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Childs Telescope


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Hi all

I'm after some advice regarding buying a telescope for my son. He's only 7 (nearly 8) but has been nagging for one since watching the sky at night that was on tv a while back.

I've decided to buy him one for christmas however I don't want to spend a fortune incase he looses interest quickly but also don't want to buy a rubbish toy telescope which will frustrate him when he can't see anything and put him off something that could have become a major interest/hobby (although I may regret that if it starts costing me a bundle in the coming years!)

I am completely in the dark (excuse the pun!) as far as stargazing is concerned so any advice would be greatly appreciated, not just which telescope to buy but also where to start with what to look at, helping a child get the most from it.

I was looking at spending around the £50 mark initially until I know if it holds his interest, am I being realistic?

One telescope I have seen which I thought looked quite good was the Celestron 76mm firstscope, but like I said I don't really know what I'm doing, is anyone familiar with this particular one?

Thank you in advance for any help!

Emma :grin:

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For his age, i would consider one of the small refractors (skywatcher brand is good) there is a small dobsonian reflector too, a wee little thing, table top job. Have a gander at first light optics web site (sponsors of sgl and a link at top of page)

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hi there, it is quite funny as i got intrested when i was 8. I am 13 now and have an Lx200gps. I felt that buying one of the £10 ones downgrades astronomy. You can start with a powerful pair of binoculars. If he definitly wanted a telescope then i can suggest depending on your budget the Celestron Sky Prilodgy which is good as it requires no knowledge of constellations (it is a robotic one which has full auto align, the only one). Have a look at the Dobasian ones as you can get a good size for a cheap amount and are good for visual observing. The three best make are meade, celestron and sky watcher. I found that having a parent intrested was nice and if they come out with me it just feels a lot happier. Please give your son a star chart or atlas as well, they cost £5 and unless your son knows the constellations it wont be proper astronomy.

If you need anything else just ask and i hope he enjoys it.

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How about a Skywatcher Heritage 130P. Its small enough and easy enough for a child of this age to use and its also a great scope for adults too. Its a 5" Dobsonian and really can show some amazing things for its small size. I think they retail now for about £120.

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Hi Emma, welcome to SGL.

A different approach could be to take your son to an observing session here http://www.bristolastrosoc.org.uk/wb/pages/open-observing-sessions.php

Have a careful check on the weather to avoid a wasted journey. I know your enquiry is about choosing a telescope, but I expect that it will be yourself using it, and your son looking through it. Going to a club session means that they will do all that for you, set up the equipment, find objects to look at, saving you learning the sky yourself. You and your son will get an idea if getting a telescope for your own use will be a good idea.

Anyway, just a thought.

Regards, Ed.

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If he is 7 coming up to 8 and he wants a scope then ignore binoculars. He didn't ask for binoculars and getting a pair will disapoint. (that word looks wrong, so do all the alternatives?)

So small scope around £50

SKYWATCHER MERCURY-607 TELESCOPE

60mm (2.4") f/700 REFRACTOR

£55.00

SKYWATCHER MERCURY-707 TELESCOPE

70mm (2.75") f/700 REFRACTOR

£70.00

These 2 are at Sherwood Photographic, somewhere south of Birmingham if I recall.

No idea if they do photographic stuff I have always known them for astronomy stuff.

They are a good retailer so shouldn't have any problems.

Website is:

http://www.sherwoods-photo.com/

The 2 scope mentioned are on:

http://www.sherwoods-photo.com/sky_watcher/skywatcher_refractor.htm

First two listed.

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Another option is TS, a German based supplier but again good:

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4999_Starscope-70-700mm-Refraktor-Teleskop-mit-Montierung---Stativ.html

Cost will be 80Euro (74+6) at present rate £65, it is a 70mm so the larger size but not quite the cost of the 70 from Sherwoods.

They are in all probability the same scope, jsut different brand names on them.

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Wow! You peeps are fast!

Thank you so much for the advice, I will definitely be investing in sky maps and contacting the Bristol Astronomical Society (thank you for that Ed, I would really enjoy doing that with Harry). I also think Capricorn is right, while I see the point about binoculars I do think he would be disappointing.

