Telescope Maker, Nonprofit Help Kids Reach the Stars

Photo via Pete Ashton on Flickr

In January, I wrote about a great California-based nonprofit, Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), that is working to bring the stars to everyone, especially children. This includes children in some of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the world.

When I last wrote about them, AWB was in the midst of working with the largest telescope maker, Celestron, on a cause-telescope that would benefit the nonprofit’s mission. Since then, Celestron has sourced a telescope for AWB and is warehousing and shipping the telescopes at no cost to the nonprofit.

You can now own a AWB Telescope for just $199. According to Mike Simmons, President of AWB, “A significant portion of the profits will benefit AWB.”

Mike went on to say that the telescope will do more than raise funds for the AWB. It will also raise awareness about the nonprofit’s mission and programs.

Here are two important things you should know about the telescope.

This isn’t a department store telescope. With a five inch mirror, you’ll see a lot with this telescope. The moons of Jupiter. The rings of Saturn, and numerous star clusters and galaxies. You’ll see the moon like you’ve never seen it before! I’ve been stargazing since I was 12 years old and the fact Celestron is behind this product means one thing: quality.

It’s portable. The tube on the telescope collapses to 14 inches and it weighs just 14 pounds. It’s a grab-and-go telescope to take on vacations or to outdoor parties that promise to have dark, less light polluted skies.

There’s another good reason to pick up this telescope. It’s a perfect telescope to view what some star gazers are calling “The Comet of the Century.” Comet ISON will be visible in November and may glow as bright as the moon. We may even be able to see it in daylight! These are best-case predictions, but one thing is for sure: the AWB Telescope will be a good scope to capture all the action.

The team at AWB is zeroing in on a name for the telescope. Yesterday, on Labor Day, they closed a contest to pick a name. They had over 500 submissions. After talking to my 11 year-old son, Ryan, our entry was the AWB StarGiver.

Our name reflects that this telescope is more than just a bunch of lenses and mirrors that collect light. It’s also shining a light on the sky we all share, and the desire and right we all have to explore it.