The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

First Attempts at Using the Galileoscope

I am part of the team workin on the Galileoscope for the International Year of Astronomy.  The Galileoscope is a program to design and buld an inexpensive, high optical quality telescope similar in aperture to what Galileo used 400 years ago in his historic observations.  Simple no-tools assembly will be required so you can see the optics inside a small telescope.

We have produced several prototypes of the Galieoscope.  Last week I took one out and did a little imaging of the Moon.  I used a small webcam based camera called an Astrocam.  The Astrocam is basically the CCD chip of a Logitech Quickcam Express inserted into a 1.25″ eyepeiece barrel.  I strapped this onto the back of our prototype Galileoscope and mounted it on a binocular paralellogram mount.  The mount didn’t track the sky, so I just pointed it at the Moon and let the Moon drift across the field of view.  Here is what I got.

The Moon was nearly full so you don’t get a lot of good shadows on it that usually are present in the best Moon shots.

Now I dont’ claim to be a good astro imager…neither my camera or mount were that good.  I think the Moon looked better through the eyepiece than this shows. I was still happy to get this video to give a sample of what you can see with the Galileoscope.  It has been pretty cloudy the last several days in Tucson, but I will try to get out with it again soon and snap some more images and videos.

We are almost there on the design.  I will post updates as we make more progress!


December 18, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. […] The telescope has a 50mm achromat lens with a 20mm eyepiece yielding a magnification of 25x and a nice big 1.5 degree field of view.  A supplied 2x barlow lens can bump the magnification fo 50x.  As an added bonus, you can use the Barlow lens as an eyepiece to construct a true Galilean telescope and see what Galileo had to work with (Galileo used a diverging lens for his eyepiece which is not the ideal configuration…and you can see why!)  Or you can insert your own eyepiece as the holder accepts any standard 1.25″ eyepeice.  The included nut allows you to mount the telescope on any standard camera tripod.  I posted a previous blog entry on my attempts at imaging with a Galileoscope. […]

    Pingback by The Galileoscope is Coming! « The Half-Astrophysicist Blog | February 25, 2009 | Reply

  2. That’s so cool that you’re a part of the Galileoscope team! I just ordered mine and I’m so excited, I hope it comes quickly 🙂 I’ve never looked through a telescope at the stars before and I was so happy when I found out that there was such an affordable telescope coming out.

    Comment by linzeebinzee | May 30, 2009 | Reply

  3. I ordered (and received) 350 kits for the homeschoolers in my area. I’m getting all sorts of questions now about people not being able to see anything through their ‘scopes. I’m directing them to the website downloads, encouraging them to twist the focuser slowly in/out as they focus, and having them check the orientation of the lenses to make sure they have inserted them correctly. Any more tips I can pass along? Thanks!

    Comment by gpersons | July 12, 2009 | Reply

  4. By the way, I LOVE ours! I have 8″ and 10″ dobs, and my 9 year old daughter has never shown much interest in them. Since we’ve gotten the Galileoscope, she’s gone out on her own to use it during the day, as well as going out at night without any prompting to look at the moon. She doesn’t have any trouble focusing or finding things on her own.

    I looked at Jupiter two nights ago with the 25x and was excited to be able to clearly see it and 3 moons. I put in the Barlow and could see some color banding on Jupiter. Pretty terrific for a $14.00 telescope!

    Comment by gpersons | July 12, 2009 | Reply

  5. Did some imaging with the Galileoscope, now I am working on a kit and adapter for anyones digital camera, to image the moon and bright objects. Here are a few images:

    P.S. Great blog and keep up the good work

    Comment by eliasjordan | July 17, 2009 | Reply

    • Good to see some images coming in from it! Monsoon season has made it difficult for me to do much here. I look forward to seeing more.

      Comment by halfastro | July 17, 2009 | Reply

      • Thanks, Me and Zoeff: (Galileoscope Flickr addicts) have been trying to get some imaging done with the GS, but same thing public programs and school has gotten in my way.

        Comment by eliasjordan | August 8, 2009

  6. […] your Galileoscope. There are also some professional options. Rob Sparks from NOAO mentioned in his blog that he connected his Galilescope with a small webcam based camera called an Astrocam. I could not […]

    Pingback by Franck Marchis » Blog Archive » The Galileoscopes arrived - instructions and ideas for improvement | September 11, 2009 | Reply

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