Its a terrible thing to get a telescope as a present and not know what to look at or indeed how to use it. Since I know quite a few people who got a galileoscope as a present, I thought it might be a good idea to give a few tips and pointers. So here are some simple things you should know.
Please note: The Galileoscope is NOT a solar telescope and should NEVER BE POINTED AT THE SUN!
1. Use the online assembly instructions from the web as they are better than the ones in the box. It can be quite tricky to get the eyepiece lens the right way around so pay careful attention to their orientation.
2. There are two eye pieces which can be assembled, the primary 2omm eye piece which gives 25x magnification and a “Barlow” eye piece which effectively doubles the magnification to a 50x magnification. It is very difficult to see objects using the barlow lens you have a very small line of sight, so my advice is to NOT use the Barlow lens. You might even find that you cannot see anything at all or think you assembled the eyepiece incorrectly. So skip step 22 in the instructions.
3. The way to focus the telescope is to slide the back of the telescope into or away from the body of the main telescope. Its not a very accurate process so if you are trying to focus, using the moon is a good method.
4. The telescope is designed for you to be able to use any standard 1.25″ eyepiece. Since I have one already, I replaced the galileoscop 20mm eyepiece with a 26mm eyepiece and it was much easier to see through. The image was clearer and more comfortable to see through. Price for a single eyepiece is about 30Euro.5. The telescope is equipped with a fitting to allow it to attach to a standard tripod. The heavier the tripod the better, but its more the height that you should be looking at. Since you are looking directly through the scope, anything high in the sky will require you to do a lot of bending down. Tripods are cheap starting at anything from 20Euro. Just keep in mind that while you connect to a nut in the telescope it is easy to rip off the telescope if you lean on one end. It happened within 20minutes of my 5year old son being near it. Easily repaired in my case. You can purchase a 90 degree “Erecting Prism” which will making viewing a little more comfortable. You should use something similar to the one below which slots into a 1.25″ slot. You can find them on amazon for approx 30Euro.
6. A Galileoscope is a refractor, this means that images are inverted, this is usually not a problem until you try to do two things. The first is trying to find something on the Moon. You must take into account that what you see through the telescope is an inversion of what you usually see with your own eyes, and what is shown on most maps. looking at the moon and find anything on it (your standard map is not inverted), and secondly when you try to figure out which of the moon of Jupiter is which. The view through the eyepiece is upside down and right and left are reversed.
7. Don’t forget that there are optics activities also posted on the galileoscope website which look like a bit of fun. There is a full page of downloads to explore.
I’ll start posting on things to see with your new telescope over the next few days. Just remember that there is lots of light pollution in cities, so while you may hear about seeing details in Orion, or possibly the polar caps of Mars, try to be realistic. The telescope in ideal situations may be able to do this, but you have to keep your expectations grounded depending on where you are viewing from. I live in a city, so until I head off to the countryside I won’t see a huge amount of nebula detail. The great thing is that the telescope is so small and light, you can take it anywhere! You can also take pictures of the moon using your telescope, but you need the right attachments. I’ll cover that topic when I find out where to get them and how easy they are to use.
I suggest you start by downloading stellarium a superb method for navigating your way around the sky. Here is an image of tonight’s sky, where you can see Mars, Saturn just rising, and the constellation of Orion.