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Hello.My neice would like to buy a telescopefor her and her 6 year old children to use.They have expressed an interest in what the moon and stars would look like through a sm,all telescope.My idear would be the Skywatcher 130 heritage dobsonian or a 6 inch dobsonian.Any advice would be welcome.

Martin,.

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The size sounds like a good starter scope. But maybe a GOTO would be nice since they are just starting out and doubt a 6 yr old has the patients for their mom to "hog" the scope while she star hops to find targets other than the moon. If a normal dob with goto is to expensive maybe try a table top dob with goto.

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Hello nmoushon.They live in South West Wales where the skies are reaaly dark.They have that going for them.Perhaps a table top dob may be the right one.

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It really depends on the child at that age. Some will be able to spend a incredible amount of Time and attention when interested, others may not stay interested more then a few minutes.

Goto is nice, but won't replace learning a few basics.

Objects like Alberio, ring nebula, Andromeda, orion nebula, Plejads, m13, m44, 81/82, the double cluster, and many more, are so easily found once you look them up in Stellarium or on a map...

The Heritage is great if the kid gets older and needs to take the thing outside by herself, The 6" a better allrounder that's easier to work with.

If the two are interested in deepsky, and want to use it in their back yard, a 8" would really make a difference :-)

If she is interested in how stuff works, do build the Astromedia cardboard newtonian with her. It's much more fun to see for yourself how a telescope works, and exploring the sky is much more fun, too.

If the budget is big enough for goto, I don't want to talk anyone out of it, but only if the goto control does not mean the rest of the optics have to be smaller in order to afford it. Also, a child at that age can handle the 130p or a smaller telescope, set it up at the balcony or the deck, and tracking is intuitive, too.

A STABLE eq/goto mount is not that easy to lift and set up, at least at the beginning.

I know now we'll see a few comments about how hard tracking and finding things with a dobsonian is, but really, it's impossible to miss the moon, planets and even prominent dso that are visible from a back yard with that aperture... ;-)

Just two wide angle eyepieces could help, both with tracking and finding things. But as they cost 32-45€ each, so perhaps something for later... A 2x achromatic barlow for 17€ is a good idea though, as they surely want to view the planets as soon as they are up.

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To be honest my kids love looking through the telescope, but half an hour of setup - getting everything connected and polar aligned takes a lot of the spontaneity out of it for them. An EQ mount is way to fiddly. I think alt az is the way to go, both for an adult learning their way around the sky and for an interested child. I've got a Skyliner 150P lined up for my lad for Christmas and this will be scope enough for both of us to take out on camping trips or those opportunistic dark sky visits - mind you he is quite tall for his age at 133cm. I'll probably put a telrad/rigel RDF on it to help with locating objects.

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Although a Skyliner Dob would give the best views I suspect that a refractor would be more durable in young hands, and easier because of needing no collimating. It can also be used on wildlife, birds, etc.

The humble ST80 has a lot going for it.

Olly

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Perhaps I am underestimating the power of young children, it is something to consider, it depends how mature they are for their age and how patient you think they are. but a dob, collimation at that age, as long as someone older can look after it, willing to do the collimation and learn about the scope it's fine, though the Heritage hardly ever needs it anyway.

I can see the argument for an easier to use refrac. That being said, once they get a bit of hunger for seeing things like Andromeda, or some DSO objects, the difference between 130 aperture and 80 will be telling. It sounds like you are in a good location for deep sky objects also. On the other hand no daytime viewing in the DOB, unless you want to see things upside down.

Though I have never used the small st80. As an all-round small little scope able to see planets, as well as DSO objects, it is hard to beat the Heritage for the price. You may also find that for children the Heritage has one more benefit over the 6 inch or bigger scope in that it allows for nice wide angle views with the stock 25mm eyepiece, thus making it easy to find things, especially where you are, dark skies, a red dot finder, yielding 2 degrees of skies, nice for kids to get started and find things in the sky. The ST80 will also benefit in that way even more yielding about 3 degrees with a 25mm eyepiece. The 6 inch DOB will provide much smaller angle views ( but higher magnification views ). I am assuming the stock eyepieces that come with such scopes. Of course the 6 inch has its own benefits too, trying to sound the least biased seeing I own the Heritage, but in terms of ease of use, size, easy to carry around the Heritage is perfect ( as long as they don't knock/drop it and you teach them to be careful with it :) ).

Some food for thought, good luck with whatever you go for. All suggestions above will give pleasure if the kids enjoy it I would think. :smiley: I would say if it is not for children only, and also meant for more frequent use for an adult I'd say buy the 6 inch DOB, (if you want to stretch that far). Depending on how mature the kids are, and you think they are likely to a bit rough with it at that age I'd say the ST80, a best compromise for all the Heritage if you feel comfortable kids will be careful enough with it.

Edited by AlexB67

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Celestron 6SE: light weight, compact, very easy set up and align, easy goto, great optics, can be interfaced with Sky Safari via either the SkyWire or SkyFi. Get a 10mm EP to supplement the 25mm it comes with. Add a foam diy dew shield and an inexpensive 12 volt external battery. Good for planets, the moon, the sun with appropriate filter, doubles, clusters, and some nebulae. This is one of the best sub $1000 visual goto scope and mount buy there is.

My daughter got hooked on astronomy when she was 6 years old with this scope and mount. Within four or five sessions she was aligning and observing all by herself. I still had to carry it out and stuff but she knew what had to be done.

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you will be surprised at how long a child will sit at a scope if they are interested!

I was fortunate enough to go visit kielder observatory a few weeks ago for one of their observing evenings and I took my 6 year old girl with me. We were there 4 hours and she spent the entire time flitting between the 16" SCT and 20" dob - as Garry + assistants kept moving them every 15 mins to new objects. In between going from one scope to the other she would stop off at the middle observing desk and peer through the 12" dob, or steal my 10x50 bins for a few minutes to look at meteors / ISS / satelites / milky way. She even mastered the art of moving the 12" dob to follow andromeda!!!

And when she looked through the 20" dob at the western viel neb (with appropriate filters), she even gave a gasp and said "daddy, i can see why you call it the witches broom!" My heart almost exploded with pride!

dont be tight - buy a 12" dob and a kitchen step and let them explore the universe! Plus the planets are mega in a 12!

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The 150p dob is a good choice I think. They hold collimation so well. Good focal length for planets but not too long to prevent decent DSO viewing too I'd expect. I've often thought about getting one for a grab and go but I enjoy my shorter explorer 150p on an AZ4 so much I doubt i'll ever replace it.

If this is too much cost, maybe get a smaller Mak90 or Mak102 on a camera tripod.

Edited by Stargazer_00

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