The Kid Peek Telescope
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As my kids started to get older, I wanted to share my enthusiasm for Astronomy. I set up my equipment and we enjoyed a couple of sessions, but I felt that they were really not enjoying it as much as I hoped. As I thought about it, I realized that my concern for my expensive equipment had me too often warning them to "be careful", and "don't touch that". I had them nervous and on edge.
I resolved to get them a scope that they could use "hands on" and one that I would not have to worry about so much. When I came across this 60mm f11 refractor at a local Goodwill for the grand total of $3.00, I knew that I had the start of the perfect kids scope.
This scope did not have a mount, diagonal, or eyepiece, but came with a very solid coating of dust and dirt. I took it home and began the process of disassembly and cleaning, comforted by the total at risk investment of just $3.00. I took apart the lens cell and gently soaked the elements in a luke warm bath of very soapy water, rinsed with distilled water and dried on edge. They cleaned up very nicely.
The tube was silver and quite scratched and scraped, so a new coat of paint was in order. Purple seemed like a very friendly kid color, so a little masking and a can of spray enamel from the hardware store and we have our Purple Scope.
The mount is fashioned after a plan from Astronomy Magazine January 1997 titled "How to Redeem a Department Store Telescope". I made a few modifications, but basically followed the plans. Click on any of the images above to read about some of the modifications and discoveries.
The results were exactly as I had hoped. After a short introduction, my 7 year old daughter is sighting things in and is very excited about sharing the view with her siblings 4 and 3 years, and Dad too.
The best reward of all is when they ask me "Can we get out OUR telescope tonight?"
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