Nancy B’s Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal
OUR AWARDS
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Nancy B’s Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal

Item # 5351
Ages 8-12
$49.99
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The Big Idea
Grab your MoonScope and take a tour of the nighttime sky complete with visits to the stars, Saturn, Jupiter, and even the mountain ranges and craters on the moon! The Sky Gazer’s Journal is packed with fun activities, like learning about the lunar phases, writing a moon myth, drawing your own man in the moon, and more!

Psst…They’re Learning!
  • Real-life journaling activities provide hands-on astronomy lessons
  • Encourages independent, parent-free learning
  • Perfect for budding astronomers
  • Supports STEM learning
Cut to the Chase
  • A telescope that gives a clear view of the nighttime sky
  • Includes moon filter, two eyepieces (to provide 18x and 90x magnification) and a built-in, pre-aligned finder scope with glow-in-the-dark ring to make it easy to use
  • 22-Page Sky Gazers Journal includes stories about the moon plus fun observation activities
  • Lightweight and easy to assemble
  • LED light preserves night vision, and requires AAA batteries, not included
OUR AWARDS
Parents_Choice_Silver_Honor
The_National_Parenting_Center_Seal_of_Approval
Toy_of_the_Year_Award_-_Finalist
  • MoonScope with magnification range from 18x to 90x
  • 4mm and 20mm all-glass eyepieces
  • Finder scope
  • Moon filter
  • Tripod with built-in red LED light to read journal and moon map in the dark
  • 22-Page journal full of astronomy activities

    The Nitty Gritty
  • MoonScope measures 15.5"L x 3.25"W x 7"H.
  • Journal measures 8.5"W x 8.5"H.
  • Requires 2 AAA batteries (not included).

Inventor: Nancy Balter

Nancy has always loved science. As a young girl she dreamed of being a vet, a marine biologist, an astronaut, or a biomedical engineer, and spent her summers attending space camp and marine biology camp. Her passion paid off with a B.A. in Biology from Yale University and an M.S. in Science Education from the University of Southern California.

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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

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Educational InsightsNancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal
 
4.2

(based on 65 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (26)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (32)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (4)

92%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Educational (23)
  • Engaging (22)
  • Interactive (19)
  • Lots of fun (17)
  • Durable (15)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Entertainment (14)
  • Young children (14)
  • Older children (12)
  • Outdoors (4)
  • Travel (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Parent of two or more children (14), Education oriented (9), Stay at home parent (8), Grandparent (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes (15), No (12)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

LOVE this! And it is very well made

We took this on a camping trip and the kids had a great time with it. Well made the the booklet just added to it being such a great find.

We took this on a camping trip and the kids had a great time with it. Well made the the booklet just added to it being such a great find.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Not Recommended - Parents should do some

Two Quick Points:

First, the best advice for first time telescope buyers is to attend a "star party" given by an astronomy club in your location. You'll be...Read complete review

Two Quick Points:

First, the best advice for first time telescope buyers is to attend a "star party" given by an astronomy club in your location. You'll be invited to look through members' telescopes and you'll come away with a first-hand appreciation of what to expect in the areas of capability, price and availability. You'll also get an idea of what your child might be able to handle.

Second, even a bare-as-bone telescope designed for a beginner can be expensive. For example, what might be called the standard telescope for a moderately interested amateur astronomer, a six-inch Dobsonian reflector, will cost over $200. And for what some people might call high-end or professional telescopes the prices begin in the thousands.

This may be why the time-honored advice given by experienced amateur astronomers to the parental question what should I get for a child just taking an interest in the sky has been a pair of binoculars and a good star map or beginner's book, such as "Turn Left at Orion". Most binoculars have acceptable optical performance, are relatively inexpensive and will still be of some use if the astronomy interest doesn't pan out.

But practically all beginners want a bona fide telescope, an instrument that will "really show something". So there is a market for small telescopes aimed at beginners and children. Frankly, most if not all of them will show lunar craters, Jupiter's four Galilean moons and Jupiter's two prominent cloud bands on a good night. While all of these telescopes make compromises of some sort to be affordable, but all should meet some basic requirements and of course some will be better at that than others.

I can't recommend Educational Insights Nancy B'S Science Club Moonscope because there are a number of beginner telescopes roughly in the same price range, for example Celestron's 70mm Travel Scope or their Cometron FirstScope that have better fundamentals and will perform better.

The Moonscope has a clear aperture of 45mm (the diameter of its lens. Both of the Celestron units are larger in aperture. They will resolve details more clearly and capture more light. Both should be easier to use and will accept some standard accessories if a child's astronomy interest grows.

