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NordicSyene

First telescope for father and son

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Good evening,

 

My seven year old son is showing an interest in astronomy, and I would like to support this interest. Consequently, it is time to buy a telescope. We've used some old binoculars 7x50, and the moon is a big favourite in these.

I'm hoping to buy a telescope that can show the rings of Saturn, Jupiter, and something that can split easier double stars. I am sure whatever we buy, it will show the moon in better detail than my old binoculars.

The budget is £500-£900. It must cover the postage to Norway.

My first thought was an 8" Dobsonian. It seems to be the "default" recommendation to any beginner. However, I've reconsidered due to the portability.

At the moment I am thinking of the Skymax 127 Mak. It seems to offer excellent portability, and from what I can read will work well on the targets above. The AZ Gti wifi mount looks tempting with this scope.

Am I on the right track here? Should I consider other alternatives? I looked at the Evostar 100ED, but it will not fit the budget unfortunately. I will buy the telescope from FLO.

Edited by NordicSyene
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I think the Skymax 127 sounds like a great option. The Skyliner 200p is the normally recommendation, yet as you have mentioned isn't as portable, and would be cumbersome and possibly off putting for your son. The AZ Gti mount has GOTO, which is probably preferable over a manual when showing objects to small kids, as it will track the object in the eyepiece. The most off putting thing for a young child is going out into the cold expecting to see something incredible and then you not being able to find anything, or when you finally find something, it immediately drifts out of the field of view. This mount should hopefully help avoid this. Maks are often recommended for planetary and lunar viewing, so you should get good views, and the 5 inch aperture is enough for your intended targets. Do realise though that the planets can only been seen in the morning currently and are not well placed in the sky for a few years. Hope this helps

 

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The skywatcher star discovery 150p is a great starter scope for father and child

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/sky-watcher-star-discovery-150p.html

here are some advantages over a dob for your circumstances 

1. It has motors and tracking, you find and centre the object. The scope tracks and your son can take time at the eyepiece to enjoy the view.

2. The dob is so high that you will have to hold your son at the eyepiece. This is a better height for a child.

the AZ gti wifi is also a good idea. 

 

Good luck,

Alan

Edited by alanjgreen

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Excellent choice, and will be a good on planets and the moon, and also show most DSO’s pretty well, especially with care with the goto mount. :) 

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If the 200P Skyliner is not portable enough, then maybe the smaller 150P could be considered.

The 200P  fully assembled can be easily carried by an able Dad, or separated and carried by father and Son?

AS for Planetary stuff, although the scopes are recommended. I have only seen Jupiter once in its full glory, and the image was small. 

More often than not, the weather and the seeing conditions will make or break any observing session.

The old 7x50's are still a good option, especially for the younger pair of eyes.

Any scope that you mount up on a tripod needs  more than just setting up,  it needs several adjustments, and quite often. I had a simple Equatorial mount, that to be honest, was a waste of time, I spent more time adjusting than viewing, specifically that scope so avoid the Powerseeker 127EQ? 

For total simplicity and ease of use, you cant fault a basic Dobsonian type setup. 6" aperture is a good start, though I think the 8" should be your minimum, the 10 &12" scopes will gather more light, due to the larger aperture, providing more detail, but the conditions themselves will dictate what your scope can achieve,  and as to what you will eventually see, not just the price of the scope.

Welcome to the SGL.

 

Edited by Charic

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Either of the above scopes. Glad you have ruled out the 8" Dob on the grounds of portability. 

I think i'd also go with the 127mm

 

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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19 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

The dob is so high that you will have to hold your son at the eyepiece.

On your 20" maybe!

No one who has looked through my scope has needed anything more than a chair to sit on, the focuser is probably just under 4 feet from the ground when vertical.

The best option for the family  is to go and see a telescope in use at a club meeting.

Edited by Charic

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21 minutes ago, Charic said:

On your 20" maybe!

No one who has looked through my scope has needed anything more than a chair to sit on, the focuser is probably just under 4 feet from the ground when vertical.

The best option for the family  is to go and see a telescope in use at a club meeting.

Disagree. Im a wheelchair user and i have met a 6,8 inch Dob up close from my seated position and the EP was out of reach for most objects. My wheelchair is the same height from the ground as a standard kitchen chair.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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Since it seems like you are from Norway too, I`d  like to give a slight warning : Jupiter, Saturn (and Mars 2018) will be very low in the sky the Next few years I`m afraid. So if Youre living a bit up North in Norway, the planets might be Next to impossible to observe for a while. 

