Named Official Product Of International Year Of Astronomy 2009, Celestron's FirstScope Pays Tribute To History's Most Notable Astronomers & Scientists

TORRANCE, CA – (March 25, 2009) – Celestron® the world's leading designer and manufacturer of telescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes and related accessories, is pleased to announce that their new FirstScope Telescope has been declared Official Product of International Year of Astronomy 2009.

In 1609, world-renowned Italian scientist, Galileo Galilei, introduced an elementary telescope to the growing astronomy community which sparked interest into the mysterious night sky for centuries to come. Four centuries later, in celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, Celestron offers the portable FirstScope Telescope. The FirstScope pays tribute to Galileo Galilei and many of history's most notable astronomers and scientists by displaying their names around the optical tube. We honor the contributions of these men and women, who brought us one step closer to understanding the universe around us. "Celestron's FirstScope pays tribute to the most notable astronomers, who have expanded our knowledge of the Universe. It is this appreciation of the cosmos that we are celebrating in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy. FirstScope promotes widespread access to knowledge of fundamental science through the excitement of sky-observing experiences, one of the IYA2009 goals." said Pedro Russo, IYA2009 Global Coordinator.

The FirstScope is a wonderful keepsake for anyone interested in astronomy. This quality Dobsonian style telescope features a 76 mm aperture reflector optical tube. FirstScope is an ideal entry-level astronomical telescope that is fun and easy to observe with. The user simply navigates the night sky by moving the tube in the direction of their desired object, making the viewing experience a snap! The compact design makes it easy to take with you on your next outdoor adventure. FirstScope is also stylish enough to be a decorative fixture on your bookshelf or desk.

"FirstScope is an ideal telescope for the beginning astronomer. Its tabletop design and quality optical components make it very easy to observe the night sky." said Joseph A. Lupica Jr, President and CEO of Celestron "We are pleased to have the honor of Official Product of International Year of Astronomy 2009 bestowed on this product."

Celestron is proud to be a global sponsor of International Year of Astronomy 2009, as well as the IYA2009 cornerstone event, 100 Hours of Astronomy. 100HA is a worldwide event consisting of a wide range of public outreach activities, live webcasts and sidewalk astronomy events. One of the key goals of 100 Hours of Astronomy is to have as many people as possible look through a telescope as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago. 100 Hours of Astronomy will take place from April 2-5, 2009 when the Moon goes from first quarter to gibbous, good phases for early evening observing.

Celestron is also a sponsor of the once-in-a-lifetime exhibit, "Galileo, the Medici & the Age of Astronomy" at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, which will feature one of only two of Galileo's original telescopes. This will be the first and only time in history that Galileo's original telescope will leave Italy. The Franklin Institute is also the official host of the 100 Hours of Astronomy kick- off event on April 2nd. "Galileo, the Medici & the Age of Astronomy" exhibit opens to the public April 4th and runs through September 7, 2009.

Visit the following websites for more information on FirstScope and these exciting events:
Celestron FirstScope - http://www.celestron.com/firstscope
International Year of Astronomy - http://www.iya2009.org
100 Hours of Astronomy - http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org
The Franklin Institute - http://www.fi.edu