Galileoscope FAQ

What is the Galileoscope?

The Galileoscope is...

  • An advanced educational telescope kit designed by a team of experts.
  • An educational program to accompany the kit.
  • A professional-development program for teachers.
  • A Cornerstone Project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, a worldwide effort in more than 135 countries, led by the U.S. Galileoscope team.

Why is the Galileoscope supplied as a kit?

Students experiment with lenses while building the telescope. This is a much more powerful learning experience than receiving a preassembled telescope. They learn many aspects of optics and even have a chance to construct two types of telescopes — a more modern type and one very similar to what Galileo used.

What can you see with the Galileoscope?

The best views are of the key objects that Galileo observed and that influenced his views on astronomy. The Galileoscope is optimized to provide high-quality views of...

  • Mountains and craters on the Moon, which revealed to Galileo that the Moon is a craggy world like Earth, not a smooth heavenly sphere.
  • Four moons circling Jupiter, which revealed to Galileo that there can be more than one center of motion in the universe, and that a planet can move through space without losing its satellites.
  • More stars in the Pleiades and Beehive star clusters than can be seen with the unaided eye, which revealed to Galileo that nature is filled with wonders never before imagined — literally more than meets the eye.
  • Saturn's rings, which perplexed Galileo because his telescope wasn't good enough to show them clearly. (In its 50-power configuration, the Galileoscope will reveal Saturn's rings in all their splendor.)
  • Venus going through a complete set of phases, like the Moon, which showed Galileo that Venus orbits the Sun, not the Earth.

So, can I use a star diagonal with the Galileoscope?

Probably not. The Galileoscope is designed for straight-through viewing. There's not enough "in focus" to permit the use of most star diagonals (we haven't tested them all, but we haven't found one yet that works). We recommend sitting in a chair with the Galileoscope on a tripod that can be extended to a height of at least 150 cm (60 inches). That way, observing celestial objects high in the sky will be comfortable even without a star diagonal.

Do you have better assembly instructions than the ones that come in the box?

Yes, we have a more comprehensive set of instructions, including more photos and illustrations — all in color — available for download as a PDF file. See our Downloads page.

How Can I Use the Galileoscope in the Classroom?

The Galileoscope can be used to teach astronomy and optics as well as for long term observing projects. See our Week Long Galileoscope Program and our Going Further sections.