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StarGazing

New to all this - Suitable family telescopes

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Hi all,

My name is Jay, thought I would join you as have a few questions to ask.

My young daughter (4 years of age) has started asking me for a telescope, initially she wanted to use it to look at people, but after I explained that this is usually frowned upon, she rather shocked me when she told me she wanted to use it to see the craters and mountains on the moon then.

I am relatively keen on space and physics and so forth, and quite like the idea of a bit of star gazing and the likes, but i'm not sure if come the cold evening, as they are setting in now, I will have the dedication to sit outside and use a telescope in my own time.

That said, as my daughter seems to have already developed a keen interest, I would like to try and encourage it and give her options and so forth.

Apologies now in advance for this, as I am sure it has been asked a million times but any recommendations of what might be a good starter point that is suitable for the family?

I think I would prefer telescope, as would appeal to me more, but also open to maybe decent binoculars, which I think may be easier for a smaller child?  I don't know what to do! :-s

Primary thing is getting a decent, stable view of the moon at the moment, and if the interest develops then I can move on beyond that to higher spec later if needs be.

Any help appreciated. :)

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I started out with this http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-explorer-130p.html will give you views of the moon that will get you hooked. This can be an expensive hobby once you go both feet in but as a starter you cant go wrong with this great for the money[emoji106]

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Edited by Bubbles82
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I started out with this http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-explorer-130p.html will give you views of the moon that will get you hooked. This can be an expensive hobby once you go both feet in but as a starter you cant go wrong with this great for the money[emoji106]

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thanks Bubbles, Is this likely the price point I am looking at as a family intro do you think?

I see lower rate Celestrons and Skywatchers fro sort of £60 upwards, just not sure if they are realistically Rubbish and not worth the cash and so forth.

I might even have a look at the second hand market as well, might be able to pick soemthing like this up at under £100?

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I would not suggest an equatorial mount as the eye piece can end up in strange positions not good for family use.

A few ideas on this page it does depend on budget.

Don't think binoculars for a 4 year old would be great they may find too heavy and struggle to get eye in right place.

Heritage 100p small investment but get you started.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes.html

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I would not suggest an equatorial mount as the eye piece can end up in strange positions not good for family use.

A few ideas on this page it does depend on budget.

Don't think binoculars for a 4 year old would be great they may find too heavy and struggle to get eye in right place.

Heritage 100p small investment but get you started.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes.html

I assume the equitorial mount is just the eye piece off centered to the side is it?

Apologies again, I haven't even started looking properly into all this yet, so not sure on all of the terms and so forth. :-s

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I would begin with a refractor. Simple and easy to use, there are some good 80mm ones around which on a simple alt az mount wouth give a stable view.

I think an EQ mount would not be best for a 4 years old.

Have a look at the Skywatcher Star Travel ones, they are good for their price.

Welcome to SGL

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The equatorial mount refers to the tripod. This mount rotates with the earth hence eye piece position moving.

A dobsonian or altaz mount is straight forward to use. Left right up down.

A refractor looks like what a 4 year old might draw a telescope too.

Hi too, bad of me to forget :-)

Edited by happy-kat
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I would begin with a refractor. Simple and easy to use, there are some good 80mm ones around which on a simple alt az mount wouth give a stable view.

I think an EQ mount would not be best for a 4 years old.

Have a look at the Skywatcher Star Travel ones, they are good for their price.

Welcome to SGL

Thank you.  I'll take a look.

No the equatorial mount refers to the tripod. This mount rotates with the earth hence eye piece position moving.

A dobsonian or altaz mount is straight forward to use. Left right up down.

Hi too, bad of me to forget :-)

Haha, no worries, the advice is good and that's what I was asking for! :)  Cheers though, appreciated.

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I agree with the idea of a small tabletop scope like the Sky-Watcher Heritage:  http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-heritage-100p-tabletop-dobsonian.html

Or possibly a little refracting telescope: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-astromaster-series/celestron-astromaster-70az.html

The advantage of the Heritage is that it can be placed on a garden table or something like that. 

