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Which Telescope for my 5 year old son?

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13 years 7 months ago #87347 by johnnyivan
Which Telescope for my 5 year old son? was created by johnnyivan
Hello all,
My 5 year old son has become interested in the heavens but I think my old telescope will be pretty useless when I bring it up from the parents' house; so I'm keen to buy him a new one for Xmas.

The old one was a 50x50 perhaps? Or 20x20... Not sure - all I know is it was adequate for looking at the moon - and going "Oooooh! Craters!" when I was young but I never bothered looking at stars or planets with it as they were still just blurred, tiny, white dots!

So, what scope would you recommend please, and what's the minimum I'd need to spend?

Much appreciated!
John

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13 years 7 months ago - 13 years 7 months ago #87349 by stevie
Replied by stevie on topic Re:Which Telescope for my 5 year old son?
Hi John, and welcome to the forum.

Difficult one this, 5 years old is very young. You need something as simple as possible, yet which will give at least a half decent view of objects in the sky. The big problem is, the less you spend, the less satisfactory will be the view. On the other hand, you don't want to spend a lot of money on something which will just gather dust, although I could weep when I think of some of the things I have spent money on for my daughter over the years.

The usual recommendation for a complete beginner is to start with binoculars, but you could not be sure that your son would be able to hold them up to his eyes for very long, or if he was looking at the "right" thing. So you need a telescope of some kind.

There are two basic types of astronomical telescope, refractors and reflectors. Refractors are the "classic" type of telescope most people would think of if asked to describe a telescope, a tube with a lens in one end, and an eyepiece for magnifying the image at the other end. A reflector consists of a tube with a mirror at one end, and the eyepiece at the other, again to magnify the image. It is generally true to say that a 2" lens is equivalent to a 4" mirror, a 3" lens to a 6" mirror, 4" to 8" etc etc.

There is a wide choice available in both types of telescope, and prices vary greatly. But be sure to buy from a recognized dealer, do not buy from a toy shop, and do not buy from ebay or the like, until you know what you are doing.

Here are just a very few possibilities, maybe some of the other guys will have other suggestions.

Simple refractors

www.firstlightoptics.com/products.php?cat=51

The Skywatcher Startravel 80 (second from the top) would be my choice here. Small, easy to handle, supplied with two eyepieces, plus a tripod, and reasonably priced.


Simple reflectors

www.firstlightoptics.com/products.php?cat=28

The Skyhawk 1145P is a superb little scope, and the Explorer 130 is also good. The Explorer is probably the best selling beginners scope in the UK. You may even want to consider the little telescope at the top of the page, it will at least give a nice view of the moon and will also show the four moons of Jupiter.


Simple reflectors and refractors

www.celestron.uk.com/viewsubcategories.p...eries_firstscopes/36

This page contains more examples of both simple refractors and reflectors. Click on each for more details.

Just one thing, whatever you buy. Make sure your finder telescope is set properly. You can do this in daylight by aligning on a distant chimney pot or tree. There will be full instructions provided on how to do this It will make finding objects in the sky much easier.

Whatever you decide, good luck.
Last edit: 13 years 7 months ago by stevie.

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13 years 7 months ago #87350 by lunartic_old
Replied by lunartic_old on topic Re:Which Telescope for my 5 year old son?
I think I would have to go with the Explorer too, the 5" mirror will give fine views of the moon, the planets and plenty of deep-sky objects. The size and weight are not overwhelming.

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13 years 7 months ago #87351 by tevez32
Well actually I bought it for me- I got it for 50 euros as it was the last one they had in a branch of expert.

It's pretty robust; sits on a table. Moon craters are fine - Jupiters moons as well.

It comes with a little drawstring bag with a zip for eyepieces.

He loves it.
Would be a great Christmas present.

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13 years 7 months ago #87352 by tevez32
Replied by tevez32 on topic Youtube review.

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13 years 7 months ago #87354 by johnnyivan
Replied by johnnyivan on topic Re:Which Telescope for my 5 year old son?
Hi there,
Thanks very much for all the good advice. Steve - you went to a lot of trouble, especial thanks.

So it'll likely be over €100 unless I'm also lucky enough to get one for €50!

So the Explorer gives a good view of the planets. Sorry to sound amateur again - does that mean he'll be able to see Saturn's rings? - or Jupiter's red spot? - or Mars' surface features? Or is it more a case of being able to distinguish their colours and perhaps some of their moons?

Incidentally, I did indeed see a €120 National Geographic scope in Smyths - but wasn't convinced by it!

Cheers!
John

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