Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help!
Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:43 PM
Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:51 PM
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:30 PM
List Price: $299.00
You Save: $130.00 (43%)
Don't think you can beat that setup for an 11 year old.
The trick with these is to have the mount perfectly level. Once you've got that, they're very easy to align and track really well. I've found a trick to stabilize the tripods for this type of scope. Get a screw in ground anchor from something like a swing set or dog tether. Screw it into the ground under the center of the tripod and then bungee the tripod spreaders to the anchor. Makes for a really stable system.
I will say you're headed on a slippery slope though. It only takes one single look at a planet like Saturn to contract aperture fever. You've been forewarned!
I sincerely hope he enjoys whatever you come up with.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:38 PM
the advantage of the 4.5 is its lighter weight and more kid sized. the XT6 is a bit better in what its capable of seeing and is a great beginner scope for even adults, i had one before i bought my XT8 and loved it. the downside it may intially be too much scope for him to carry and setup mainly on a size basis probably more than weight, its only about 40 lbs but its 5 feet tall.
as for used vs new. used offers great value in these sorts of scopes, one can often find them for half retail price, the downside is Orion will not support you in any way. they will not even sell you replacement parts if something breaks. the good news is these basic dobs do not have much that can break on them and if it was to break it would probably be a good time to upgrade to a bigger scope. if you buy new Orion's customer support for products bought from them is excellent.
cheaper options if you're looking to get smaller, cheaper and simpler would be their tabletop dob's. i would stay away from any tripod mounted scopes. keep operation and setup simple and thats what dob's are great at. if you do wish to go with a Tripod mounted say refractor get one on an Alt Az mount rather than an Equatorial mount, learning how to properly setup and use an Equatorial mount is enough to make both newbie kids and adults give up on astronomy when first start out.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:40 PM
Ok, I found this one, would you think it's a good buy at $200 even though it's used?
200 is the most i'd tell anyone to pay for an XT6. its a great scope but once again read my possible concerns about it in the post above. depending on his size it may be too big or heavy for him to easily drag out side and use on a regular basis. for a teenager or adult its fine.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:49 PM
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:51 PM
You're aware that he's going to need some help/encouragement from you, right? You're going to be on the hook to help him. The good news is that his could turn into a family thing!
You've come to the right place... lots of good advice here.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:54 PM
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:55 PM
I do like that xt4.5. Very neat! Is this 4.5 an option? http://www.telescope...Telescope/p/... - I never thought about the mount being particularly difficult to use, but watching a youtube video on it made me wonder.
I would stay away from that scope for a few reasons.
#1 its an Equatorial mount scope. as I said before stay away from them for kids and even as starter scopes for anyone. they are a pain to setup properly and if used not setup properly, which involves both leveling the mount and polar aligning it they become extremely hard to use. Alt Az mount scopes like Dobs are simple left, right, up, down pointing. no leveling or aligning necessary just plop the scope out where you want it and get to observing.
#2 that is a very fast scope at F/4. collimation will be very important and it will be hard on cheap eyepeices and this means time and money. F/6 and faster Newtonian scopes are not very sensitive to collimation so doing a simple job with the collimation cap they come with is good enough and only takes a few minutes and often they do not even require it to be adjusted in my experience with my XT6 and XT8 i now have.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:56 PM
Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:01 AM
Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:11 AM
Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:22 AM
Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:24 AM
I like that used xt6 that's for sale near me, but I'm hesitant just because it is used. I'd like to have a warranty. Just makes me feel better. Thoughts on that or the 2 links above?
Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:27 AM
Dobsonian telescopes are reflector telescopes, which means that they work with mirrors instead of lenses. It's easier to make a large mirror than it is to make a large lens. Telescopes that have a lens in front are called refractors.
You'll notice that there's another difference between reflectors and refractors, the eyepiece on a reflector is at the front end of the tube... which makes the ground mount possible. On very large dobsonian telescopes, it's not uncommon for people to use stepladders to access the eyepiece! The eyepiece on a refractor is at the rear of the scope, which mean they pretty much have to be mounted on a fairly tall tripod.
Alt/Az mount simply means "left/right up/down." Those crazy looking mounts that look like a big knuckle? They're called Equatorial, or EQ, mounts. To be used effectively, an EQ mount has to be set up correctly... which is a bit of a problem for beginners.
Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:28 AM
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Posted 02 December 2012 - 02:21 AM
there are many reason to get a GoTo scope but getting one with little to know knowledge of the night sky is a sure fire way to either result in one of two things happening.
#1 get them frustrated having to setup the 2 star alignment or what ever requirement it has. if you don't know what the stars are above you, you cannot properly align a GoTo scope and an improperly aligned GoTo is about as bad as an improperly aligned EQ mounted scope. end result they get frustrated and give up or just learn to find a few bright guide stars and nothing else.
#2 is what i said at the end of #1, they end up only knowing how to find a few guide stars on their own and nothing else. there is a big sense of accomplishment when one finds an object on their own. using star charts can be daunting for a beginner however so i'm a pretty big advocate of using interactive hand held star chart programs on phones or tablets like google sky map or for the more advanced observer skysafari plus or better. the end result is you learn the constellations doing so and with time and practice it becomes second nature finding many "show" objects manually.
I often go to public star party's put on by my club. very often i get requests to see common objects like Andromeda galaxy etc. because i know the sky so well i don't need a thing to locate that and many other show objects in the night sky currently and i can go from showing something completely on the other side of the sky to showing someone the ring nebula or M31 in a matter of 10 seconds at most. even goto scopes can't slew over to an object that fast if they are pointed somewhere completely wrong.
good reasons for goto are, imaging and showing large groups of the public a single object at time. i usually deal with small 2-4 person groups at a time while others at a party are showing other guests objects in their scopes so having goto is not a huge requirement.
anyways i've gone way off topic for the OP's purposes. all i'm trying to say is GoTo sounds cool to beginners but in reality it can turn out to be a roadblock or a crutch that can rob them from learning the whole experience.
edit: oh and there's one more wildcard with a cheap goto scope like that one. if the mount breaks its pretty much trash and while i know it gets good reviews from new owners i'd wager that if it got used heavily for many years the goto mount would be the very first thing to break on it. don't get me wrong, i'm not saying i know it to be a common thing with that scope, i don't but then again i don't know much about that scope either never researched into it because i have not had an interest in buying one but it only makes sense that a goto refractor that is that cheap has to have corners cut somewhere and the mount/electronics is going to often be where they get cut IMO, the accessories is also where they are almost always cut.