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A big Lidl telescope in Belfast

Alan Fitzsimmons and his telescope

Not so Lidl: Alan Fitzsimmons and his bargain telescope.

By Hamish Johnston

There is an old joke in the UK about going to the discount supermarket Lidl for a pint of milk and coming home with a new set of power tools or ski-wear for the entire family. That’s because the retailer is famous for its seemingly random special offers. One week it could be car accessories and the following week the same shelves could be stocked with pyjamas or camping gear.

But Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen’s University Belfast deserves an award for best physics-related Lidl bargain with this huge telescope that he bought at the supermarket. It makes perfect sense to me – both Lidl and the telescope’s maker Bresser are German companies and, of course, Germany is famous for its optics.

The telescope made the perfect backdrop for a 100 Second Science video about comets that I recorded with Fitzsimmons yesterday in Belfast. Stay tuned for that video and much more about my visit to Queen’s, which included a tour of the university’s new laser facility and a trip to the nearby Ulster Museum.

If you do bag a bargain telescope and don’t happen to live somewhere with dark skies, you can take some inspiration from an amateur astronomer in New York City, who has managed to find places in that great metropolis where she can use her telescope. There is more in the video below.

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  1. Dave Perks

    So what is the spec of the scope? Looks a lot like my 4″ Konus refractor but with a nice white paint job.

  2. Really nice telescope. The spec would be interessting. Its defenitely a refractor ;P nice vid to.


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