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Dyptorden

Telescope Advice for <5 years old girl :)

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Hi,

What do you recommend for a ~5 years old child? a 76mm dob or a 60...maybe 70mm refractor (AZ mount)?

The apperture is similar... what about the quality of the image?

I would have to choose between scopes such as:

Sky-Watcher 705AZ2

Celestron Powerseeker 60AZ

or

National Geographic Telescop Dobson N 76/350 Kompakt DOB

Omegon Telescop Dobson N 76/300 DOB

A disadvantage of the mini-dobs is that they take more space I guess...

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Both dobs take less space actually as they are more compact tubes than the refractors and the mount is smaller. 

I would recommend this dob instead as it also has a finderscope, making it easier to find things, and you can always take off the finderscope and put a cheap red dot finder to make things even simpler.

The refractors will show more detail, the dobs will be colour free. The refractors should be opticallt aligned, the dobs may potentially need to be collimated.

The refractors take more space and take more time to set up and their mounts are only just "cutting the mustard".

Since ease of use and compact size is important, I would go for the dob, which is really very uncomplicated to use and the size is not "scary" - let's say- for a child under 5.

However your involvement will be required. Obvious targets will be the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, M42 and M45 but your explanations as to the nature of each object is what may perk her interest.

FYI I have a 10 year old daughter. She's been enamoured with the hobby (as much as to be expected from such a young one) since I took her to a weekend astronomy event 3 years ago and put her through her paces with a 10" dob!

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As for quality of image, it's not as if you will be racking the magnification up, so don't worry too much. All scopes will do, but the primary concern is ease of use I think, hence my recommendation for a Dob with a finderscope / Red dot finder.

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Since I am not her father, and her father is not too much into astronomy... she will have nobody to collimate the dob... i have some doubts regarding the dob...

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Then refractor it is. Not much difference between the 60mm and 70mm for the objects visible in a (I assume) light polluted area.

However, if her father is not too interested in this, she will lose interest fast as children that age need some assistance and explanations to put into context something like our hobby.

Not trying to dissuade you, but I have seen what happens when you don't invest the time....

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Straight forward refractor on an alt/Az mount.

Get one with a reasonable field of view, things manage to come into view a bit easier and the purpose is to see things.

And someone ~5 tends to be impatient to see.

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Only issue with the refractors discussed and generally with refractors at that price point is that the tripod / mount combo is really awful, but at least the tubes (being long achros) tend to be quite decent optically.

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If your observing with children of that age you want the fastest setup with the minimum amount of aggravation so getting outside and finding you need to collimate a scope you thought was already collimated eats into valuable time and young kids don't want to be out in the cold and dark standing around for too long. I would go with a refractor on an alt az mount for fast set up, fast cool down and the least amount of maintenance required! As she gets older and if the interest remains you can tailor the kit accordingly, but a valid point made above is that your explanations about the objects and keeping her interest maintained is all part and parcel of stargazing with kids.

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+1 for the refractor. It is far more intuitive for a young child. They can also use it during the day too as they often come with an erecting prism.

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no real opinion on scope choice but some personal experience introducing younger children to space. Our children are slightly older than 5 and our 9 yo was the recipient of a 100P for Christmas

What I have found is that I need to plan ahead and be sure we know what we are hoping to look at - and have a story about it too. With the constellations we got a book from the library that shows them and gives some history, even the youngest like that

With viewing only the moon really held any interest for the youngest (7) and the session worked best if she could see something then go back in the warm and chat about it with book and computer pictures. Finding the Apollo landing sight was fun, our youngest was sure she could see their flag! :grin:

In short I think the success will depend as much on an engaged adult doing the prep as it will on the kit

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I have to agree that expecting a 5 year old to engage in astronomy without supervision is somewhat unrealistic.

A quick aside, I recently showed the moon to my neighbours and when I had given a brief explanation of what they were seeing moved over to M45, at this point their two children aged eight and nine came home from their friends and joined us. Naturally they wanted to see what mum and dad were doing and had look at m45. I then said "Hang on a minute and you can have a look at the moon". the response I received was along the lines of "Come on Gabby let's go and play and come back". This from two youngsters who had earlier expressed an interest in looking through my scope. This is not meant as a criticism the youngsters concerned but I think what one would expect from most 8/9 year olds.

