Go Out:  Look Up!

A Guide to the Sky, Telescopes, and Telescope Programs

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Curie's Equipment

Scopes: an Orion Starblast 6i & a Celestron SkyProdigy 130

The Starblast (aka "Marie)

The Starblast 6i is a Newtonian reflector telescope with a 6-inch mirror.  Six inches is a large enough mirror to see faint objects such as galaxies and nebulas under dark skies. 

Detailed use instructions are here.

Under our bright San Diego skies, it performs respectably compared to larger scopes (the underlying secret is that under bright skies, faint objects are hard to see, even with large scopes).

It weighs about thirty pounds, but its size makes it somewhat cumbersome to carry.  We are awaiting a canvas carrying case and small dolly to get it from the library to your car (checkout will be by the parents from the library).

The scope is mounted on a Dobsonian base, which is very sturdy.

The mount is known as "mini-dob" or "tabletop dob."  The picture to the right shows a Curie student looking through the scope placed on the ground.  Placing the scope on a sturdy low table will make it easier for adults to look through.  It is better to kneel with the scope on the ground than to place the scope on a wobbly table.

The scope has no gears: you point and guide it by moving it with your hand.

A small finder scope allows you to aim the scope at a target you select by eye.


If you want to read the full Owner's Guide, click here for a PDF file

We'll include a custom User's Guide with the scope.  The online guide is here.

The Starblast 6i isn't particularly heavy, but it is large and awkward.

Celestron Sky Prodigy 130 (aka "Einstein")

Full instructions for the Sky Prodigy are here.

The Celestron Sky Prodigy series is a self-aligning "robotic" scope series.  Set it up, turn it On, it aligns itself.  Use the hand controller to select sky targets from a menu.  Off you go!

It is more complicated to setup and you have to learn how to use the hand controller menu, but once you do, the sky is yours!


See the Assembly Guide



Zoom Eyepiece

We have a zoom lens eyepiece on the scope which allows low-power centering of an object and then simply twisting the eyepiece to zoom in.  This eliminates the need to change eyepieces and lose sight of the target.  The zoom lens is 8mm-24mm, which provides a magnification range from 31x to 94x.

Transport Case and Dolly

We have a padded canvas case and a small dolly to transport it.  When placing it in your car, be sure to secure it, as sudden stops and quick turns could knock it over.


Planimeter - shows what constellations are visible at any time and date

Full Sky Map - The Orion DeepMap 600, which shows the location of 600 of the best deep sky objects)

Red light flashlight - so you can see the map and equipment without ruining your night vision

Lunar filter - screws into the bottom of the eyepiece so that a bright moon doesn't ruin your night vision (it's necessary for looking at any moon other than a crescent moon).

Questions or comments? Email:Jeff Martin