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Hello, my eight yeard old child wants to get into astronomy so she asked for a telescope. I have read that binoculars are as good as telescopes. Since I have always wanted to get into astronomy but never found the time, I thought I tag along and buy one that both can use. Can anybody recommend me a telescope that  is good enough for astronomy but can also be used by a small child.

Thanks

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Hello anyela, welcome to SGL.

A pair of binoculars is a good start-up equipment. It can help you familiarise yourself with the night sky. 8x42 and 10x50 are good sizes. The Olympus 10x50 DPS-I is often recommended because of its excellent optical quality and lower cost.

https://www.argos.co.uk/product/7313965

As for telescopes, we need to know what type of targets (e.g. the moon, planets, nebulae, etc.) you and your child are interested in and what kind of budget you have in your mind before we can advise you on a suitable one.

Edited by KP82
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Hi and welcome.

A similar query got plenty of suggestions before Xmas

To give good recommendations we do need to know your budget, and what sort of place you are intending to view from ... e.g. suburban back garden, dark rural spot, brightly lit place with many streetlights in view ?

If your budget is under around £75 best go with binoculars and some sort of support to hold them steady.

Heather

 

 

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If you want a pair of binoculars then the 8x42 Opticron Adventurer T is the pair I would be looking at. I believe that @BinocularSky uses these when he does observing events for children. 

However, I disagree with the idea that binoculars are as good as a telescope. Some people prefer the low magnification, wide field views that a binocular gives, but I think that this is quite a small minority of people. For more detailed observations of DSOs or planets a telescope is really what you want. The cheapest range of decent telescopes is the Skywatcher Heritage range. However, most of these are manual telescopes and your child would need to learn to "nudge" the telescope to keep the object inside the field of view. The heritage virtuoso models have motors that keep the object in the field of view, but you will still need to find the object first. If you want a telescope that has goto to both find the object quickly, and keep it in view once found, then I would suggest looking for a model from the Skywatcher AZgte/gti range

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Binoculars are definitely a good option but if you're looking for a telescope, I would suggest looking at the Orion range, depending on your budget:

The Orion Skyscanner, one of the best options under 100: https://uk.telescope.com/Telescopes/Orion-SkyScanner-100mm-TableTop-Reflector-Telescope/rc/1306/p/109943.uts

The Orion Starblast 4.5, bigger (so more light gathering) but more expensive at 175: https://uk.telescope.com/Telescopes/Orion-StarBlast-45-Astro-Reflector-Telescope/rc/1306/p/109946.uts

As others said, you will need to share more (budget, location, desired targets) for more specific recommendations.

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Just about any pair of 8x porro prism binoculars would perform well under the stars handheld I've found.  Due to the jitteriness of the image, it's impossible to distinguish high end binoculars from lower end ones at night.

If you can tripod mount, a pair of 15x70mm bins are very nice for observing large open clusters like the Pleiades and Collinder 70 in Orion's belt.  Apart from them and a few other large clusters and rich star fields, binoculars aren't particularly engaging as astronomy tools.  You will be able to make out the moons of Jupiter, see the elongation of Saturn due to its rings, and have a bit better view of the moon, but that's about it.  I also use them for comet hunting and observing.

They'll always be handy to have around for daytime use as well, so it will never be money wasted.

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On 13/01/2021 at 18:14, Ricochet said:

If you want a pair of binoculars then the 8x42 Opticron Adventurer T is the pair I would be looking at. I believe that @BinocularSky uses these when he does observing events for children.

Indeed he does! (Or, rather, "did" before SARS-CoV-2 scuppered my "in person" outreach activities.) 🙂

Quote

However, I disagree with the idea that binoculars are as good as a telescope.

But, but...
A binocular is "just" two telescopes mounted side by side. 😄

Seriously, though, it depends on the task.  For some tasks (observing large asterisms, large open clusters, starfields, scanning the Milky Way) binoculars are better.

For some tasks (planetary observing, splitting close double stars, resolving small DSOs) telescopes are better.

And binoculars are arguably easier for young children to use independently.

(IMNSVHO, of course)

Edited by BinocularSky
punctuation, remove ambiguity
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7 minutes ago, BinocularSky said:

Indeed he does! (Or, rather "did" before SARS-CoV-2 scuppered my "in person" outreach activities.) 🙂

But, but...
A binocular is "just" two telescopes mounted side by side. 😄

Seriously, though, it depends on the task.  For some tasks (observing large asterisms, large open clusters, starfields, scanning the Milky Way) binoculars are better.

For some tasks (planetary observing, splitting close double stars, resolving small DSOs) telescopes are better.

And they are arguably easier for young children to use independently.

(IMNSVHO, of course)

Another reason binoculars are a serious consideration is that economies of scale makes those little twin 'scopes relatively cheap, so someone wanting to spend not very much can get a respectable pair of binoculars for £50, whilst a £50 telescope will be more decorative than useful.

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On 13/01/2021 at 16:32, KP82 said:

Hello anyela, welcome to SGL.

A pair of binoculars is a good start-up equipment. It can help you familiarise yourself with the night sky. 8x42 and 10x50 are good sizes. The Olympus 10x50 DPS-I is often recommended because of its excellent optical quality and lower cost.

https://www.argos.co.uk/product/7313965

As for telescopes, we need to know what type of targets (e.g. the moon, planets, nebulae, etc.) you and your child are interested in and what kind of budget you have in your mind before we can advise you on a suitable one.

I second the recommendation for the DPS-I, they are pretty good, lower cost and fairly lightweight for 10x50's. I am currently using them to help find objects for the telescope and have seen plenty of different things including certain DSO and star clusters and they are good on the moon also. I must say as a newbie there was plenty to see in the 10x50 binoculars to be excited about and that might be a great way to introduce everyone to the night sky in a low cost way before taking the plunge. Plus at present stock is fairly limited of telescopes whereas binoculars seem fine to get a hold of so you can see if the hobby is for either of you.

Edited by wibblefish
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