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  • Writer's pictureStephen Strum

A Donation Telescope Package

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

I recently put together a small, lightweight, low-cost telescope package that I donated to a silent auction fundraiser at my son's school. The total package was put together for about $250 and includes a 114mm Dobsonian telescope, a Celestron 8-24mm zoom lens, a Celestron Barlow lens, a bag to store gear, and a booklet I made up on how to use the telescope and what to observe at different times of the year.

I wanted something that could be easily moved around by a small child since the school is a Pre-K through 5th-grade elementary school, and so the telescope would likely end up in the hands of a child. While a refractor or SCT are great telescope choices, and my favorite two types of telescopes, they also require tripods and mounts which would either make the telescope package more expensive or would be of low quality and wobbly if I kept the price down. So, I went with a Dobsonian scope for this project.

I included a Celestron zoom lens since the included eyepieces weren't of great quality, and the Celestron zoom is surprisingly good for the price. The included barlow lens was threaded to the bottom of the zoom lens to boost the magnification by about 1.6x, which provides a nice magnification range for this scope.

I added some packing tape to the focuser drawtube, which sounds odd, but works really well to make the focuser more stable. I also included some velcro on the base of the unit in places for storing lens caps and the like (which also have velcro added) to help keep small items from getting lost when in use.

The telescope package contained the following. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through Amazon links.

· Zhumell 114mm telescope:

· A Celestron 8-24mm zoom eyepiece:

· Celestron barlow:

· A small storage bag mounted to the base unit:

· Two additional eyepieces, one 10mm and one 17mm in focal length (included with telescope)

· A red dot finder (included with telescope)

· An introduction to astronomy booklet (gathered from online material)

· Small red flashlight which preserves night vision

· Magnification reference card

· Compass

· Telescope manual

Modifications made to improve usability:

· Mirrors were properly aligned to improve the sharpness of views

· Celestron zoom lens was modified (by adding another set of lenses to the bottom of the eyepiece) to increase magnification across all settings

· Finderscope was aligned with telescope

· A slippery tape was added to focuser drawtube to improve performance

· A storage bag was mounted to the side of the base unit

· Velcro was added to the base to provide a storage area for eyepiece lens caps which are easily lost in the dark.

· A compass was mounted to the base unit

· A magnification reference card was made for the included eyepieces and mounted to base unit

· An introduction to astronomy reference book containing helpful hints, star charts, and other information was compiled in a binder.

You can watch a video about the telescope package I put together below.

NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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