Here are some basic requirements that any telescope should meet:

1. A TELESCOPE SHOULD BE RIGIDLY MOUNTED. The legs of the Moonscope are plastic and will easily transfer vibrations should they or the surface on which the scope is set up is bumped. Also because the Moonscope and its tripod are extremely light a good breeze will give it the shakes. Few things are more aggravating than trying to observe something through a vibrating telescope. Having to "fight the telescope" could really deaden a child's interest. All beginners telescopes have this problem, but it's especially obvious with the Moonscope due to its construction.

2. A FINDER SCOPE SHOULD CLEARLY SHOW AND HELP PINPOINT A TARGET. Like the cross hairs on a rifle, a telescope finder helps you point the more powerful main scope at a target which would be difficult or impossible to center using the main scope alone. Usually, they are adjustable, but the finder on the Moonscope is not. It's a pre-aligned plastic tube that's partially closed at one end. Unfortunately, it's next to useless. It totally distorts the image of the Moon and using it to point the Moonscope at Jupiter, a really bright star-like object, was just about impossible. I gave up and pointed the telescope by sighting up the main tube – a skill picked up over the years. Most beginner scopes include a small telescopic finder and an adequate finder should be considered a necessity if a child is to use the telescope.

3. A TELESCOPE SHOULD HAVE GOOD OPTICS. The Moonscope comes with two eyepieces, a 20mm and a 4mm. The view through the 20mm is acceptable, but the image produced by a binocular of comparable magnification is significantly sharper. When compared to the image produced by a slightly larger, but more expensive telescope with more expensive eyepieces, the difference is clearly obvious.

The 4mm eyepiece indicated as giving a magnification of 90 is a bit of a disaster. First the power is at the limit recommended for a scope of this size, even with perfect optics and great seeing conditions. The views that one would normally get at this power, even with expensive equipment, will be disappointing – a bit dark and "mushy". But the 4mm eyepiece is far from being optically perfect. Move the object you're viewing to the periphery of the field of view and it turns into a "blob". After using the 4mm a few times, I put it permanently in my pocket.

Also eyepieces for modern astronomical telescopes come in two standard diameters, 1.25 and 2 inches. The Moonscope eyepieces are smaller and non-standard. You have only the two eyepieces that come with the Moonscope. Starter scopes, such as those mentioned above, use standard eyepieces so other eyepieces with different magnifications or fields of view (and things like filters which fit them) can be added.

A NITPICK. The Moonscope comes with a permanently attached star diagonal (the device that bends the light path 90 degrees and accepts the eyepieces). A diagonal presents a "mirror" image of what you're viewing. North is north, south is south, but east and west are reversed. This is mentioned in the activity journal that comes with the Moonscope. However, the lunar chart in the activity journal shows the Moon in its normal orientation. This could be confusing for a youngster trying to navigate the lunar surface and identify its features.

Sparking a child's interest in astronomy is a laudable goal. It can lead to a lifetime of interest, activity or in some cases, even a profession. Taking a bit of care with regard to the tools a child will use to explore the sky for the first time can make all the difference.

Reviewed by 65 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

First Telescope

By aahaft

from brooklyn, NY

About Me Parent Of Multiples (Twins etc), Parent Of Two Or More Children

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Durable
  • Engaging
  • Interactive

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Entertainment

    Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

    My 6yo had been begging for a telescope since his teacher mentioned the word astronomy and taught the class about ancient stargazers. Luckily, we were chosen to review this telescope and my son got straight to work trying to predict the future from the stars. Out of the box he was able to assemble all the pieces and figure out all the attachments with just a bit of reading help from his older siblings. As recommended in the instruction guide, it was distorted through the window so we decided to save it for a clear night outdoors. The legs fold flat for travel so he stored it in a little drawstring backpack until he had a chance to use it outdoors. My kids were able to see the moon and some stars although in the city with all the tall buildings it was kind of hard to see much. The activity journal comes with some suggested activities so we did look at some buildings and trees and tried different eyepieces. My son also enjoyed looking at the phases of the moon even though we didn't always have a chance to use it outdoors during all the phases. We forgot the telescope when we went camping but my son was able to try a real telescope and was really impressed by what he saw. This telescope is more of a toy and an introduction to telescopes. It currently has found a place in our toybox more for pretend play.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes

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    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great way to start star gazing!

    By Beth

    from Livingston, NJ

    About Me Education Oriented, Parent Of Two Or More Children

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Engaging
    • Interactive
    • Nice design

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • educational tool
      • Older Children
      • Young Children

      Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

      This is great for my 5 year old who is just starting to learn about astronomy. His curiosity is sky high but he isn't too patient so we are grateful for this moonscope as it is SO easy to use and comprehensive. In the beginning adult support is needed to explain how it works and what the purpose is and how to treat it with care but after a while the kids will be off to explore on their own. I also think the design is kid-friendly and a nice addition to a child's room or playroom!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • Yes

      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

       
      4.0

      Moon gazing, and keeping an eye out for pirates.

