SPA Telescopes for Schools
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The phase of the Moon right now


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The schools' telescope
The SPA Schools' Telescope. Photos: Trilby Multimedia

PLEASE NOTE: The Telescopes for Schools have now ALL BEEN DISTRIBUTED and are in use.
To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009), the SPA arranged the distribution of 1000 telescopes to give to secondary schools to help inspire young people (aged between 11 and 14) with the wonders of the night sky. The funding for the telescopes was provided by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The telescope is a 70mm refractor, which comes with a tripod and several eyepieces. To help teachers take full advantage of the telescope, the SPA has provided a DVD (funded by the Royal Astronomical Society) showing how to set up the telescope, use a star chart, interviews, and much more.

The SPA is organising Open Telescope evenings where members, astronomical societies and other groups with telescopes are encouraged to invite people to admire astronomical objects in the night sky 'up closer'.  

Objective lens
The telescope has a 70 mm
achromatic objective lens

About the telescope
The telescope is a 70 mm refractor with a focal length of 700 mm, and is produced by Phenix Optical Group of China. It is mounted on an AZ2 type altazimuth mount, and has a small finder telescope which you use to locate objects prior to observing them through the main instrument. It comes with two main eyepieces, giving magnifications of 35 and 60, with a third very high power eyepiece which is best suited to bright objects such as the Moon. There is a 'star diagonal', which makes it easier to observe objects high in the sky without having to crouch down.

The telescope, while quite basic, is of good optical quality. As it is on a lightweight altazimuth mounting, it can't be used for long-exposure photography, though it is possible with care to take photographs through the instrument or even, using an adapter (available from third-party sources), to attach a webcam and take video sequences of the Moon which you can display on a computer monitor.

What the telescope will show >

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Schools' telescope

The schools' telescope

What it will show

Telescope safety

What's Up Tonight?

Useful links

Help with Telescopes for Schools

DVD clips

spacerMaintained by SPA Webmaster: Last modified 16 October 2009
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