 

Rune

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Hello and welcome to the SGL.

I think the Mak is the better choice. I am a great fan of Dobs but even the 130 mm would perhaps be over powering for your son. I introduced my grand son to astronomy a couple of years ago when he was much the same age as your boy. By far and away my Mak on a tracking mount was his favourite scope. In fact he now has one himself.

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7 minutes ago, Pondus said:

Since it seems like you are from Norway too, I`d  like to give a slight warning : Jupiter, Saturn (and Mars 2018) will be very low in the sky the Next few years I`m afraid. So if Youre living a bit up North in Norway, the planets might be Next to impossible to observe for a while. 

 

Rune

 

I live as far south as you can come in Norway, and we have a few dark sites, with a view due south across sea. Still, as you say, Mars in opposition will be very low, so I am not expecting miracles....Still I think with the tent and everything that goes with, we can have a nice night with a portable telescope. As you know, hiking and the stars is an excellent mix.

Edited by NordicSyene
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Good Luck With Your Choice of telescope  :happy11:

And Lucky you, my kid couldnt care less about astronomy ....

 

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5 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

"And Lucky you, my kid couldnt care less about astronomy ....".

Not meaning to be argumentative here, but this is a comment i have seen time and time again.

It baffles me why so many people want/try to get their kids into the same things that they are interested in. I started observing when i was 6 yrs old. My dad bought me 10x50 bins and a planisphere and said "you're on your own". He had no interest.

Its up to each person (adult or child) to be interested or not. You cant force them to be interested.

Just sayin.

I don't think he meant to "force" his kid to be interested. Just that it is of course always nice when you can connect through a common interest. My son has no interest in football, while I'm a passionate Arsenal supporter. I've been going to the Arsenal since the early 80s, but my son has no interest. I'll be honest to say that for me that is a bit sad, but you as you say "you cant force them to be interested". But he is interested in the stars, so I'll try to find common ground there.

My wife would say that any telescope would be cheaper than you going from Norway to London regularly with our son....Now...to exploit that....

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11 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

"And Lucky you, my kid couldnt care less about astronomy ....".

Not meaning to be argumentative here, but this is a comment i have seen time and time again.

It baffles me why so many people want/try to get their kids into the same things that they are interested in. I started observing when i was 6 yrs old. My dad bought me 10x50 bins and a planisphere and said "you're on your own". He had no interest.

Its up to each person (adult or child) to be interested or not. You cant force them to be interested.

Just sayin.

Bit off topic here, but With all respect, you got this one all wrong. Now, Where did I mention I tried to force my kid into astronomy???

Come on. 

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2 minutes ago, NordicSyene said:

I don't think he meant to "force" his kid to be interested. Just that it is of course always nice when you can connect through a common interest. My son has no interest in football, while I'm a passionate Arsenal supporter. I've been going to the Arsenal since the early 80s, but my son has no interest. I'll be honest to say that for me that is a bit sad, but you as you say "you cant force them to be interested". But he is interested in the stars, so I'll try to find common ground there.

My wife would say that any telescope would be cheaper than you going from Norway to London regularly with our son....Now...to exploit that....

I agree, its nice to find a common interest with your kids (i have no kids). Its something to do together. My point was that everyone is wired differently and dont share the same interests. My nephew is 28 yrs old and i practically raised him like my own. We both have a love of rugby and have been to a few games together.

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11 minutes ago, Pondus said:

Bit off topic here, but With all respect, you got this one all wrong. Now, Where did I mention I tried to force my kid into astronomy???

Come on. 

Fair enough. You never said the word "force". My apologies. I just dont get the idea of parents wanting/expecting to get their kids into the same hobbies as they are into. 

"And Lucky you, my kid couldnt care less about astronomy ....".

Thats fine. So what if your kid couldnt care less about astronomy. 

Plenty of other things you can connect on.

Im REALLY not being argumentative here. There is a common ground somewhere. Its obviously not astronomy.

:happy7:

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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23 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Disagree. Im a wheelchair user and i have met a 6,8 inch Dob up close from my seated position and the EP was out of reach for most objects. My wheelchair is the same height from the ground as a standard kitchen chair.

