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Grandsons first Telescope


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Hi all 

I need some advice please !

It's my grandsons birthday in a couple of weeks , he will be 8 , and he's shown an interest in Astronomy .

I want ot get him his first telescope but I don't want to spend a lot as he may lose interest , kids being kids etc .

I want it to be easy to use as in grab and go , but also big enough to pique his interest and for him to see Jupiters moons  , Saturns rings , possibly The Orion Nebula etc.

Iv'e seen the Skywatcher Heritage 130 and 150 but a little put off by it possibly needing collimation every now and then , the problem with that is he's 150 miles away !!!!

Any suggestions greatly appreciated 

Vlebo 

 

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Hello,

If you go for a full tube 150/1200 dob, collimation should hold pretty well for a few month at a time. If you grandson keeps using it, he will learn how to collimate eentually. Maybe a cheap laser that you collimate yourself beforehand would be a solution that is quite intuitive to use and eventhough it 's not gonna be precise, it should be good enough. Other than that, I think you're left with cheap achro which I wouldn't recommend.

Raph

 

Edited by Raph-in-the-sky
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Good Morning and welcome,

Not sure on your budget but have you considered this:

1. Sky-Watcher Explorer-130PS AZ5 Deluxe

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az5-deluxe/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-az5-deluxe.html

It comes with an AZ5 Mount which is great for beginners. The primary mirror is non-collimateable as it’s fixed, I’ve had mine at least 6 months and I’ve not seen a change in that time. It’s a great all-rounder and an ideal grab & go telescope. 
I bought mine following advice from JohnInDerby who is part of this forum and vastly more experienced than me! 

Hope this helps Mick
 

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Thanks Mick 

That is helpful as that scope has good aperture and will not need collimating !

A little more than I wanted to spend but if he loses interest I could always have it back as a grab and go as you say :)))

Thanks

 

26 minutes ago, Red Top Miguel said:

Good Morning and welcome,

Not sure on your budget but have you considered this:

1. Sky-Watcher Explorer-130PS AZ5 Deluxe

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az5-deluxe/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-az5-deluxe.html

It comes with an AZ5 Mount which is great for beginners. The primary mirror is non-collimateable as it’s fixed, I’ve had mine at least 6 months and I’ve not seen a change in that time. It’s a great all-rounder and an ideal grab & go telescope. 
I bought mine following advice from JohnInDerby who is part of this forum and vastly more experienced than me! 

Hope this helps Mick

 


 

 

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Actually, all manifestations of Newtonians require at least some collimating...

https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/reviews/telescopes/sky-watcher-explorer-130ps-telescope-and-az-eq-avant-mount/

The secondary-mirror is collimatable, and with a bundled hex-key.  Usually, with conventional Newtonians, it is the secondary-mirror that is more difficult to adjust than the primary-mirror.  

On the other hand, and regrettably, a Newtonian is best for children, for the Newtonian design is not for use during the day, when the Sun is up, but for use at night after the Sun has set.  All other designs of telescopes can be used during the day, for birding and sight-seeing, but if pointed at the Sun the telescope must be equipped with a safe solar-filter.  Children should always be cautioned against pointing a telescope at the Sun, and watched even whilst outdoors during the day with one.

Achromats(crown-and-flint refractors) are only "cheap" due to smaller apertures(60mm to 80mm), and due perhaps even to the age of the design.  At the age of 8 or so, I began the pastime with a 60mm f/11 refractor.  

If your grandson lives with his parent(s), certainly they can help with sorting out a Newtonian when needed, no?

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The celestron starsense explorer range which is relatively new looks quite cool, and when paired with a phone can align itself by using the phones camera.

i have no experience with it, but have seen some good videos on YouTube of people using manually and as a push goto as such.

https://www.celestron.co.uk/shop/celestron-starsense-explorer-lt-127az-smartphone-app-enabled-newtonian-reflector-telescope/
 

 

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To be honest I think the heritage models are best placed. I had the 130 model as my first scope and Miss is greatly, it was so grab and go.

the other smaller and cheaper option could be the celestron firstscope with is about £50

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On 06/09/2020 at 08:46, vlebo said:

I want ot get him his first telescope but I don't want to spend a lot as he may lose interest , kids being kids etc .

