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danyap
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Reged: 12/01/12

Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help!
      #5549503 - 12/01/12 10:43 PM

After doing research for several hours on the web, I've come to the conclusion that I'm in way over my head. My 11 year old wants a telescope for Christmas to be able to see the moon and planets. Our budget is $250 or less. Used would be ok with me, but there's just nothing really in my area that looks very good to me (SLC). Please give me a few suggestions for this price range that could give us the best view for our $. Nothing too complicated. He's a bright boy, but I don't want him to get frustrated because the finder doesn't work well or the mount is unstable etc...

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kfiscus
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549509 - 12/01/12 10:51 PM

I'd recommend Orion's XT4.5 dob or XT6. They're great scopes and real bargains IF you can find them used. (I haven't seen any lately.) Orion has great service and backs their products (if you're the original buyer).

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Driven1
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Reged: 08/19/10

Loc: N. Central PA near CSSP
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5549567 - 12/01/12 11:30 PM

I might suggest one of these. Very simple to operate and powerful enough to grab his interest until next year when he wants a "real" telescope. These are great little scopes and will allow him to easily view the moon, some of the larger planets, as well as other objects. This is also a "GoTo" scope. Once leveled and aligned, he just has to pick an object from the controller and it will put the scope right on it. This one also comes with a USB Camera that you can connect to a laptop or desktop to capture video or snapshots from.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/iOptron-Astroboy-70e-with-Electronic-Eyepiece/15125904

$169.00
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.


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Mike4242
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Reged: 11/02/11

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5549570 - 12/01/12 11:32 PM

The Orion Starblast 4.5 table top dobsonian might be another option to consider. You will need a fairly stable table for it, but a lot of people really like these scopes and it's within your budget at $190.00.

Starblast 4.5


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danyap
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Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5549574 - 12/01/12 11:34 PM

Ok, I found this one, would you think it's a good buy at $200 even though it's used?
http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=218&ad=23204892&cat=&lpid=&s...


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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5549581 - 12/01/12 11:38 PM

i second Ken's two suggestions new or used. if going the new route the XT4.5 is going to be right at your price limit

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Sale-Telescopes/Sale-Beginner-Telescopes/...

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.


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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549586 - 12/01/12 11:40 PM

Quote:

Ok, I found this one, would you think it's a good buy at $200 even though it's used?
http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=218&ad=23204892&cat=&lpid=&s...


.

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.


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danyap
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Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5549592 - 12/01/12 11:43 PM

I do like that xt4.5. Very neat! Is this 4.5 an option? http://www.telescope.com/Orion-StarBlast-45-Equatorial-Reflector-Telescope/p/... - I never thought about the mount being particularly difficult to use, but watching a youtube video on it made me wonder.

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NeuWerld
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5549599 - 12/01/12 11:49 PM

If you do end up getting that scope I'd be willing to send you an extra Apertura 9mm super plossl I have free of charge. The EP supplied with that scope would provide a good but distant view of planets. The 9mm would give you 133x on the 6" compared to the 48x of the 25mm. Grab a barlow and you've got 25, 12.5, 9, and 4,5m...that should provide enough views for a while . Even if you don't get the 6" and would like the 9mm I'll send it, I'd just like to see it get used, especially as a Christmas present

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TahoeNoob
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549604 - 12/01/12 11:51 PM

You'll have to buy him some books and a planisphere too. Also, something like this: might take the place of star charts for the time being.

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.


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danyap
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Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: NeuWerld]
      #5549610 - 12/01/12 11:54 PM

That would be so awesome! I would sure appreciate that! I can tell that this is just going to be the beginning of his love for astronomy. He's been asking for a telescope since last year and we made him wait a whole year to see if he would change his mind. (mean huh)! LOL! He's still asking...this is a slippery slope for sure! So yes, if you are willing to send it, I know it will get used!

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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549611 - 12/01/12 11:55 PM

Quote:

I do like that xt4.5. Very neat! Is this 4.5 an option? http://www.telescope.com/Orion-StarBlast-45-Equatorial-Reflector-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.


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danyap
member


Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549614 - 12/01/12 11:56 PM

Wow! That's an awesome map! We'll definitely need that!

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NeuWerld
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Reged: 08/14/12

Loc: Mentor-on-the-Lake, OH
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549626 - 12/02/12 12:01 AM

I'll drop it in the mail on Monday, just send me a private message with your shipping address.

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danyap
member


Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5549636 - 12/02/12 12:11 AM

Ok, those are very good points! I have never seen telescopes that sit on the ground before (honestly, the last time I used one, it was a tripodmount, I was a kid myself and that was about 25 years ago). How do people use these. Just sit on the ground or in a chair?

