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9 Year old - Telescope or Binoculars

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You don't get a wow with binoculars???

I still remember the first time I looked up with a pair of 8x50 binoculars, all the larger clusters are a fantastic not to mention the moon, even Andromeda is a sight to remember in binoculars.

If you are on a tight budget my advice would be binoculars 8x50 cheap ones are fine just look through them before you buy, make sure you can easily combine the two images.

If you can push a little more then a small refractor on a simple mount will bring the moon and planets closer.

At his age short sessions actually observing will be better than spending an hour trying to set up ..

Good luck

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Those are quite big and quite heavy and he would need a tripod and perhaps for 9 not overly portable. Size is so deceptive with no reference object

You don't get a wow with binoculars??? I still remember the first time I looked up with a pair of 8x50 binoculars, all the larger clusters are a fantastic not to mention the moon, even Andromeda is a

Hello and welcome, you came to the right place There are a few things to consider in this case since we're talking about a kid, not an adult: Binoculars is the adult solution. Versatile, but very fid

This is second hand.

Skywatcher Evostar 90mm refractor on an AZ3 mount. (tube is about 950mm long). £55 on listing plus some form of courier I guess (about £150 new). This would give a wow on the Moon and Jupiter. Not a toy telescope one an adult could use too.

I guess if a telescope it might need more help in the getting out and setting up in the garden at night, plus storage somewhere, depending on competency and size of child as these things always bigger in flesh then photos indicate.

No affiliation with the seller just saw it the other day and it is still listed.


This shows the size of the telescope (different tripod but same height).


Seeing that image makes me realise wow maybe a tad big for a child!!

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I would get both a telescope and a binocular :evil:, a good enough 10x50 which often comes up for sale at Aldi, Lidl etc would raise the budget by less than £20. This would leave enough for a starter telescope and you would then have all bases covered.   :smiley: 

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Have to agree with the above (happy-kat), if youre getting something for a kid make sure it gives a view that would be acceptable for an adult. They will more than likely be under supervision, and as long as there is no mucking about - nothing gets busted (fingers crossed).

I gave my 4 year old his first taste with the 80ED a couple of weeks ago, and he quite liked it! :)   Caught on quickly too, as in not to touch the ep when viewing - then asking if we could get closer (barlow it up). Good session that was.

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If you get binos for a 9 year old for hand held astronomy get 8x40 or 8x42. Low mag means less image shake and a still image will allow you to see more! Also they'll be compact and lightweight plus more likely to fit the eyes of a nine year old (some larger binos won't close together enough for the short distance between kids eyes).

With cheap binos you need to look through them as cheap binos have zero quality control, the two sides of the binocular might be aligned in totally different directions causing a double image! (This is one of the biggest issues with cheap binos) More expensive binos are more likely to be alligned correctly because some of the money goes into the quality control. My final word on cheap binos is that if you are lucky enough to get a pair thats alligned correctly the prism cages are so poor that the slightest of knocks will send them out of allignment!

Something like this though will see you right:


In summary of binos: don't buy big cheap binos for a 9 year old, buy a smaller good quality pair :)

Having said all this binos wont give the same "type" of wow factor as a Telescope. Binos are good for sweep star fields and open clusters, plus a few of the larger brighter deep space objects benefit from Binos such as the Andromeda galaxy, but even this will just look like a smokey grey oval, it will just be framed really well with the large field of view that binos give :) I just don't feel that kids are often as wowed  by this compared to views of say Saturn and its rings or Jupiter with its cloud belts and moons trailing around it! Or close ups of craters on the Moon! This is where telescopes steel the show.

Here are a couple that will be just as quick to set up as a pair of binos:

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-100p-tabletop-dobsonian.html         (plonk on outside table and away you go!)

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-mercury-705.html                                               (plonk outside and away you go!)

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I'll second the recommendation that If you go down the binoculars route, I would go for 8 x 40s or 8 x 42s.  Anything larger is likely to be too heavy to hold. 

Although they are a bit more expensive, a roof prism design (the straight-through type design) will be smaller and lighter in the hand, hence making them easier to use.  


You can pick a decent pair for £80 and if they are looked after, they can last you a lifetime.

Saying all the above, actually I would go for the Heritage 130 telescope.  Once having been a 9 year old (according to my wife I still am), I'd have been so excited I'd have burst if I'd have been given a telescope. 

I'm drawn to the famous quote  "The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled" - Plutarch (1st century AD).  Buying child a (decent) telescope is a great way to light the fire.

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Thanks so much everyone, have asked other half to have a look at all your suggestions as he is more scientific than I am, then we can try to decide what is best.. Do like the idea of the wow factor!  :grin:  Nothing like living through your kids eh?!

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