Presented by Orbys Inc.

Workshops and Outreach with "Spica"

Spica is named after the principle star in the constellation of Virgo

Spica is a small refracting telescope purposely designed after the telescope built by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei 400 years ago. The optical concept is known as the Keplerian telescope ever since. In order to give children the opportunity to naturally discover the feeling of a pioneer, Spica is shipped as a kit of precisely crafted parts that need to be assembled, however, without any special tools required, just some glue, Scotch tape and a pair of scissors, to make it as easy as a child's play. As completed, within an hour or so, Spica is ready for a first-light experience. Just like Galileo Galilei, children will discover the four brightest moons of Jupiter and the ring of Saturn, as well as the phases of Venus and the marae and major craters of the Moon, but in this century, with Spica.

What is more, with Spica children can enjoy hand-crafting their first telescope together with class mates under supervision of teachers and parents in a school workshop. In parallel, teachers will enjoy keen attention to tutorials about simple celestial mechanics, such as how to find constellations and planets plus the effect of Earth's rotation and orbital path on the visibility of solar system objects.

Children ask many questions out of natural curiosity. For instance, "why is the Moon upside down in my telescope?" Then is the time to explain the path of light through Spica and that there are no ups and downs in space.

At the left, a simulated view of the Moon as observed with Spica. Spica's eyepiece of 12mm focal length yields a true field of view of 1.4 degrees of arc. The diameter of the Moon's disk measures 0.5 degrees on average, thus filling approximately a third of the field of view. Note, that South is up and East is at the right, a phenomena inherent to refracting telescopes, but entirely irrelevant to astronomical observations.

Spica is not only for kids. Seniors and juniors join at the same table assembling their personal telescope without generation boundaries. Well, occasionally when stuck, a senior looks over the shoulder of a kid to the amusement of all.

Not only in Japan, but also abroad, Spica is very popular among adults of a various professional backgrounds and interests, such as during a workshop held in Lisbon, Portugal in July 17, 2008, attended by a group of over 20 assembling Spica under the guidance of Orbys' CEO, Yasuharu Hanaoka.