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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549644 - 12/02/12 12:22 AM

Dobsonian telescopes are typically large scopes. one can use them standing up if they are large enough and pointed at/near zenith. most often one would use one these smaller ones sitting down in a chair. quick adjust height astronomy chairs are best but really any chair can work as long as the height is right. generally unless you had the scope pointed at the horizon or at something terrestrial you would never need to be on the ground. the XT4.5 is much smaller and shorter than your typical Dob however, thats why i say its a "kid" sized scope. if i recall from seeing it in the Orion store its only about 4 feet tall at most off the ground pointed straight up. adults can use it but they would probably want to put it on a small table or something to boost the height at times.

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danyap
member


Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549648 - 12/02/12 12:24 AM

Ok, so I think we have it narrowed down to a couple...

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Dobsonian-Telescopes/Mini-Dobsonians/Orio...

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Sale-Telescopes/Sale-Beginner-Telescopes/...

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?


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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5549651 - 12/02/12 12:25 AM

here is a good size chart from Orion's site



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TahoeNoob
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Reged: 10/31/12

Loc: Sierra Nevada
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549657 - 12/02/12 12:27 AM

The telescopes that sit on the ground, like that, are called dobsonian telescopes. Dobsonians are a good way to go because you can get a larger size aperture for a lower price. (You can see more, for the same amount of money.) Dobsonians are a good beginner scopes, but many experts like them as well... because of that aperture advantage.

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.


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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5549659 - 12/02/12 12:28 AM

both good choices. the XT4.5 will probably have a bigger wow factor as its well bigger but both will work very well. the XT4.5 will also be easier to collimate and comes with better eyepieces and finder scope.

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danyap
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Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5549666 - 12/02/12 12:34 AM

Wonderful! Thanks so much for all your help everyone! I knew I came to the right place for help! (and thanks for steering me away from the junk out there)! I really wanted to get a telescope that will last a while and inspire our son (and the rest of the family as well)! You are a wealth of knowledge! Thanks again!

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danyap
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Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5549701 - 12/02/12 01:03 AM

Thank you everyone for your input! I knew I came to the right place! This is going to be a great adventure for our whole family. You are all amazing and I thank you for helping us get our feet wet in astronomy. Hope you all have a blessed season!

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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549703 - 12/02/12 01:08 AM

you too, we're all just glad you didn't run to the nearest department or electronics store and picked up one those junkers that would have been a waste of 100 to 200 dollars.

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GOLGO13
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Reged: 11/05/05

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5549731 - 12/02/12 01:50 AM

do you have a costco near you? they have a 4 inch goto refractor thats getting good reviews for 200. nexstar 102gt i think. hard to say on those two scopes. i would probably go just a little higher for the xt6. i suppose i like the xt4.5 of those 2. dont need a table to set it on.

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frito
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5549748 - 12/02/12 02:21 AM

IMHO a GoTo is not the way to introduce folks to astronomy and thats the only reason i would not suggest it.

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.

Edited by frito (12/02/12 02:31 AM)


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Achernar
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5549918 - 12/02/12 08:13 AM

Buy the Dob, equatorials are going to be hard for a child to learn to use at first, and low-priced equatorial mounts are usually shaky too. The telescope is also an F/4, which are not a good choice for a child because the collimation is very critical. Coma will also be severe and cheaper eyepieces do not work well with telescopes that have a very fast focal ratio. Coma turns stars into comets all around the outer edges of the field of view. Moreover, it's not a good general purpose telescope but a small 4.5 or 6-inch F/8 Dob is a very good general purpose telescope that will with the right eyepieces perform well on anything he cares to look at. The longer focal ratio will allow any eyepiece of good guality to give good views and collimation is less demanding too. No chromatic abberation and hardly any coma even with wider field eyepieces are an advantage of those small F/8 and F/9 reflecting telescopes. While a Dob does not track, they are steady and he can learn to track objects even at 200X with a little practice. I do not advise buying a low cost GOTO telescope for two reasons. One is the mountings are often inadequate, and secondly he still has to know his way well enough around the sky to set it up. Then he also has to use a power source, which will be a 12-volt power tank or battery. I reccommend also at some point buying a Telrad, they are great "point and look" aiming devices that are easy to use and do not reverse or invert the image. The bullseye reticle can be dimmed or brightened as needed, and runs a very long time on a pair of penlite batteries. Even though I have digital setting circles and a 50mm finder telescope on my larger telescopes, the Telrad still sees use for those reasons. From a dark site he will be able to see all of the Messier objects with a 4.5-inch Dob, while sitting on a stool. He can carry the whole telescope at once, and it will last for many years with care, even if he later acquires a large telescope it will still be used because a good small telescope is ideal for looking at the moon and planets, especially from cities or when the seeing isn't very good. They are portable enough to take along almost anywhere, and if an object is blocked by a tree or building he can simply move the telescpe without having to polar align it. Dobs do not need polar alignment or batteries to work, they are simple, effective and have very little to go wrong.