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For small kids its has to be a frac. Hardy scopes that look like a child expects a scope to look like. Ditto alt az mount for least bother. You need to keep the interest up and small, faint and fuzzy DSO wont do it. Planets on the other hand are easier to find and more dramatic for small children and a telescope whixh is point and look is the ideal.

Suitable caution with the sun is a Must and ai personally wouldnt let a small child have unsupervised access to a telescope until they were a bit older.

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Still I am taking into consideration those mini-dobs.... the 76mm ones. Are there any possible collimation problems? You can't collimate the primary and you only have the 3 orientation screws for the secondary (not the depth one).

What are the chances her father might need to collimate it?

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Dyptorden, does this little girl want a telescope or is it you that wants her to have one? I myself nearly always buy what I want the little ones (and myself) to have, sometimes I hit the nail on the head and sometimes I get a near miss and other times I may as well be on another planet.

Either way a telescope is a good gift, if she losses interest (after all she is only 5) then it can be put away until she is older. Better for her to have a scope now even if she doesn't use it much until later then to never have one. 

All the information above is very valid. Trying to stoke interest in something like astronomy with a five year old will always be a hit or miss proposition.

I suggest a simple frac with an alt/az mount. But then again that fun (and classic) scope that Steppenwolf suggested would be pretty cool for a little kid, even I like it.   :grin:

Miguel

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Hi Dyptorden,

I too go along with the refractor on an alt-az for a 5 year old. If she gets bored with astronomy, (hopefully she does not), then at least she can use it terrestially too. Just bare in mind that the veiwed image maybe upside down. If the image is upside down when using it terrestially, there are image erecting prisms/45o diagonals available that will show the image right way up. Some 'scopes maybe supplied with one and a 90o star-diagonal too along with a few eyepieces.

And another thing. If 'your' chosen 'scope set includes a Sun/Solar filter that screws into the eyepiece, do us all and yourself a favor and dispose of it straight away before she sees it. Ensure that she does not look at the Sun directly unless there is a full aperture solar filter in place on the 'scope and remove or cover the finderscope or RDF. And last of all, ensure that she is supervised at all times when Sun/Solar observing.

Edited by Philip R

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Dyptorden, does this little girl want a telescope or is it you that wants her to have one?

I have an 8" Dob, and she is not my girl, but a friend's.Her father is not into astronomy so it might be a challenge for him to keep her interest. His lack of knowledge/experience is the reason that makes me avoid a collimating telescope.

Regarding that Infinity, I don't find specs such as : does it have more eyepieces? can you use other eyepieces? what is the maximum magnification (i think i saw somewhere it has a fixed 30x magnification...so no interchangeable eyepieces)?

On the other side, I saw similar spec telescopes that do have 1.25" focuser.There is one from Omegon, almost identical (i believe it's really identical) : http://www.astroshop.eu/omegon-telescope-n-76-300/p,33242 --- is there any difference between them?

And also there are the

Skywatcher N76/300 Herritage

Celestron N 76/300 Firstscope (this one doesn't have a finder, and some say it's worse than the Herritage).

National Geographic Dobson telescope N 76/350 Kompakt DOB (neither this one has a finder)

Should I still go for the Infinity recommendation?

Thank you very much for the opinions

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Since you have already indicated that her family is not interested, and that you have an 8" Dob, then my recommendation would be a 'study step stool' for those times when her family is present with you to allow her to view through your Dob.

IMO a telescope for a 5 year old is not a very good idea, especially if it is not your own 5 year old. The child can't setup the telescope and can never be left alone with one, plus with the all important early bed times due to school and development, there is only a very limited window of darkness in the early evening for observing.

Some childrens books that tell stories about Astronomy folklore that you can read and share before using your Dob to end, might be a better solution. Hopefully her parent will also read with her, and then in a few years go down the telescope route if she does develop a serious interest.

Just my 2p.

Edited by RichM63

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I'm with Rich seems a practical suggestion.

Buying present for a child not your own where the parent has no interest might stress that parent as they have a 5 year old who thinks they wants a go but it is past bed time and has no clue what to do. They also have a tripod to store and a telescope to put somewhere as well.

Perhaps when older and if interested a heritage 100p.

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+1 on the stories side, worked well for us. And then we got a 100P this Christmas for our nearly 10yo

the other thing that might make a nice gift is a constellation globe, we even found one last year that was a normal globe but when used as a night light became the night sky - cheaper than a scope too :smiley:

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