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StarGazing

New to all this - Suitable family telescopes

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StarGazing........Simple, buy your daughter a Barbie doll, she's only 4, make the point stick, just tell her, even  if she  has ten already! and buy yourself a 200mm 8" Dobsonian telescope. Don't be swayed when she drops those sad eyes and whimpers at you? She'll  be quite content wrapped up in her bed with her new Barbie friend, fast asleep by 8pm, meanwhile your 8"  scope is outside  cooling for the observing session later,  the baby monitor is charged and ready to go,  so  you can gaze all night at the stars, leaving the Mrs in peace to do whatever she wants as you`ll be outside freezing your nuts off, and young daughter will be sound asleep.

If none of that works have a peek here at some of  these table top telescopes. http://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage.html 

I'm sure with a little help and tuition, she will learn how it all works, and if the interest gets more intense, then maybe you will look at a bigger scope for yourself?

There is such a vast array to offer, and it all makes sense if/when  you know where you want to head in the hobby and how much you want / need to spend. Binoculars are also a great investment, even a small spotting scope could be ok for a child?

I would stay away from an equatorial mount, especially for the child, its not easy to understand, even after tuition, there can be frustration with that type of mount, but not impossible. I had ( still have an EQ system ) don't like it, never will for my present needs ). A GoTo scope could be handy, but you would need to learn the intricacies of setting up and everything to do with the scope. The good thing about a GoTo is that it will find your targets and lock onto them, so after acquisition, then its hands off whilst studying the image through the viewfinder. 

Maybe try a visit to a local club, get some visual as to how big everything is, and what  looks the best option for you/child from the advice and knowledge from the experts at the club.

Have fun in the meantime trying to fathom it all out, but don't hesitate to keep asking :smiley:

Edited by Charic

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My little 5 year-old grandson is into everything 'space', and it went through my mind just what would be a suitable 'scope for him, if he ever wanted one. I'm only too well aware of the limitations of the  "department store" toy 'scopes, so recommendations for low priced but competent instruments is very helpful.

Ian

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To ensure your child's interest in future, wow them with this...

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-150p-az4-mount.html

I take lovely afocal photographs with my 150mm f/5, and simply by holding a point-and-shoot camera up to the eyepiece.  What you see in the following images is what is seen live at the eyepiece...

"The Moon Maiden Looking Out to Sea"...

post-47381-0-91296800-1446095447.jpg

M13, the great globular cluster in the constellation Heracles...

post-47381-0-55002100-1446096278.jpg

M42, the Orion Nebula...

post-47381-0-46784300-1446096314.jpg

Jupiter and two of its moons...

post-47381-0-09620600-1446095877.jpg

post-47381-0-60164600-1446095936.jpg

My kit, as illustrated, is with the tripod's legs fully extended and the mount-head atop a pier extension.  The kit sold by FLO would not be as tall.

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Thanks everyone for all the ideas and suggestion.  All much appreciated.

I showed some of the options to my daughter, along with a barbie but she is dead set on a telescope, and seems to like the 100P.  I figured if I let her have a say in the equipment we buy, then she is more likely to use and interact with it, hopefully.  So looks like it's a 100p for us as a starter scope.

Not sure how good a detail I will see of things with it, but if it takes off and we both enjoy doing it together and can keep it up, then I might spend a few hundred after christmas etc and get something a little more decent. :) 

Really just to see how interested she remains at this stage.

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As no one seems to agree what the 'right way up' is for anything in the sky, that's not a huge handicap :@)

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As no one seems to agree what the 'right way up' is for anything in the sky, that's not a huge handicap :@)

It might be to a four year old.

http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-10mm-erecting-eyepiece-125.html

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00CAOK0UO?keywords=erecting%20eyepiece&qid=1446126240&ref_=sr_1_9&sr=8-9

Edited by Mak the Night

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Thanks everyone for all the ideas and suggestion.  All much appreciated.

I showed some of the options to my daughter, along with a barbie but she is dead set on a telescope, and seems to like the 100P.  I figured if I let her have a say in the equipment we buy, then she is more likely to use and interact with it, hopefully.  So looks like it's a 100p for us as a starter scope.

Not sure how good a detail I will see of things with it, but if it takes off and we both enjoy doing it together and can keep it up, then I might spend a few hundred after christmas etc and get something a little more decent. :)

Really just to see how interested she remains at this stage.

That one will make for a very good starter 'scope.  It has a parabolic primary mirror, and keeping it aligned(collimated) in relation to the secondary mirror, for best image, will be easier as it is fixed into a permanent position.  It's a bit fast at f/4, and therefore well-suited for observing the brighter deep-sky objects.  The included 2x barlow will allow you to bring the features of the Moon and planets up closer, especially when combined with the 10mm eyepiece.  It will perform similarly to at least an unobstructed 70mm f/6 achromatic refractor, but without the chromatic aberration that plagues fast achromats, and all within a much smaller, compact kit. 