Taras


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JohnMurphyRN
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: Achernar]
      #5549940 - 12/02/12 08:52 AM

I'd have a look at that used 6" dob. There really isn't a whole lot that would require a warranty.

I echo Frito on the GOTO. And I find myself in complete agreement with Taras.


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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: Achernar]
      #5550216 - 12/02/12 11:55 AM

Quote:

They are portable enough to take along almost anywhere, and if an object is blocked by a tree or building he can simply move the telescpe without having to polar align it

Taras




i always forget this point even though i do it with my XT8 all the time to get to certain objects rising on the horizon hehe. nothing better than being at a star party and while the guy's with the GoTo and EQ scopes are waiting for jupiter or M42 to rise high enough over the hill or tree and i just go oh i can get to it if i move my scope this way 5 feet, pick it up plop it down and i'm observing again. lol


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newtoskies
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5550236 - 12/02/12 12:09 PM

Yep I would say the XT4.5 Dob for a starter. I would say the 6" but that would be a bit much for him to carry. He will get some great views from this scope. The moon, Jupiter M45 will wow him, and you. Be warned, you too may get the bug and want a scope of your own...lol
Dwayne is right on the money. The dob you just pick up and plop down anywhere, no polar alignment etc. I do this all the time, move from one spot to another to get better views.


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Driven1
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: JohnMurphyRN]
      #5550245 - 12/02/12 12:16 PM Attachment (9 downloads)

Although the suggestions of the Dob scopes are good ones for various reasons, as a person relatively new to this hobby I disagree with the assumption that GoTos are lazy astronomy and aren't very good for learning where things are in the sky. A GoTo helped me immensely in learning where objects were. I can now look up and know what I'm looking at and for. Skymaps and other various planetarium softwares were of great help as well.

Starting off with a manually guided scope with a fairly small FOV, the most frustration I had was having to keep pushing the thing around to keep it on target. That's what prompted me to go with a GoTo. I can now actually LOOK at an object for as long as I care to.

As far as the junk statement, I've had an iOptron N114G 4.5" GoTo for over 3 years now. Yes, the OTA is cheaply made and the tripod isn't all that great. The optics are fine though. But with some thought, I've turned the OTA into a good little scope and found a way to make the tripod stable. The whole system is now good enough for AP within its capabilities.

The "Cube" has been absolutely flawless under fairly heavy use, and tracks very, very, well. The tracking system in the scope I mentioned is the same system. Just like any other tracking capable configuration, tracking is only as good as the setup. BTW, these scopes are VERY easy to setup and align. Just as long as the initial setup is level and you have a known object to "sync" it to, you're good to go. It takes me all of 10 mins to get this thing set up and tracking perfectly.

As the OP stated, he was looking for something inexpensive and that wouldn't become frustrating for his son to use. Pushing a scope around all evening to keep something in view is not (and was not) my idea of fun. Don't get me wrong, I love the view from a Dob and its simplicity for the reasons mentioned, especially in a 6" or larger. I just felt that the assumption that the scope I mentioned was "Junk" and doesn't promote educational benefits was way off base.


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frito
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: Driven1]
      #5550273 - 12/02/12 12:35 PM

I never said your scope was junk. i made a general statement that most scopes that can be bought at a local chain store are in fact junk, there is nothing wrong with my statement because it is true.

you may not have used GoTo as a crutch but many folks do when they are new. it develops bad habits.

as an example a guy that went out to a few of our star parties back when i first got my XT6 and was just starting out myself had bought a Meade 6" LS200, a good scope and one that costs like tons more than my 6 did. one of the more experienced members there that night challenged both of us to find a globular cluster in Sagittarius. he had it in his bino's on a tripod so we both already knew where it was generally. i found it in about 5 minutes with my XT6. the guy with the LS200 then spent the next 15 minutes trying to manually find it with the hand controller because you cannot move the scope any other way and finally figured out that his red dot sight was never aligned properly so it was a pointless exercise, he did eventually find it but it ended up being a ton of trouble for him because he had been relying on the scope too much and had never tried to manually use it to find faint fuzzys.

