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New Life for the Galileoscope Educational Refractor Kit

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 09:33

This post is adapted from an International Astronomical Union announcement:

The Galileoscope was selected as a cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). Over the last decade, supported by several organisations, more than 250,000 Galileoscope kits have been sent to people in more than 110 countries. Teachers, students, and science enthusiasts worldwide have used them to engage with optics, telescopes, and astronomy. Through an agreement with Explore Scientific, the project will now continue, a decade after it was first introduced.

Galileoscope Refractor Kit

The Galileoscope is a high-quality telescope designed to be easy to assemble and use. It was developed by a team of astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators to make the wonders of the night sky more accessible. Galileoscopes have prompted people to consider the importance of astronomy, and for many, using one has been a life-changing experience.

Though originally planned to last only for the duration of IYA2009, when more than 100,000 kits were distributed, the Galileoscope was so popular that the science education and outreach community asked the project's organisers to continue producing it. The kits were sold for nine more years, within which time a second wave of interest was sparked by the 2015 International Year of Light.

By March 2018 the inventory of Galileoscopes was exhausted; the volunteers who managed the effort stopped taking orders and began to search for a company to take over the project. They found one: Explore Scientific, an Arkansas-based maker of optical instruments for outdoor sports and science enthusiasts. Explore Scientific has now assumed responsibility for the production and distribution of Galileoscopes.

The Galileoscope will now continue to give as many people as possible, especially in underserved communities around the world, a "wow" experience at the eyepiece of a telescope.

Crystal M. Tinch
Communications & Engagement Coordinator
American Astronomical Society (AAS)
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