The telescope is virtually identical to the Orion "SkyScanner" sold in the States...

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Reflector-Telescopes/TableTop-Reflector-Telescopes/Orion-SkyScanner-100mm-TableTop-Reflector-Telescope/pc/1/c/11/sc/340/p/102007.uts?refineByCategoryId=340

There are 67 user-reviews, and overwhelmingly in its favour.  It had piqued my interest when I first saw it, as a grab-and-go, and I'm still considering it.

Good choice!

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There are some good reviews of it on here too.

When looking at the sky right way up, or inverted, is forgotten especially if looking at the Moon as what you see is way more than naked eye so probably wont even notice it is not the same orientation.

The Moon when not full is amazing to look at as you see the edge and all the craters.

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There are some good reviews of it on here too.

When looking at the sky right way up, or inverted, is forgotten especially if looking at the Moon as what you see is way more than naked eye so probably wont even notice it is not the same orientation.

The Moon when not full is amazing to look at as you see the edge and all the craters.

In my opinion, although the Sky-Watcher 10 & 25mm modified achromat eyepieces are quite usable, some Sky-Watcher Barlows included with telescopes (if there is a Barlow included with the Skywatcher Heritage-100P) are virtually unusable and quite disappointingly poor in my experience. The often maligned SW eyepieces are surprisingly decent however. 

I think for a beginner or a child the upside-down world of the Newtonian telescope can be quite frustrating. Especially when trying to frame objects moving rapidly with right ascension.

Plus, most lunar maps aren't inverted in the books I have. 

Edited by Mak the Night

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It will perform similarly to at least an unobstructed 70mm f/6 achromatic refractor, but without the chromatic aberration that plagues fast achromats, and all within a much smaller, compact kit. 

I didn't think about the chromatic aberration on an inexpensive refractor.  Is it particularly noticeable? 

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I didn't think about the chromatic aberration on an inexpensive refractor.  Is it particularly noticeable? 

The level of said aberration is noticeable within this afocal photograph taken with my Antares 80mm f/6...

post-47381-0-90852600-1446145710_thumb.j

The camera however, a Canon S110, tends to intesify it, especially the blue.  Even less is seen live at the eyepiece.  I feel that I received a well-controlled example, per its focal-ratio, but it is nonetheless like playing roulette when considering any fast-achromat manufactured in China, particularly the ever-popular Orion ST80 80mm f/5 sold in the U.S., along with its house-branded siblings sold throughout the world.  I almost purchased an Orion ST80 myself, until I discovered and purchased the Antares 805 instead with its superlative 2" GSO rack-and-pinion focusser; and the optical tube of all-metal construction save the focusser knobs and the focusser-drawtube baffles, the latter having been removed upon their discovery and for fear of their cutting into the light-cone.

Then there are those who find it bothersome with an 80mm f/11 or a 102mm f/10.  It's all a matter of individual preference.  I had a Vixen 102mm f/10 for a very short while, then returned it and got a Takahashi 102mm f/8 apochromat instead...

post-47381-0-84731600-1446149328.jpg

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star wheel I think is a plannisphere, they are great

Correct , you can set it to the right date on the right hour. than just keep it above your head with prefferable a red light. turn your planisphere so that the winddirections on it pointing to the right side. and start comparing what you see on the chart and in the heaven. it may take a while but it is quite fun once you start to see the patterns.

A little tip : most of the constellations are not bigger than the size of a spread hand hold on an armlength . every person must measure this for him self but a spread hand with a fully stretched hand of a 4yo (for example)  measures as much (more or less) as your spread hand with a fully stretched arm.

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The level of said aberration is noticeable within this afocal photograph taken with my Antares 80mm f/6...

attachicon.gif100115c.jpg

The camera however, a Canon S110, tends to intesify it, especially the blue.  Even less is seen live at the eyepiece.  I feel that I received a well-controlled example, per its focal-ratio, but it is nonetheless like playing roulette when considering any fast-achromat manufactured in China, particularly the ever-popular Orion ST80 80mm f/5 sold in the U.S., along with its house-branded siblings sold throughout the world.  I almost purchased an Orion ST80 myself, until I discovered and purchased the Antares 805 instead with its superlative 2" GSO rack-and-pinion focusser; and the optical tube of all-metal construction save the focusser knobs and the focusser-drawtube baffles, the latter having been removed upon their discovery and for fear of their cutting into the light-cone.

Then there are those who find it bothersome with an 80mm f/11 or a 102mm f/10.  It's all a matter of individual preference.  I had a Vixen 102mm f/10 for a very short while, then returned it and got a Takahashi 102mm f/8 apochromat instead...

attachicon.gif083115h.jpg

Thanks for the info and pictures. I guess there's a good reason why quality 'fracs' cost what they do lol! 