As far as telescopes are concerned, obviously there have been a few mentioned, how do I compare suggestions?! I really like the look of the Skywatcher that was first mentioned but mainly because (with my girl hat on) it looks nice and (with my mum hat on) it's an anniversary edition so would be a nice keepsake! as for whether that would be better suited to our needs than any of the others I don't know where to start, I read on a blog that getting the largest aperture you can is the key, is that right? Is there a good site that would explain the different terminology's to me because at the moment reading product specs means nothing!

I'm going to get more in to this than him at this rate, should be studying tonight but for too engrossed in astronomy!

Thank you all again for taking the time to reply

Emma

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http://stargazerslounge.com/index.php?/topic/98716-Abbreviations,-Acronyms,-and-Glossary-of-Terms

Hi Emma, here is a list of acronyms and terms. Maybe it will help a bit. The more the aperture the more light gathering capabilities the telescope will have. So for your money you get more aperture per £ with a reflector telescope. Can I ask if you have an idea of budget? That may help narrow down the options.

Sent from my galaxy s3 using tapatalk 2

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at 8 years old it may be a passing faze or a lifelong hobby so price and size are important , you don't want to buy too small as the views can be disapointing [and they will never be like he see's on tv unless you go into astrophotography ]to large and it becomes difficult from him to move things about himself [very important to any 8 year old as its the start of independance ] i would consider giving him a junior membership of an astro club near you, it allows him access to some decent scopes ,gives him a lot of knowledge on hand from other members [and you should join as well ] a small 130 dob would be good , easy to set up and move, also if the hobby dies out then it will be re sellable or if he gets realy keen then its also great for trading up with .

Edited by dtr42
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I'm a member of Bristol AstroSoc and as Ed pointed out we hold regular open sessions at our Observatory most clear saturday evenings or at (less regular) Star Parties in Tyntesfield National Trust. Check out our website for details. We often have families attend and it is one way ( especially the star parties) of seeing a variety of scopes looking at the same object. or come along tomour meetings ;-)

However I would be worried that any scope for a 7 year old would be easy to fall prey to gathering dust. My own advice would be to get a spotting scope for terrestrial use (nature etc) from many suppliers such as Jessops (and lots on ebay) but use this on the moon whcih is easy to find and get him to learn a few lunar landmarks as a 'new world' where the astronauts walked etc etc and some 'big objects' in the sky like the Pleiades that have good link to myths and legends and so have more interest when the night is over and he can hear about them. if he gets bored well at least you can get the spotting scope out in the garden and watch the birds!

Well, it's a thought anyway!!

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As I have said before there is so much knowledge/information on here it often causes more confusion! So I'll add this one....

http://www.green-witch.com/acatalog/Independant_Top_Ten_Telescopes.html

As the blurb says it is NOT a toy and is a great first scope. A colleague bought one for his (similarly aged) son and they are both pleased.

Hope you are successful.

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SKYWATCHER MERCURY-707 TELESCOPE

70mm (2.75") f/700 REFRACTOR

£70.00

This was my first telescope (I still have it for solar viewing). I think It may be a bit fiddly for an 8 year old. It's a very good scope I just personally don't think It's suitable for an 8 year old.

I would suggest a Sky-Watcher Infinity76p. I have never used one myself but it looks good and wouldn't cost that much!

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The best advice I can give to involve young children of this age is to take them camping somewhere (very) dark and provide them with a red torch for gaining full night vision. They can look up at the milky way, learn a few of the key constellation patterns, become aware of the brighter planets and perhaps if luck holds out see a meteor or two.

So put the money instead towards investing in a good tent etc.

PS kids love starparties and Astro outreach events to, it provides them with a great sense of adventure and an awareness at least, of the richness of the night sky, which they, like most of us, are deprived of in Urban areas.

Other than that as far as optics are concerned at aged 7 or 8, they would be more comfortable looking through binoculars (on a tripod) than a telescope.

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