Have you considered getting him a pair of binoculars? Based on experience with my kids, I feel they like to participate rather than go out on their own and explore. So considering that you are 150miles away, you will need to keep him engaged in a different sort of manner!

Edited by AstroMuni
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I’ve been very impressed with the Heritage 130p and 150p. The 130p I picked up the OTA only off Astroboot for about £50, and the 150p I recently bought new. Both seem to hold collimation pretty well once set, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

I tend to think a scope is better than binoculars because of the wow they will get from seeing the moon and planets at higher powers.

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1 hour ago, Andy38416 said:

The celestron starsense explorer range which is relatively new looks quite cool, and when paired with a phone can align itself by using the phones camera.

i have no experience with it, but have seen some good videos on YouTube of people using manually and as a push goto as such.

https://www.celestron.co.uk/shop/celestron-starsense-explorer-lt-127az-smartphone-app-enabled-newtonian-reflector-telescope/
 

 

I've had an LT127az.  

There are two versions of Starsense explorer....The LT and the DX.  The LT version uses a bird-jones design so is inferior to the DX and more difficult to collimate from what I understand.  I just upgraded to an Omni 127 XLT, which has the same aperture as the LT127az but the image quality is way better which made me realise how limited the LT127az optics are.  As for the starsense, it looks like it could be good, but light pollution by my house meant it was very limited.  
If you are really keen on the starsense then get a DX model.  In my opinion if your budget won't stretch to the DX model I'd get a starwatcher 130/150

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27 minutes ago, dweller25 said:

The Skywatcher Heritage 130 would be my suggestion.

Very portable, quick to setup and cooldown, good value for money and optics that are capable of showing a lot of planetary detail and good deep sky performance too.

 

+ 1 for that. Holds the collimation very well. Can be used very intuitively; uncomplicated; excellent optics.

Stephan

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How about a 90mm Mak? You could confirm collimation and then you would hardly ever need to worry about it again. Great for Moon, good on planets and brighter DSOs. Orion have a model that uses a table top (unpowered) mount - I am almost sure you can screw in on to a photo tripod (I use a used heavy duty Slik tripod that I bought on eBay with my C90). The Mak could be used as a long distance spotting scope during the day. For fainter DSOs, I would use binoculars - maybe your grandson could get a pair from another relative for his birthday.

 

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On 06/09/2020 at 23:48, Alan64 said:

a Newtonian is best for children, for the Newtonian design is not for use during the day, when the Sun is up, but for use at night after the Sun has set. 

Not looking to hijjack the post, but why do you say that? I just sat here looking at the sun with my newtonian.  Can be just as exciting as looking at the moon or planets! 

Edited by Pryce
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1 hour ago, Pryce said:

Not looking to hijjack the post, but why do you say that? I just sat here looking at the sun with my newtonian.  Can be just as exciting as looking at the moon or planets! 

Of course you can observe the Sun with a Newtonian, with a safe solar-filter, but it becomes known to a supervising adult that a Newtonian is not suitable for daytime/terrestrial observations, of birds in trees and ships at sea, therefore a Newtonian is not likely to be taken outdoors during the day, unless a safe observation of the Sun is carefully planned beforehand.  But I don't think that too many parents wanting to introduce their children to astronomy, and beginners themselves, are even aware of being able to observe the Sun safely.  Solar observations with a telescope tend to be of an advanced interest. 

You can trust a child with a telescope on their own at night, absolutely, but they should be cautioned and supervised when using a telescope during the day. 

Newtonians, however, present upside-down views of the earthly, therefore they are useless during the day for that, hence the increased safety for children.  Just imagine...

"I'm tired of looking at birds and ships with our new telescope.  It's for looking at stuff in the sky anyway.  I know!  Let's look at the Sun!"

That new telescope happened to be a refractor, and ideal for daytime/terrestrial observations.

Then there are those who refuse to observe the Sun at all, safely at that.  I asked my late-father to have a look one day, and through my apochromat.  He refused, adamantly.  But then, he had had cataracts in the past.

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Thanks for you your clarification! 😁

However, kids arent STUPID. If you propely explain to them what will happen they will understand. You can even show them by pointing the telescope at the sun and use a piece of paper to represent the "eye".

They'll see what happens and never ever even have their face close to a telescope without a sunfilter.

