I am looking for a design of a cheap and easy telescope to build with my 9yo daughter with the only basic requirement being that I'd love to be able to see detail on the moon. Looking around, there seems to be a wide variety of either extremely simple or very advanced (to me) options. I've seen this post and this post, but they look a bit advanced. I am hoping for something as basic as possible (i.e. that we can construct in an afternoon or two) that does not come from a kit. This site has an option, but I imagine that's simply unpractical. Is there anything else that anyone would recommend to get started?

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    $\begingroup$ What's unpractical about the NY metro parents scope? I think that's your best first option. Also: you really want to build a scope? The Galileo scope has a great value for money and you can spend your time observing instead of building. The design is so transparent that you learn how the design works while using it. $\endgroup$
    – agtoever
    Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't think that pairing two magnifying glass lenses together would do much of anything, so if it does, that's great! $\endgroup$
    – rougon
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ I think it will fit your purpose. Also see this more concise description. Good luck and have fun with this great project. $\endgroup$
    – agtoever
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, the "Great Refractors" of the 19th century, The 15" Harvard College Telescope, The 36" Lick Telescope, and the 40" Yerkes Refractor, to name a few, were (are!) essentially just two magnifying glass lenses in a tube. $\endgroup$
    – eshaya
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ You've seen my answers already. I still think the Galileoscope is a great idea - my kids at 8 at 11 yr built it in less than 1 hour. It's great for the price, just google a simple cardboard mount for it (doesn't work hand-held). Otherwise, get some binoculars - it's enough to show you craters on the Moon and some of the big nebulae such as Orion. Binoculars are very good for astronomy, and very much ignored, sadly. 3rd option, Celestron FirstScope or FunScope TableTop Reflector, or any other simple scope like this - no assembly required. Stay away from things with long spindly tripod legs. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


There are many refractors/reflectors that can be obtained ready made and be more useful as the interest develops You would be wise to get the largest objective you can afford,although an interesting project kit it is minimal in aperture(ref: Galscope)


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