Edited by Mak the Night

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Correct , you can set it to the right date on the right hour. than just keep it above your head with prefferable a red light. turn your planisphere so that the winddirections on it pointing to the right side. and start comparing what you see on the chart and in the heaven. it may take a while but it is quite fun once you start to see the patterns.

A little tip : most of the constellations are not bigger than the size of a spread hand hold on an armlength . every person must measure this for him self but a spread hand with a fully stretched hand of a 4yo (for example)  measures as much (more or less) as your spread hand with a fully stretched arm.

I've owned the Phillip's one since I've been at school, it's not easy to use in the dark though even with a Pellor. Until I found this: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/david-chandler-night-sky-planisphere.html

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- what about a nice pair of binoculars? They are cheap and very effective for young eyes, very versatile and help learn your way around the sky - after all, which is better, being able to say "that's Deneb" or seeing a smudge called Mnn...

As a child, I was far more fascinated by learning the names of stars and constellations than seeing them in depth.

P

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Thanks for the info and pictures. I guess there's a good reason why quality 'fracs' cost what they do lol! 

Here's M13 when viewing through my 6" f/5 Newtonian(left), and when viewing with my Takahashi FS-102 102mm f/8(right)...

post-47381-0-51524800-1446180241_thumb.j

The globular cluster appears brighter in the Newtonian, but only slightly.  M13 glistened, sparkled even, when I viewed it live through the Takahashi, and when the photograph was taken.  But not so when I observed it through the Newtonian; no, not at all.

That's one of the advantages of refractors; the best image per inch of aperture, and beyond even in the case of a fine apochromat.

At the time I decided upon the Takahashi, there was only one other apochromat that I had considered: the Tele Vue TV102.  In the end, the fact that the TV102 exhibited more light-scattering was the deciding factor.

What accounts for the FS-102's exceptional control of light-scattering lies within its exquisite calcium-fluorite doublet, not to mention what I describe as its "delicious" multi-coatings...

post-47381-0-44465800-1446180696.jpg

Said control allowed me to split Sirius A and B("The Pup") back in 2003 when the two were practically adjacent to each other.  The intense glare from Sirius A could not hide "The Pup" from the Takahashi. 

Perhaps astoundingly, around the same time, I had read that a 102mm telescope could not split the two.

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Lovely scope Alan, I do like my Taks too. Let's remember though this thread is about a starter scope for a four year old so high end refractors are not really relevant, however nice they may be.

It looks like the OP has settled on a 100P which seems like a very good choice.

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CA isn't a hinderance to many people. It will be more obvious in astro-photography. Especially in side-by-side images with an APO or triplet-lensed scope v. Achromat. So if a bit of a purple-blue around bright objects would cause you umbrage - save up for the triplet/APO. Used scopes are also an option.

I grew up on refractors that had some CA as being part of the course. No one cared back in the Stone-Age. But the more people who try a triplet/APO, the more CA seems to become a more feared situation. I'm lucky - i'm not bothered by it.

I love my F/5 & F/9.3,

Dave

post-38438-0-55992300-1446189784.jpg

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I wish I understood what most fo you were saying! haha.

I'll start with the 100p, see how we get on, and I guess as I start actually using it then the terminology and so forth will come a bit more natural as I explore. :)

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I've owned the Phillip's one since I've been at school, it's not easy to use in the dark though even with a Pellor. Until I found this: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/david-chandler-night-sky-planisphere.html

I'm 'borrowing' my daughters Phillips one - but it's the LUMINOUS version :grin:

I';ve oprdered my own though, a version which will have a lot more info on it (planet data on the back) so I can add some line that show what is and isn't visible from my back garden.

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I wish I understood what most fo you were saying! haha.

I'll start with the 100p, see how we get on, and I guess as I start actually using it then the terminology and so forth will come a bit more natural as I explore. :)

Don't worry about all that, you'll pick it up in time and for the moment it simply isn't important. The 100p will be a great little starter scope, have some fun on the Moon and Jupiter when it rises earlier and just see where you go from there. Objects like the Great Orion Nebula and the Seven Sisters will soon be rising at a more sensible time, and it is dark early so easy to get some observing in before bedtime [emoji3]

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Don't worry about all that, you'll pick it up in time and for the moment it simply isn't important. The 100p will be a great little starter scope, have some fun on the Moon and Jupiter when it rises earlier and just see where you go from there. Objects like the Great Orion Nebula and the Seven Sisters will soon be rising at a more sensible time, and it is dark early so easy to get some observing in before bedtime [emoji3]

Yep, It is getting dark at a good time now to start looking.  Getting the garden done in 2 weeks too so getting a proper patio and stuff laid, so will make myself a really nice little obervation point somehow once that is done! lol.

Should be good fun. :)

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