Tuesday, November 3, 2009

$20 Telescope

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be an astronomer (or a spaceship pilot). While working at the Mississauga Public Library, I read every book available on astronomy. When I got to UCLA, somehow I ended up studying engineering and now I'm stuck behind a desk making financial slides.

Since I've always lived in urban areas (Taipei, Toronto, Los Angeles), I've never owned a telescope. There's usually so much light pollution that only the brightest objects can be seen. The only time I've seen the Milky Way was on a mission trip to a Navajo Indian Reservation on the border between New Mexico and Arizona. I'm actually not that good at spotting planets and stars; I was more interested in astrophysics. So far, I've only taken one astronomy class in college.

Mt. Palomar Observatory in San Diego County

Like all hobbies, you can spend a little bit of money or a lot of money. I've been checking out telescopes on and off for several years and it seems like you need to spend ~$500 for a decent beginner's scope. Some of the nicer refractors costing almost $10,000! Checking out a telescope review site, there was a review for a $20 telescope from Galileoscope. Surprisingly, it got a recommended rating. It's a project to make good quality telescopes available for everyone, kinda like the $100 laptop project. It's made of plastic and does not come with a tripod but for $20, it's supposedly pretty good.

I want to get one (or three) for Christmas but I think they're heavily backordered. :(


Anonymous said...

reminds me of that paper i wrote at UCLA. instead of writing about cosmology, i wrote "cosmetology". still got a B+ on it.

i would have given the author an F.

maybe it was something in my sub-conscious. i am more interested in cosmetology than cosmology

totochi said...

Yeah, it was that Italian guy... science and society or something. I think it was in Dodd Hall. The chairs were very comfortable... slept through that entire class.