Pre-Order Special Edition of IYL 2015 Galileoscope

The Galileoscope is a high-quality telescope kit created by astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators. Because it is produced and distributed by volunteers, it is available at low cost to support science education worldwide. With some 225,000 kits already in use by teachers and students in more than 100 countries, the Galileoscope has been designated an IYL 2015 IAU Cosmic Light cornerstone project, with the goal of distributing an additional 100,000 telescopes during 2015. Galileoscope is now accepting pre-orders for International Year of Light 2015 special-edition Galileoscopes, for delivery in May.

The Galileoscope telescope kit with its new IYL 2015 packaging. Credits: Rick Fienberg.
The Galileoscope telescope kit with its new IYL 2015 packaging. Credits: Rick Fienberg.

The Galileoscope, originally developed as a cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, solved a long-standing problem: the lack of an optically excellent but inexpensive telescope kit suitable for both optics education and celestial observation. In the process of assembling the kit, students explore fundamental optical concepts such as how lenses form images. Then, with their completed 50-mm (2-inch) diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor — which attaches to any standard photo tripod — they enjoy sharp views of lunar craters and mountains, Jupiter’s moons, Saturn’s rings, the phases of Venus, and other bright celestial objects. The kit is augmented with free, standards-based optics-education and observing activities, available in multiple languages. These well-tested activities can be used by classroom and after-school teachers as well as informal educators to provide a rigorous approach to teaching science and the process of science.

Since 2009 the Galileoscope has been featured in professional-development workshops for educators throughout the world. Among organizations routinely incorporating Galileoscopes into their teacher training are the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the Galileo Teacher Training Program. Galileoscope and NOAO have established a program of workshops for educators that can be carried out virtually anywhere, at nominal cost to the host institution.

Around 225,000 Galileoscopes have been distributed to teachers, students, and astronomy enthusiasts in more than 100 countries over the last six years. Nearly 25,000 Galileoscopes have been distributed through the Telescopes4Teachers program, through which individual and institutional donors contributed kits at little or no cost to classroom teachers or school administrators. Emphasizing both optics and astronomy, the Galileoscope supports three of IYL 2015’s main themes: Science of Light, Light Technology, and Light in Nature.

For IYL 2015, Galileoscope has expanded the Telescopes4Teachers donation program to attract corporate as well as individual and institutional sponsors to help us reach our goal of distributing another 100,000 Galileoscopes to teachers and schools worldwide. A Galileoscope sponsorship is a great way to support science education while also promoting an organization’s products and services. Please inform any potential sponsors with whom you may come in contact — scientific organizations, educational institutions, individuals, and corporations — about this opportunity.

Around 10,000 Galileoscope are currently in production for distribution on the United States of America. A 20,000 special-edition IYL 2015 Galileoscope kits are currently in production for worldwide distribution and will be ready for delivery starting in May.

Shouldn’t every student and teacher have access to a telescope and the celestial wonders it reveals, as well as the opportunity to explore the fascinating interplay of light and optics? We think so, and we know you do too. Please help us celebrate the International Year of Light by pre-ordering Galileoscopes today for use in your education and outreach programs and helping to find sponsors to underwrite the distribution of Galileoscopes to classrooms. Let there be Cosmic Light!

Galileoscope is accepting pre-orders via the Galileoscope website. A case of six Galileoscopes costs US $150 (US $25/kit) plus shipping.

For more information on Galileoscope sponsorships for IYL 2015, please contact (or refer potential supporters to) Doug Arion, president of Galileoscope, LLC, at and/or Rick Fienberg, vice-president, at

About IAU IYL 2015 Cosmic Light Programme


The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recognize the importance of light for astronomy and supports that technology in the achievement of greater energy efficiency, in particular by limiting energy waste, and in the reduction of light pollution, which is key to the preservation of dark skies. The IAU is therefore a supporter of the IYL 2015.

The IAU IYL 2015 Cosmic Light Programme Cornerstone Projects are: Cosmic Light Awareness, Light: Beyond the Bulb and Galileoscope.

For more information please visit the IAU website.

About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). 

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.


Doug Arion
Galileoscope, LCC

Rick Fienberg
Galileoscope, LCC

Sze-leung Cheung
International Astronomical Union

John Dudley
Steering Committee Chair
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015

Joe Niemela
Global Coordinator (IYL Secretariat)
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015