight and kindle interest in Astronomy, so keep your eye out for lots of such events. The theme is “The Universe: Yours To Discover”, which I think is rather good, don’t you? See the official website of IYA2009 for more information. Here’s a BBC World service piece about it, in the form of an interview with Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees. (That same page has an audio visit to the Vatican’s Observatory, Castel Gandolfo (a facility previously mentioned on the blog here), which might be of interest.)

I wonder whether you’ve heard of the Galileoscope. It is one of the “cornerstone projects” of the IYA2009 project. I just heard a piece about it on the BBC World Service, and the site I pointed to says:

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 refractor you can see the celestial wonders that Galileo first glimpsed 400 years ago and that still delight stargazers today, including lunar craters, the phases of Venus, the moons of Jupiter, and Saturn’s rings.

There’s a bit more to be found here. Sounds exciting. It would certainly be fun to play with, and would make a great gift for yourself or a friend, I’d say. (Maybe a great gift -or set of gifts- for your local school too?)

Be sure to check out the You Are Galileo! project as well, which will be using these telescopes.

In “You are Galileo” project, you will use “You are Galileo” telescopes authorized by IYA 2009 project committee, or your home telescope, to observe celestial objects and from the results realize how the great discoveries of Galileo were achieved. After the observations are over we request you to report your findings and thoughts.

There’s more about it all to appear, I’m led to understand, so keep an eye out for more details, and spread the word.


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3 Responses to Galileoscopes and More

  1. David says:

    Hello Clifford,

    The Galileoscope sounds like a nice educational
    project. I hope the optics do not show too much chromatic aberration. I remember that the cheap refractor telescope that I got as a child had plenty of it and for many months I wondered why the photos taken by spacecraft of Venus and Jupiter did not show all the colours that I saw in my little telescope. A neighbor whom I asked thought it was because of a government conspiracy.

  2. Philip H. says:

    This looks really cool. I’ve signed up – hey, oceanographers can gaze at the stars too! And I’ll get a couple for my kids schools. We all should.

  3. Pingback: Go! Now! Get a Galileoscope! at Asymptotia