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Comment My daughter's arrived last week (Score 2, Interesting) 63

I am an amateur astronomer and bought one of these for my 12-year-old daughter's birthday. I thought it would be a fun daddy-daughter project putting it together and that it would be a good first telescope for her. I got it before they raised the price recently, so mine was around $23 shipped.

Here is my honest review of the scope and my buying experience. It took about two months longer than they said for it to arrive and their communication was non-existent. I was billed but never got a shipping notification. The invoice said it would take 4-6 weeks for delivery. After 6 weeks had passed, I tried to contact them to find out what the status was.

They have a phone number and email address listed on the site you can use to contact them, but the phone is never answered and just goes to voicemail, which was full the two times I called it. My emails were never answered. They eventually put up some vague delay information on their website, and I did finally get the telescope 11 weeks after I ordered it.

It was a fun project putting the scope together. The instructions were not very good, but we printed off some more detailed instructions from their website and everything went smoothly. The optics are good quality. Much, much better than your standard cheap department store telescope. We took it out on the first night and got a pretty good view of Jupiter. Note that the scope does not come with a tripod. I knew that (it is clear on their website) and had a couple photo tripods ready to use it on.

There are two main downsides to the scope. The first is the focuser. If you have used a regular telescope, you know that they all come with rack-and-pinion focusers. With this scope, you slide the eyepiece tube in and out (like an old pirate-y telescope) to focus. It is very difficult to keep an object in view (like Jupiter) when you have to slide the tube in and out. There is a lot of friction, but there has to be or it will just slide out of focus. So focusing is an exercise in frustration. My daughter was unable to do it and I had a pretty hard time myself.

The second is that it cannot use a diagonal. There is not enough travel in the focuser to allow a diagonal. That means that you strain your neck trying to see objects higher in the sky.

Having laid that information out for you, I still think it is a good scope. I hope my daughter gets some use out of it. I think that with practice the focusing will get easier.

Comment Re:so true (Score 1) 772

don't get me started in the lack of arts, music and p.e.

Most of the musical education that a child will miss with the computer-based teaching can be supplied by watching TV and playing computer games.

For example, I became very familiar with many famous clasical works like Wagner's "Kill the Wabbit" by watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, and the "Autopilot Waltz" by Strauss from playing countless hours of Elite.

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