I saw this guy one more time a few weekends later when we did a half messier marathon and i have yet to see him come back out again in over a month. i'm not sure if he's just busy but i would honestly not be surprised to find out the goto functions of his scope had in the end turned him off from the hobby, but then again maybe he just decided it was not for him i don't honestly know.

Edited by frito (12/02/12 12:37 PM)


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Driven1
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Reged: 08/19/10

Loc: N. Central PA near CSSP
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5550331 - 12/02/12 01:17 PM

Point taken. I guess I was always curious enough to delve deeper and learn about what I was looking at rather than just telling the scope to go to it and then looking at it and saying "Wow, isn't that cool!" Plus I've always been looking for ways to improve what I have and what I can do with what I have. In that respect, I believe I've done very well.

After attending the Cherry Springs Star Party this year, a really bad case of Aperture Fever has set in and as soon as money provides, I'll be looking into a more "quality" and capable setup in the 6" to 8" range. Which, sooner or later, will be the most likely path of the OP's son. So it goes.


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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: Driven1]
      #5550335 - 12/02/12 01:19 PM

Quote:

Point taken. I guess I was always curious enough to delve deeper and learn about what I was looking at rather than just telling the scope to go to it and then looking at it and saying "Wow, isn't that cool!" Plus I've always been looking for ways to improve what I have and what I can do with what I have. In that respect, I believe I've done very well.

After attending the Cherry Springs Star Party this year, a really bad case of Aperture Fever has set in and as soon as money provides, I'll be looking into a more "quality" and capable setup in the 6" to 8" range. Which, sooner or later, will be the most likely path of the OP's son. So it goes.




then you my friend have caught the bug. be careful aperture fever can be highly dangerous to your bank account


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JohnMurphyRN
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Reged: 09/09/12

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5550380 - 12/02/12 01:54 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Point taken. I guess I was always curious enough to delve deeper and learn about what I was looking at rather than just telling the scope to go to it and then looking at it and saying "Wow, isn't that cool!" Plus I've always been looking for ways to improve what I have and what I can do with what I have. In that respect, I believe I've done very well.

After attending the Cherry Springs Star Party this year, a really bad case of Aperture Fever has set in and as soon as money provides, I'll be looking into a more "quality" and capable setup in the 6" to 8" range. Which, sooner or later, will be the most likely path of the OP's son. So it goes.




then you my friend have caught the bug. be careful aperture fever can be highly dangerous to your bank account




A slippery slope of increasing steepness....


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jerwin
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Reged: 05/17/12

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5550384 - 12/02/12 01:54 PM

A goto that is properly aligned gives instant satisfaction, or lack thereof faint fuzzies. MY OPINION is the average 11 year old wouldn't enjoy spending 5 minutes trying to find something that might not be all that impressive. I believe they need that that instant gratification to get them hooked, then all bets are off.

I'm 33 and if weren't for my goto scope I wouldnít still be doing this, Iím 100% positive of that. I now also own a dob and like it, I like many aspects of it, but I never would have got that far if I spent all night trying to find an object, and then tried to manually track it all night. The sense of accomplishment can only be had if you manage to find it, and with light pollution there's a lot of stuff you wonít find, or wonít realize youíre even seeing it, especially if youíre a beginner. Goto helped me plan my viewing sessions. If I know I canít see M1 in LP I donít try from my back yard. Dark site is another story. And at the dark site is when I look for those things that I canít see from my back yard, thus those are the objects I really donít know where they are in the sky. Since dark nights are limited to a few days a month, I opt to for quantity over a sense of accomplishment. But having said that, my goto scope helped me learn the sky way more than reading a book during the day and observing at night would have.

A goto scope is more expensive, true. My 11" SCT cost $1800, my 10" dob cost $500
A goto scope takes longer to setup, true. (maybe 5 minute for my totally disassembled dob, and 20 for MY SCT)
A cheap dob doesnít track, true which is a HUGE advantage in favor of goto scopes. In MY OPINION tracking alone outweighs setup time, hands down and I think really makes a good dent into the cost justification.

There is a lot of dob snobs on CN and many preach in the beginners forum and badmouth goto's and that's a bunch of BS. As I said above I like my dob, but if I could only keep one hands down I'd keep my cpc1100. Again, in my OPINION being able to observe the beauty of an object in the night sky is a far more rewarding experience to me than finding it on my own after a 5 minute search.

There is people at my star parties, people who think their opinions should be valued more than others, I go out of my way to avoid those people because they take away from my enjoyment of the hobby. I think itís that same reason that CN has a way of ignoring these users.

Probably little of my rant helps the original poster. I simply wanted to defend gotoís that are being misrepresented.