Depends on the individual Luke. I work with folk everyday of the week, many of these good folk are confined to their chairs, some manage certain tasks where others  clearly cant? I've seen binoculars used, and some folk don't have full use of their upper limbs, so cant hold them, but adaptations and extensions work wonders.

The mention above, that the Dob is  'so high'  that you have to lift someone up just tickled my humour and the reason I replied. The youngest user to have looked though my scope is 4 and was still seated!

You've every right to disagree with my statement if your unable to reach the focuser, based on your experience,  though I'm not aware of your personal needs/demands, but looking around the various venues on a daily basis, its all too easy to raise the height of a chair to accommodate the needs of some users.

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Back on track....

My 6yo son has a 100mm skywatcher mini dob.

He refuses to use my 16” scope, because it isn’t his telescope!

It is very inexpensive, with a table top mount and once I had equipped it with a couple of decent eyepieces, gives great wide views. Maybe get a Mak for the planets and a mini Dob for the wider views. That way, you can both observe at the same time.

Paul

PS. I’m the only one in the family that can reach my Dob eyepiece at anything higher than 50°. The youngest did try to climb it once. Apparently, Paracorr plus Ethos 21mm made an excellent grab handle.... I forced him NOT to be interested in Astro (until the urge to climb passed).

 

Edited by Paul73
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3 minutes ago, Charic said:

Depends on the individual Luke. I work with folk everyday of the week, many of these good folk are confined to their chairs, some manage certain tasks where others  clearly cant? I've seen binoculars used, and some folk don't have full use of their upper limbs, so cant hold them, but adaptations and extensions work wonders.

The mention above, that the Dob is  'so high'  that you have to lift someone up just tickled my humour and the reason I replied. The youngest user to have looked though my scope is 4 and was still seated!

You've every right to disagree with my statement if your unable to reach the focuser, based on your experience,  though I'm not aware of your personal needs/demands, but looking around the various venues on a daily basis, its all too easy to raise the height of a chair to accommodate the needs of some users.

Im not saying every disabled person is the same. That couldnt be further from the truth. I just found the EP on 6,8" in Dobs too high for me in a seated position (seated, i am about 5ft 2"). 

Im just of the thinking that the average 7 yr old would be the same height as i am and the EP on a DOB would be out of reach.

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I can only refer to this image of the different heights of Dobs:

The OP has ruled out a Dob on the grounds of portability, so lets not fret over them any longer.

:happy7:

My mind is in overtime. Im in two minds about this. I might just pull the trigger.

 

post-118-0-40874900-1348224481.jpg

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube. Compact and lightweight dob (7 kg), easy to store and transport, excellent optics, versatile, allowing mags of 200x and beyond. Lots of pleased owners (myself included). Many reviews.

Stephan

Edited by Nyctimene
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+1 for the Skymax 127. I have two, one in the UK (backpack setup + a couple of battery sets and 3 to 4 eyepieces, shown below weighs under 11kg),

5a87e7bf9adc9_SkymaxBackpack-Annotated(R).thumb.jpg.3ee8c77d69d2a44350ffe718bf0ad9db.jpg

and one at my holiday home in France.

5a87e7d123c73_Skymax127MCTinFrance(R).jpg.015b185e632f62aea1a77e5473650673.jpg

The French setup shows how it can be used with a modified webcam. When I bought the first one, OVL, the main importers, were doing a special deal of a Celestron 6mm to 32mm Plossl eyepiece set, with coloured filters, in a foam-lined aluminium case. The 32mm (shown on tripod tray above) is good for wide-ish fields and initial Synscan alignment; and the others when you want a closer look at the planets or Deep Space Objects. I am a glasses wearer, very short-sighted, and these EPs are OK with glasses, but also, for the wider view, without (slight tweak to focus knob).

Stephan's suggestion of the Heritage 130p flextube is also good, if you want a very simple setup that goes well on a small table or stool.

5a87eebad2b1b_130ponstool.jpg.bf916b96dc3349ce5b6533c2983e723b.jpg

I have added 40mm dishwasher drainpipe eyepiece holders, compass (for rough azimuth direction), bubble level, altitude scale, and a magnetically-attached optional mirror on the rear of the RDF (easier to align to high objects).

Geoff

Edited by Geoff Lister
RDF mirror details added
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