Jump to content

740427863_Terminatorchallenge.jpg.2f4cb93182b2ce715fac5aa75b0503c8.jpg

Telescope for my son


Recommended Posts

Hi,

My son is really intrested in the moon and stars and has asked for a telescope for christmas. He is young - only 4years old.

I have no idea where to start with looking for one, could anyone recommend somewhere to get one from ?

I dont want a really cheap one that will break in 2 seconds, as I would love to have a look myself. iv seen a few on the maplins website but i dont have a clue what im looking at!

Any help would be great.

Thanks in advance

H x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Hollie,

Welcome to the forum. Do you have some idea of budget?

I think the best bet is perhaps one of the Heritage scopes from Skywatcher.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/skywatcher-heritage-76-mini-dobsonian.html

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/skywatcher-heritage-100p-tabletop-dobsonian.html

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html

Very easy to use, but you will have to learn how to find things by using a star map or planetarium programmed on a phone or laptop. You should get great views of the moon and will be able to see a fair number of brighter objects, depending upon your skies of course.

You may get recommended a pair of binoculars. Personally I think it's easier to get the object in view then let your son have a look, with binos he will have to hold them steady and find the object which might be tricky.

Stu

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two examples below.

This is the Heritage 100p mentioned above (also comes with a bigger mirror heritage 130p) which is a very portable reflector telescope on an easy to use mount.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-heritage-100p-tabletop-dobsonian.html

This is a portable refractor on an easy to use tripod. This size has a place in the grab and go camp and a guide telescope for those into serious imaging.

vhttp://www.firstlightoptics.com/startravel/skywatcher-startravel-80-az3.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Hollieharry, and welcome to the forum.

Personally, I wouldn't buy from places like Maplins. For starters, have a look at beginners 'scopes on the FLO site (click the logo at the top of the page). You may feel overwhelmed! But do come back and ask some more questions. How much is Father Christmas prepared to spend?

It is a bit of a dilemma for a 4 year old. I think you may have to take up the hobby youself! My 5 year old grandson is interested in "space stuff" and I 've wondered if he could manage a 'scope. Not on his own Idon't think.

Ian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You say you don't want something cheap that will break, I reckon the more expensive the scope the more fragile! I'd be looking at a refractor or a maksutov as they'll take a knock and bang much better than a newt. Maksutov will get you really close to the moon and even give views of Jupiter and Saturn with a Barlow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll agree with the suggestion to get hold of a planisphere and / or stellarium.  Have your son see what he can find with the planisphere, then use which ever telescope you decide on.  You could always buy the planisphere now and strike whilst his interest is 'hot' so to speak.

michael

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Hollie and welcome.

I'd suggest a table top scope but a refractor rather than a reflector. Mainly because it won't need collimating and you/he can just point and look without any other distractions.

This 80mm scope can also be attached to a photo tripod which might be useful for when he gets a bit bigger.

http://www.scsastro.co.uk/catalogue/orion-goscope-80-refractor.htm?gclid=CLjB19n7-cgCFYu6GwodqMMLDw

Edited by Scooot
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another thing to consider (with the scope) if you have a tablet or smart phone is to get one of the planetarium aps that shows the stars as you hold it up to the night sky.  One poster here described lying on a blanket with his children using the ap to learn the names of the stars and constellations. 

A gyro enabled one will follow round the sky and can put up pictures of the things the constellations are named for.

Here's one such ap but there are lots to choose from:

post-38153-0-38902800-1446752756.jpg

post-38153-0-65784500-1446752803.jpg

Edited by almcl
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that a table-top model is best for an inquisitive 4 year-old Einstein. Reflector or refractor - either should be robust and very easy to use. I can't see a 4 year old performing collimation. But I can see his father inadvertently teaching his little boy some truly colourful words when Dad tries to collimate it the first time! The telescope should come with eyepieces - usually 2 - and you might also consider a Zoom eyepiece. These are lot's of fun for kids & adults. It's like skydiving on the Moon! A Seben 8mm - 24mm Zoom is ideal.

People here can continue to teach you things like: "What is a reflector?" And so forth.

And also endorse downloading a copy of Stellarium, which is a planetarium-program you set to your location & time. Then load it with the objects you'd like to see and explore. And it will give you beautiful & realistic image of your night-sky. Other such programs cost upwards of £200. Stellarium - one of the truly best - is FREE.

