The following views expressed are made by an overly cautious person.
They do not represent the management or staff of Late Night Astronomy.
A few weeks ago, I was shopping in our local Dollar Tree and noticed a telescope for sale. For the most part, it was your regular twenty dollar department store scope, but something was a little different about this one.
You see, when department store telescopes are packaged they tend to come with elaborate pictures of the moon, planets or galaxies signifying to the buyer that you can see this through the telescope. The problem is you can’t. Those pictures were taken by the Hubble or some other high dollar telescope, which leaves most people confused and frustrated that they can’t see the quality that is displayed on the box (I’ve fallen for this before, with a scope I got from Wal-Mart).
However, something was even worse about this telescope’s packaging. This box had a picture of a nebula, a close up of a satellite and a picture of the Sun. That’s right, the Sun! I laughed at how ridiculous it was to put a picture of the sun on it as an object that could be viewed and then I got a little concerned. I started to think about “little Jimmy” who comes into the store and gets his parents to buy him the telescope that has a nice big picture of the Sun on it and decides to go out and do some viewing during the day (This is how my mind works).
So, I decided to write an email to Vivitar, the company who sold the telescope. Seriously, I wrote them an e-mail, this isn’t a joke!
I noticed in a store today that your telescope has a picture of the sun on the box. I thought this might send the message to some kids and adults that it would be fine to look at the Sun through the telescope. If a person were to do this it could lead to serious eye damage or blindness as I’m sure other warnings in the instructions inform the buyer. I don’t mean to ridicule your product and I’m sure your company meant nothing by this picture being added, I just thought I would point out that it might not be a good idea to put a picture of the sun on a telescope box for people as they might think this makes it an object that can be viewed by the telescope.
Have a nice day,
Yep, its hard to tell how many thousands of children’s eyes I saved with that e-mail. All in a days work I suppose, all in a days work!