      By Suzanne

      from Chicago, IL

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Great for curious kids and studying nature
      • Great for imaginative play

      Cons

      • Slightly tippy

      Best Uses

      • Clear nights or away from cities

      Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

      My son is four, so a little younger than the recommended age of this telescope, but I think that it works very well for the younger crowd- he was able to view the moon on a few clear nights, and really enjoyed the fact that this was his "super eye" to see something so far away. Although he is too young to use the journal, I expect an older child would get a lot of use out of it.

      Aside from gazing at the moon, my pretend-play obsessed kid has enjoyed using this outside to see if he can spot werewolves (I guess he made the connection looking at a full moon), and he likes to use it inside a lot, without the lenses, either in a makeshift boat/pillow island or on the couch, as a telescope looking for Capitan Hook and Tick Tock Crocodile. So far, no evil foes, but lots of interesting observations. Although it's not the intended use, he's thrilled to have a 'real' telescope to fulfill his play and stories. Good enough for us.

      Sturdy, but it's not professional grade. A great introduction telescope at a fair price.

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Nice unique toy

      By Chicago Mom

      from Chicago, IL

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Quiet

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

          My 6 year old really enjoyed this toy. It's a little tough to get it to hold steady, but other than that I have no complaints and think it would be a great unique gift for a 6-10 year old.

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          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Moonscope

          By Mom of 2

          from Kansas

          Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

          I am not a scientist or a stargazing enthusiast, just a mom looking to interest her children (ages 5 and 7) in science. My children have enjoyed playing with this telescope and looking at various things with it. I cannot say how it would compare to a real telescope, because I don't have one, but from my perspective, it's a solid introductory toy to pique children's interest in science, the stars, and nature. It seems to be a sturdy product (it stood up to our dog chewing on one of the legs of the tripod when we weren't looking). The only suggestion I would have is some sort of adjustable clamp to attach it more firmly to a ledge when outside; otherwise, I think it serves its purpose. I'm sure it's not as good as a real telescope, but for the purposes of introducing children to science, I think it serves its purpose. **I received this product to review for free from educational insights.**

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          5.0

          Great for young astronomers!

          By Pam

          from Cedar Falls, IA

          Verified Reviewer

          Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

          Great for ages 5-10! Add excitement to your science studies! Can see a few constellations and the moon!

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          5.0

          Cool Tool

          By Nicole

          from TX

          Verified Reviewer

          Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

          We've had the telescope for about 2 weeks now. As the adult, you need to take the time to read all of the instructions first and educate yourself and your child on how to use it so that the experience will be enjoyable. My 9 year old still can't quite get something in view by himself, but with a little help from mom, we have success and a perfect view of the moon! He thinks it is really cool and has been excited to use it each chance he gets. I really wish there was an attached storage bag/hook for the lenses, caps, etc. that are not in use (similar to how the attachments would connect to a vacuum), but it appears that EI wants them stored separately for a reason. I'm no astronomy expert, but we sure look forward to going through the journal and finding more in the night sky! I think it's a great find for kids who want to learn and do something different!

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          4.0

          Nice- but could be more stable

          By Lyssa's Mom

          from VA

          Verified Reviewer

          Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

          We received this telescope for review to try out with our seven year old daughter. We have not been able to see the moon yet- but have enjoyed looking at the trees in our backyard and birds. The tripod is not very stable and it is a little difficult to keep it steady for a clear focus. Once it is stable- it gives a great view. We have had a lot of rainy evenings, so we haven't used it at night yet, but the daytime view has been pretty good. My daughter loves science and I believe will really enjoy this product.

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          5.0

          Best Toy received

          By Rosie0622

          from Chicago, IL

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Great Grip

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Combined Highway/City

            Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

            I think I enjoyed this more than my daughter, I love science. We haven't had a chance to look at stars but we have been looking at trees and birds. The different lenses work well, and the light definitely works best, we get to look at the sky although we haven't seen much I can definitely say my daughter loves her telescope. All the parts are good quality and makes a great learning tool.

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            5.0

            Nice first telescope for little ones

            By Donner

            from Virginia

            Verified Reviewer

            Comments about Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club® MoonScope™ & Sky Gazer's Activity Journal:

            My 7 year old son enjoyed using this telescope and reading the book that came with it. He says the thing he likes best about it is that he can see the moon clearly. We have been tracking the moon phases with the calendar in the booklet. He liked reading the folktales about the moon, too. Great first telescope for little ones!

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