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A retail site called Your-Flashlights.com has the best deal online for the Streamlight Stylus LED Pen Light at $13.95. The pen is 6.21 inches long with a waterproof black aluminum body and a pocket clip. The manufacturer claims it runs up to 60 hours on three AAAA batteries (included in purchase). You also get two settings: blinking or a standard “on” switch.

What’s really cool about this stylus is its red LED pen light can be seen from over a mile away. If you work outside at night, go on midnight earthworm hunts for fishing bait, or enjoy amateur astronomy, you know that red light allows you to direct someone’s vision or illuminate an object without the glaring effect and temporary vision loss that comes with standard lights.

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Astronomically speaking, the Galileoscope™ is a tool, plus you get to build it (although it’s apparently a “no-tools assembly” that takes “5 minutes or less” — everything snaps together). At $15 plus shipping, the price seems incredible. Designed as a kit for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009), the Galileoscope™ claims to offer “features usually seen only on commercial instruments costing 10 times more.”

It’s a 50-mm diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor with a standard ¼-20 tripod mounting nut that you can use to see lunar craters, Jupiter and four of its moons, and other celestial wonders. Many more details are on its website. Shown below is a simulation of its moon view at 50×.

While binoculars can be a good and easy bet for viewing larger celestial objects, it’s always handy to have a more stable and versatile telescope — and it’s an inexpensive way to introduce the kids to backyard astronomy.

Galileoscope™ [Manufacturer’s Site]


In 1902 sponge divers discovered 81 fragments of an ancient, unknown tool at the bottom of the sea near the Greek island of Antikythera. Dated around the first century B.C., this early “computer” was the most complex technology of its time – and for another thousand years. Originally thought to be an astrolabe, the mechanism tracked and predicted the cycles of the solar system and the movement of heavenly bodies.

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SkyScout front view.jpg

Have you ever gazed up at the starry night sky and wished you could remember more from high school astronomy than just the Big Dipper? With the Celestron SkyScout Personal Planetarium, you just point, shoot, and learn. The SkyScout uses GPS technology, calculation positioning software, and gravity and directional sensors to identify celestial objects and tell you all about them.

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