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The heritage suggested above is a good start as well. I still use my 130p when I can't be out for long, the eyepiece can end up in strange angles but not had a problem myself. Both the suggestions Are really quick and easy to plonk in the garden and get observing. Finally don't spent too much as the initial interest can easily wear off quickly with children.

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The heritage suggested above is a good start as well. I still use my 130p when I can't be out for long, the eyepiece can end up in strange angles but not had a problem myself. Both the suggestions Are really quick and easy to plonk in the garden and get observing. Finally don't spent too much as the initial interest can easily wear off quickly with children.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yeah, precisely what I am worried about.

What is the Heritage 76 like?  Anyone know?  Shorter focal length, so assuming less detail of distant object, but not sure if it would be good enough for my daughter, and being very small might appeal to her?

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This is lovely, it's great when little ones become aware of the magic of the heavens.

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This is lovely, it's great when little ones become aware of the magic of the heavens.

Yeah, I was very impressed, I was genuinely shocked when she came out with it.

Good to encourage things though I think, may not stick, but one of the things she shows an interest in will, and that could be something that she might do for the rest of her life!

It will turn out to be shopping probably but one can hope! lol

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I think the 76 you refer to is too small.

A 80mm refractor is different in the sense size is not always comparable.

Edited by happy-kat

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I think the 76 you refer to is too small.

A 80mm refractor is different in the sense size is not always comparable.

Ah ok, I didn't really understand what you just said to me but I trust you! lmao.

I need to get to grips with all this terminology and understand what, in real world terms it all means.

Maybe I should of tried to do that before posting, but keen to get on it and try and get something ordered as Pay day is today so seems the time to get on it :)

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I would suggest a refractor to start with. I got one for my granddaughter last year (7 years old) and she is totally amazed with it.

She has wanted to be an astronaut since she was 4. 

She loves being out with me looking at and learning about the sky. I think the cold bothers me more than her  :smiley:

May you spend many hours looking at the wonders of the universe.

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I would suggest a refractor to start with. I got one for my granddaughter last year (7 years old) and she is totally amazed with it.

She has wanted to be an astronaut since she was 4. 

She loves being out with me looking at and learning about the sky. I think the cold bothers me more than her  :smiley:

May you spend many hours looking at the wonders of the universe.

I will see what I can find.

Think I might look second hand market, hopefully pick up something fairly nice for sort of £75 or summin like that maybe.

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Yeah, precisely what I am worried about.

What is the Heritage 76 like?  Anyone know?  Shorter focal length, so assuming less detail of distant object, but not sure if it would be good enough for my daughter, and being very small might appeal to her?

I've got one of these, it's not bad, and will give decent views of the Moon. Regardless of what is claimed, it won't really magnify more than 15x or 20x well. It would be easy for a four year old to use I reckon.

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I have a grand daughter of 5 and she uses a Heritage 100 to look at the moon when she stays with me. She can even find the Moon and some of the easy stars by herself, so I think this would definitely suit you.

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don't forget here to buy a star wheel. you can explain here how it works like a pro because most of the time the instructions are written on the back of it  :grin: . and it still is the best way for every age to learn there way amongst the stars. and if you see a bright star which is not standing on your map... point the scope at it. it might be a planet

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My nephew has a herritage 76mm, a good entry scope for the money though its secondary is easily knocked out of kilter; the build is 'ok' but not fantastic.

Refractors are generally less maintanance, (important for use by children) but cost a little more.

Ben

Edited by Jim Steele

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Actually, I've been looking at the specs for this: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-astromaster-series/celestron-astromaster-70az.html and it looks quite good. Not only can it be used as a terrestrial scope it has a 900mm focal length. This should enable 90x to 150x magnification to be achieved fairly easily. It would give superb views of the Moon and planets I should imagine. 

Edited by Mak the Night

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For a 4 yr old and her daddy..............i cant think of anything better then a Skywatcher Heritage 130P. Its sold as a tabletop scope (for adults), but placed on level ground........it would be great for a 4 yr old (with help from dad to point it in the direction of the Moon). Then dad could easily sit in a chair and get the same great views. 

I am in a wheelchair and comfortably use this scope while seated.

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