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Galileo Circular Illuminated Reticle Finder

Posted by Bill Webster   02/02/2006 03:45PM

The Raleigh Astronomy Club recently acquired two telescopes that will be used as loaner telescopes a Celestron 8” SCT and an 8” Oddessy dobsonian. Both of these telescopes lacked a decent finder. We discussed buying telrads for them but the cost of $40 each was more then we wanted to spend, so we looked into alternatives. A quick search of the web uncovered a new product on the market - the Galileo Circular Illuminated Reticle Finder.

The Galileo is sold by several astronomy vendors for less the $20. We bought two of them from Apogee Inc for $15.95 each. I know Apogee is not an Astromart vendor but no one on Astromart sells the Galileo, I checked twice!

The Galileo runs on 2 AA batteries which are included and has a base that is attached with peel off double sided tape. It projects 3 red circles on a glass plate just like a telrad. The reticle sizes are 2 degrees 1 degrees and ½ of a degree. The reticle brightness is adjustable and can be easily aligned with your telescope. The size is only 5” long by 4” high and it’s only 1.5” wide. This makes it much smaller then the telrad. The body is removable from the base for storage.

I installed the Galileo on our 8” dobsonian and tried it out. I first used a bungee cord to hold it in place temporally to find the best location. Then I made a couple of pencil marks and attached it using the peel off tape. The first thing you notice is the alignment process is a little different from a telrad. The telrad has three adjustment screws the Galileo only two, up and down and left and right. This is actually a little easier then the three screw process. The big difference between the Galileo and a telrad other than the size and price is the red reticles. The Galileo’s are thicker and smaller. This causes the user to use the dimmest possible setting. I know this is best for observing but these telescopes will be used by beginners getting their first solo use of a telescope. They will most likely turn the brightness to a higher setting then needed. This may cause some confusion to a beginner, but no matter what the brightness setting is the Galileo works exactly like a telrad. Once it’s aligned with the telescope you center the object in the middle circle and you’re done. I do wish the reticles were the same size and thickness as a telrad.

If all things were equal I would buy and use a telrad. But if you are looking for a zero power finder that works like a telrad for less then half the price and is a third of the size, the Galileo is a good choice.

Bill Webster
Wendell, NC