Here are some links and a screenshot of what mine looks like:

http://www.stellarium.org/
 
As for instructions, the most current one's are posted in Wiki due to their being new features & functions being created almost daily. There is also a Pdf. that's almost up-to-date. Here's the Wiki-Link:
 
http://www.stellarium.org/wiki/index.php/Stellarium_User_Guide
 
And the Pdf. is here:
 
http://barry.sarcasmogerdes.com/stellarium/stellarium_user_guide-new.pdf
 
This should help you to find just about everything under the Sun.

Enjoy!

Dave

post-38438-0-40102600-1446758507_thumb.p

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously you will be the one setting up and dismantling the scope as he's only four. I'd be inclined to go for a small refractor of around 80mm or 90mm aperture. It will show fine examples of all the major objects, particularly the moon and planets, which may leave an indelible mark on your sons memory and inspire him in later life. A refractor will work straight out of the box and if you get fed up looking at the moon etc, just cap it up and stick it under the bed or at the back of the wardrobe. When his interest is rekindled, as it undoubtedly will be as he gets older, dig out the scope and it will thrill him all over again.

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good advice there, I would like to add be sure to make it clear to him the dangers of pointing it at the sun. He should be able to understand at that age but I would also keep it somewhere he won't be tempted to use it in the day.

/Dan

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for the advice! i will look into everything you have said.

Dont have an amount in mind, have no idea what the cost for these are. I found a childrens one in a store for £15.00 but im sure he wont be seeing much with that lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firstly Welcome to SGL.

Secondly, thank <insert deity here> that you didn't spend on a scope from Maplins, Argos or anywhere like that.   (I made that mistake, but was able to get my money back... many years ago ;-))

I've been thinking about getting a Heritage scope myself, even though I have a bit telescope.   My thoughts are between the 100p and the 130p.

Pointing to the moon, jupiter and saturn will be very rewarding. Also over the coming months, you've got the Pleiades, Great Orion Nebula in the sky to name a couple of easy show stoppers ;-)

Also, whilst you are at it, there is a book called "Turn left at orion" it is a fantastic book that will give you plenty of things to observe in the night sky all year round, and that's only the beginning!

In case you are wondering, yes I have an expensive computerised telescope will all the trimmings.  In a good night, I use that for Astrophotography, which means I set-up the scope then don't touch it whilst it's taking photos for hours.  I'm thinking about getting a Heratige 100p or 130p myself so that whilst my big scope is taking photos, I can be making the most of the night sky.   I'm very sure that either of these scopes will be up to what you need, mainly because I'm very much looking to get one for myself ;-)

I great piece of advice don't get caught up in the idea of a computerised scope - The most important thing is the view that you get when looking at the target, so whilst a computerised or "Goto" scope will aid navigating the night sky, it does add a considerable cost to the overall price.   Bigger optics are better.  the Heratige 130p will give a might brighter and more contrasty (is that a word?) image, basically the light gathering is better and that is the single most important job of a telescope.  You'll get a much better image with a heratige 130p that costs about £130, than you will with a Celestron NexStar 90SLT Telescope that costs about £381 from maplin.  The reason is that the 90mm of the NexStar 90SLT comparted to the 130mm of the 130p.

Besides, it can be find trying to find something in the night sky ;-)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Always a tricky question as to which telescope to get for your child, especially one as young as 4 years old. A table top scope might be best at his young age, plus perhaps a refractor might be better and more intuitive at his age to be able to move it around and view things. Also, most beginner refractors have a erect image view, so that the scope can be used to view things in the daytime too, but double check this first before you get one.

If I remember my first scope which I got for Christmas when I was about 9 I think It was it certainly wasn't anything grand, but just getting images of the moon, and then when I found Jupiter and Saturn too was enough to get me hooked. The Celestron Travelscope 70 is a good place perhaps to start. Great for basic astronomy, ideal for terrestrial views in the daytime too, and portable enough to boot too. In fact the weight of the full pack with the tripod in the backpack is extremely light. You can also upgrade to new eyepieces too if you do get hooked, which when you want to get perhaps something larger you can use the eyepieces with too. With a little bit of searching you can get this scope for less than stated in this link too.

https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/Celestron_Travel_Scope_70_Telescope.html#SID=9

Edited by Knighty2112
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't know if you are still reading this HH but FLO have sort of put together a beginners scope in response to the advert on TV. Their's is a Celestron LT 60 on and AZ mount (manual). Cost is £59 and it includes 2 eyepieces (at some time you will likely want to improve on these I would say - if the interest persisits).