 

At least, that's how my grandfather taught me when I borrowed his old brass telescope 25 years ago. 

Edit: you can use a corrector for a newtonian though. During the day you can't even notice a degredation in quality. Or at least I don't.

Edited by Pryce
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My grand daughter and her buddy had her H130 out 2 weeks ago and saw very sharp lunar views. Jupiter revealed its bands nicely with some striations coming in and with great reddish brown colour. After the kids went in I had a great session with it.

I checked collimation and no adjustment needed for the third session in a row. The secondary has never needed adjusting from new and its got to be 4 years old or so.

This scope is highly recommended.

ps- a parent could help with the primary collimation if needed-our has never been far off. We use a cheap, plastic and deadly accurate refractor collimator. Oh yeah, with a proper filter objects like the North American nebula are very easy in this scope from dark skies.

Edited by jetstream
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7 hours ago, Pryce said:

Thanks for you your clarification! 😁

However, kids arent STUPID. If you propely explain to them what will happen they will understand. You can even show them by pointing the telescope at the sun and use a piece of paper to represent the "eye".

They'll see what happens and never ever even have their face close to a telescope without a sunfilter.

 

At least, that's how my grandfather taught me when I borrowed his old brass telescope 25 years ago. 

Edit: you can use a corrector for a newtonian though. During the day you can't even notice a degredation in quality. Or at least I don't.

No one has suggested that, but those who have difficulties in that must be considered as well.

Image-erectors for Newtonians are out there, but the industry hasn't been very forthcoming in providing quality units; lack of demand, lack of supply.

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On 08/09/2020 at 04:39, Pryce said:

Not looking to hijjack the post, but why do you say that? I just sat here looking at the sun with my newtonian.  Can be just as exciting as looking at the moon or planets! 

With a Heritage truss type Newt, you'd have to make sure they're using a well fitted shroud around the truss poles to keep stray light out of the light path for daytime usage.  This is especially true if you're going to do solar observing with a full aperture solar filter.  What good is a filter if the sun can come in from an angle via the open tube?

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I think yall are misunderstanding me here. Initlially I thought he said a newt  CAN'T be used during the day when the sun is up. So thats my bad and why I thanked him for the clarificarion. 

Precautions has to be taken and kids have to be told not to look at the sun without a filter no matter what telescope they have. I guess we can all agree on that right? You have to warn them about the dangers no matter what. So that argument is invalid when we weigh the options against eachother. 

Image erectors are needed if you're going to use a newt during the day, yes.

And they do lessen image quality but not to a noticable degree during the day as, well, everything is a lot brigther and clearer to begin with. And they are available and pretty cheap as well.

Having to cover the poles on a flex tube is a good point, but I guess thats an easy fix if mom is good with a sewing machine. Or with a shroud thats meant for that sort of thing. 

 

Speaking as someone who bought a cheap-ish refractor and insantly upgraded to a reflector in the same-ish price range I can say for sure that I'm getting much more pleasure from using the newt than the frac. Both during the day(with a relay lens) and especially during the night.  

So I guess it comes down to what the scope is most likely to be used as.  A refractor would be a lot easier if it's mainly going to be used during the day, but with a newt you'd get more bang for your buck if it's mainly going to be used during the night and it's still usable during the day with a relay lens/image erector. 

In my humble opinion at least. 

Edited by Pryce
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1 hour ago, Louis D said:

With a Heritage truss type Newt, you'd have to make sure they're using a well fitted shroud around the truss poles to keep stray light out of the light path for daytime usage.  This is especially true if you're going to do solar observing with a full aperture solar filter.  What good is a filter if the sun can come in from an angle via the open tube?

I would extend that to the night as well, as there is always stray light if used in urban areas.

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1 hour ago, AstroMuni said:

I would extend that to the night as well, as there is always stray light if used in urban areas.

Of course, but there's no risk of a child going blind at night from stray light as there is during solar viewing.  That's all I was emphasizing.  Truss Newts have their own special safety issues for solar viewing absent in solid tube Newts.

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Thank you so much for tyour input everyone .

I did decide to go with the 130p or 150p Heritage scopes but could not find any available until end October/November so i opted for the Heritagfe 100p . Not my first choice as I mentioned but its his b/day next sunday and i wanted to give it to him then . 

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