Well, ater consecutive weekends of mostly rain here, the skies unexpectedly cleared today so my wife and I grabbed the newly assembled Galileoscope, headed up to our local mountain and, thanks to bringing along a pair of binoculars(!), finally got to see comet NEOWISE (yeah!). It was a good night for viewing; the Milky Way could be seen a bit with the naked eye, and with my little roof prism binoculars, my wife and I could both clearly (though barely) make out Jupiter’s moons and also a hint of Saturn’s rings, plus like I said, the star of the evening (so to speak), the comet. NEOWISE was dim, but I’m happy to report that my wife was able to make it out too, and for reference, she didn’t even understand the difference between a comet, an asteroid and a meteor until a few days ago when I started talking about the comet being around but fading and then suddenly ordered the Galileoscope.
Thank heavens (haha) I brought the binoculars along, since with the Galileoscope I struggled to even simply get the Moon in view and focused (my wife never even saw it). The fault lies heavily with the "mount" I had to employ, a little waist-high camera tripod we happened to have stowed uselessly in a closet. The tripod I ordered for the Galileoscope (a ‘Victiv T72’ seventy two inch max extension tripod capable of carrying 9 lbs.) isn’t here yet, but when the skies cleared today, I had to give the Galileoscope a try and that crappy little tripod was the only thing on hand. Couldn’t really get it to work, so after much much frustration and neck pain I ended up holding the Galileoscope by hand while propping my arms/elbows up against various objects. I did finally sight the moon and eventually managed to get it in focus. The view was clearly bigger and more detailed than with my little binocs, but it was so hard just to get the image on my pupil. I’m a beginner so maybe I’ll get better at that, but looking at the Moon with the binoculars was, despite the smaller size and less detail, a much better experience because I could just point the binoculars up at the Moon and...you know, see the Moon.
The field of view is so small with the Galileoscope, and with no effective tripod, I had a very, very hard time even getting the scope on the Moon, let alone getting it in focus. I should say that viewing the Moon did actually go relatively quickly when I tried it out during the day while resting the scope on top of the door of my car, but at night the gunsight-type sighting nibs were useless. I did paint them white per N-1’s advice above, but in the dark at the site we went to up on the mountain, the white paint didn’t help at all; just couldn’t really see ‘em.
Later, after retreating to the car. I managed to kind of wedge my arm against the windowsill and recline my seat back at a good angle and I was finally able to get Jupiter in view. It was a surprisingly (to me) large disk, yellow, with a hint of banding even. And the 4 moons were quite clear. I can’t really remember well what Jupiter looked like in the scope I had as a kid, but having used only small binoculars since then, once I finally got it in sight and focused (no easy task), the Galileoscope gave me the best view of Jupiter I can remember having. Saturn is of course right there pretty much next to Jupiter these days, but try as I might, I could never even get Saturn in the field of view. Disappointing for sure, especially considering it was right there, but maybe the [hopefully] better tripod that’s coming will help with that for next time.
Like I said, my wife failed to even get a clear view of the Moon. I don’t know how much she tried on Jupiter (she certainly didn’t see it), but to my surprise, after getting back home and sitting out on a lawn chair with the tripod kinda balanced on her legs, she reported getting Saturn in sight. But, like myself with Jupiter after we got back home, trying to push the focusing tube into focus led to losing the target. So she did briefly get Saturn in sight and I briefly got Jupiter in sight after we got back home, but neither of us were able to get our respective object in focus. A bit frustrating for sure (like I said though, I did manage to get Jupiter in pretty decent focus when up on the mountain — did it once again even, after trying [but failing] to see other targets).
Initial conclusions: this Galileoscope is gonna need some help to be useful for me, with the most obvious thing missing being a good suitable tripod (duh). Beyond that, a better sighting mechanism (like mounting a laser on it?) and a better eyepiece immediately come to mind. Then I can worry about stuff like flocking. I sure hope this Activ T72 tripod works out so I can start making some better progress with the whole Galileoscope thing. A bit frustrated tonight, but what can one expect without a decent tripod (answer: frustration, of course). The view of Jupiter I got did give me some hope, though
Edited by therealdmt, 26 July 2020 - 07:53 AM.