It is nice and simple, no bits to cause a problem, which is good.

Link is: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/celestron-cosmos-lt-60az.html

It seems almost made for an inquisitive 4 year old.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Don't know if you are still reading this HH but FLO have sort of put together a beginners scope in response to the advert on TV. Their's is a Celestron LT 60 on and AZ mount (manual). Cost is £59 and it includes 2 eyepieces (at some time you will likely want to improve on these I would say - if the interest persisits).

It is nice and simple, no bits to cause a problem, which is good.

Link is: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/celestron-cosmos-lt-60az.html

It seems almost made for an inquisitive 4 year old.

thanks everyone for your help. Ronin i think im going to go for the one you suggested.....Link is: http://www.firstligh...os-lt-60az.html

they have a deal saying

Buy the Celestron Cosmos LT 60AZ and Celestron 2x Barlow to save £5, what is a.....Celestron 2x Barlow ??? should i get this ??
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Barlow is a device which when fitted between the telescope and the eyepiece increases the magnification of the eyepiece. Out of the box your telescope comes with two eyepieces, 20mm and 10mm giving magnifications of 35 and 70 times. The x2 Barlow on offer will double these, but as you see, will only give one new level of magnification of 140x. This is in fact pushing it right to the limits of your telescope. (Normally double the telescope's aperture in milimeters to give the maximum usable magnification, in your case 120x).

This said, if an extra fiver won't break the bank, take a chance but don't expect too much. Views of the moon when conditions are very good may show spectacular detail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, I misread the offer. I thought it said a Barlow for a fiver, rather than saving a fiver on the bundle. For the reasons above, I wouldn't bother. As you and your son hopefully develop your interest in astronomy, you can upgrade the EPs over time, maybe buying secondhand.

One accessory which might be useful from the outset, however, is a moon filter to reduce its brightness. FLO seem to only have excellent but expensive moon filters, I have a pretty nasty Cestestron version with a horrible plastic ring - but as a filter it works fine and should be cheap enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't know if you are still reading this HH but FLO have sort of put together a beginners scope in response to the advert on TV. Their's is a Celestron LT 60 on and AZ mount (manual). Cost is £59 and it includes 2 eyepieces (at some time you will likely want to improve on these I would say - if the interest persisits).

It is nice and simple, no bits to cause a problem, which is good.

Link is: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/celestron-cosmos-lt-60az.html

It seems almost made for an inquisitive 4 year old.

I was really at a loss to think of anything suitable for use by a 4 yr old and still am to a degree. However the Cosmos scope and planetarium software seem like a really good combo. A 60mm scope may be enough for a child to keep them happy, but i think the 90mm version may be more suitable as both father and son would use the scope together. A 90mm refractor with a 700mm focal length is a pretty powerful tool. 

The only "telescope" i had when i was 4 was an eagle-eye action-man. There was a hole in the back of his head and you looked into it and you saw what he saw......only magnified a bit by a cheap plastic magnifying glass which was one of his eyes.

Mind you, i didnt start in astronomy til the ripe old age of 6 and then it was with a planisphere and 10x50 bins.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A refractor is definitely the way to go, for the simple reason they don't need regular collimation to get the best out of the optics. To get the best views, get a 'scope with the widest lens as you can afford (make sure it comes with a mount, if the advert says OTA it just means the 'scope with no mount); 60 is good, 70 is better, 90 is better still.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-astromaster-series/celestron-astromaster-70az.html

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-astromaster-series/astromaster-90az-telescope.html

Either of those (or the LT 60 mentioned above) will give you and your son some great views of the night sky, but don't expect anything like you see in magazines or online, there's a big difference between the scopes anyone on here owns and the Hubble space telescope ;)

Edited by BritAngler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A simple 80mm Refractor.  http://www.telescope.com/Orion-ShortTube-80-Refractor-Telescope-Optical-Tube-Assembly/p/9948.uts?keyword=Refractor%20st80.

He can view the sky and also look at birds and wildlife with it.  He can take it with him in the back seat of the automobile.  It's small, lightweight.  Small child- small telescope.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.