Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh, wow.

I forgot how beautiful the moon could be through a telescope. I could have sat there for hours watching that amazing rock. The clouds rolled back in.

The Galileoscope works.


Galileoscope, a partial review.

I got the Galileoscope in the mail the other day, so here is the promised review, part 1. Unfortunately I can't do review part 2 until this persistent rain and cloud cover clears out.

It is surprisingly well made, for a $15 piece. As it comes in the box, everything is disassembled and it took about 20 minutes to put it all together. It would have been less time if I had used the PDF of the directions from the website, rather than the ones that came in the box. The PDF is much easier to follow, and from it I learned that I had assembled part of the eyepiece the wrong way, so I had to take it apart and re-do it. No big deal, really, but it did add to the assembly time. I hope that in future shipments, they send a printout of the better directions, since the ones shipped don't tell you anything more than the basic 25x setup, so nerd that I am I went on and tried to set it up in the 50x configuration without directions. Lesson obstinately not learned!

The front lens is a glass (of some sort) doublet, which I have learned is a mark of a real telescope, done to make sure all wavelengths of light come together in one imagen (reduced chromatic aberration, as the astro-folk say). This is no toy, despite the price. In the eyepieces (there are 3 different possible configurations) there are a bunch of little lenses that do lensey things, but I understand that the big front light gathering lens is the one to not be cheap with. From what I can tell, they weren't.

The 3 setups that I mentioned are 25x, 50x (with half the field of view) and a 17x right-side-up-view Galileo style lens. These are all accomplished with two eyepieces and a Barlow tube. All 3 modes can be changed in a less than a minute, making this a fairly flexible little 'scope. Everything from Jupiter's planets to the hot neighbor terrestrial viewing.

Terrestrial viewing is all that I have been able to do, with that darn overcast problem, and I gotta say, for that it works pretty good, mounted on a camera tripod. You just gotta use the Galileo 17x setup with the small field of view, or be ok with everything upside down and backwards. Don't try to follow aa bird in the sky with that. It's really hard, trust me.

So overall, it's more than I expected from a $15 scope and it hardly takes up any space. I'll let you know how it works at looking at space once this atmospheric nonsense calms down. Pictures, too, I swear.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Please stand by...

We are experiencing technical difficulties.

I know I owe all of you a review if the Galileoscope and I should be posting more often, but my poor old first gen. MacBook is having some major charging issues. I have a new charger on the way that should fix the problem, but until then, I have to fiddle with and jab the damn magsafe power coupler into the computer to get it to change and then even the slightest movement will uncouple the damn thing. It's rather annoying trying to deal with an uncharged battery and a finicky charger.

Preliminary G-scope review: The quality is good, and I have used it for land based observations. Pretty decent (though upside down and backwards). As for the heavens, it doesn't work at all when the skies are cloudy. Go figure.

More soon, I hope.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's been a nerdy week

Not only did I get the Galileoscope today, but yesterday, I had the pleasure of reading this post on the Small Things Considered blog.

I had wondered how Leeuwenhoek made his microscopes and had wanted to try making a replica, but I had no idea how he made his lenses. I figured there was grinding and polishing involved and all that junk, but no! Glass and fire will do it. Well, being a red-blooded nerd, I had to try it out, and it freaking works! In about 10 minutes I was looking at a greatly magnified eyelash follicle through a hole in stapled pieces of posterboard and index card. Freaking brilliant! Plus, I got to use a propane torch.

My next plan is to make one out of brass, as Leeuwenhoek did. Maybe I'll start with a Coke can first.

Make all the fun you want, but I have fun nerding out!

It's here!

It's here! The Galileoscope is here! Nerdgasm! Look:

I assembled it at work (no dog hair to get caught in the tube) after I had finished up for the day, but I didn't have a camera; so no pix of that, sorry. I was too excited to have it, and I couldn't wait a day.

It took about 20 minutes to assemble, but if I had the instructions from here (PDF), rather than the ones in the box, it would have been about 5-10. (What the hell are these two big O rings for? How do I set up the lenses in the second eyepiece?)

Now if only that damn Sun would go down...