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kfiscus
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: jerwin]
      #5550464 - 12/02/12 02:34 PM

The OP's $250 max budget makes go to a hard sell. A good used XT6 at $150 bought from a reputable seller gives them room for accessories.

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Mike4242
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Reged: 11/02/11

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5550499 - 12/02/12 03:03 PM

Quote:

The OP's $250 max budget makes go to a hard sell. A good used XT6 at $150 bought from a reputable seller gives them room for accessories.




Completely agree. At the OPs price point something has to give and it's either optics, mount, or electronics. I typically recommend goto/tracking scopes if they fall within a person's price point; however, IMO it's better to compromise on the electronics and go for better optics and steadier mount.


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PencilCricket
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: jerwin]
      #5550526 - 12/02/12 03:18 PM

Far enough but I'm pretty sure if I'd had GOTO on my scope I'd have spent six months going around all the "cool" objects and at the end I would have said "Finished!" and never really bothered after that. I think it depends whether you're more interested in looking at beautiful things in the sky (GOTO) or in understanding the contents of the cosmos in more depth, in which case the fact that without GOTO you have to spend ages looking things may mean you end up learning a lot more along the way. I'm not knocking the former, I'm sure a GOTO would be better for my girlfriend's dad for example than the basic mount he's got, but I really think for some people GOTO is a blind alley, and for others a scope without GOTO means a frustrating time spent working out how to find things when what you really want to be doing is LOOKING AT THEM.

Essentially, if you couldn't initially sustain your hobby without the convenience of a GOTO, it's great to have GOTO. If on the other hand having a GOTO means you miss out on the journey of exploration you'd have without it, then you're better off without it.

Anyway, what a lucky kid! I wanted a telescope when I was little but all I got was a pretty useless plastic toy... If he really likes his telescope it might be an idea to get him a subscription to an astronomy magazine for his birthday.


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GOLGO13
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5550528 - 12/02/12 03:22 PM

I think to "go to"/"push to" or not to really depends on where you are observing from. Where I live there are not a whole lot of stars to hop from.

For looking at planets and the moon it certainly doesn't matter. Those are the objects most folks would look at as a beginner.

I'm glad I got push to on my 10 inch dob. I don't think I'd still be observing without some sort of electronics. I know you guys enjoy finding objects (from previous posts). I can tell you that not everyone is like that. I could care less about the finding part of observing (in fact I really don't enjoy it at all). I'm much more into the observing part.

I don't think we should assume that everyone is the same for this hobby. With an 11 year old, planets and the moon may be just fine with him. Maybe he would learn the sky and find objects. But unless we know his personality we really can't advise.

I really do like the push to scopes. They are there if you need some help (especially for hard to find targets). But you don't have to use them if you don't want. Or you can use them together with star hopping. Star hop...or just scan the sky...then if you find something interesting you can record the coordinates.

I guess in this situation the 4.5 is probably the safe bet. Then he can get a better scope later if he still has interest.


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gk5481
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Reged: 12/13/10

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5550545 - 12/02/12 03:30 PM

With a little patience a good used 6" f/8 Dob or maybe even an 8" f/6 Dob can be found for under $200 (maybe even $150 for the 6"). You might even get extra accessories included. I've included the 8" Dob because in my opinion it would not be too big for your 11 year old (just help out at first) and would leave more room for growth in the hobby.
IMO the XT 4.5 is a bit too small for deep space objects (if DSO's might be something of interest).
Make sure you search other posts on this site for ideas on where to look for used telescopes.


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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5550903 - 12/02/12 07:39 PM

Quote:

I think to "go to"/"push to" or not to really depends on where you are observing from. Where I live there are not a whole lot of stars to hop from.

For looking at planets and the moon it certainly doesn't matter. Those are the objects most folks would look at as a beginner.

I'm glad I got push to on my 10 inch dob. I don't think I'd still be observing without some sort of electronics. I know you guys enjoy finding objects (from previous posts). I can tell you that not everyone is like that. I could care less about the finding part of observing (in fact I really don't enjoy it at all). I'm much more into the observing part.

I don't think we should assume that everyone is the same for this hobby. With an 11 year old, planets and the moon may be just fine with him. Maybe he would learn the sky and find objects. But unless we know his personality we really can't advise.

I really do like the push to scopes. They are there if you need some help (especially for hard to find targets). But you don't have to use them if you don't want. Or you can use them together with star hopping. Star hop...or just scan the sky...then if you find something interesting you can record the coordinates.

I guess in this situation the 4.5 is probably the safe bet. Then he can get a better scope later if he still has interest.




i live in a red zone, SF bay area. the only good thing about where i live is i have sort of darker eastern skies due to the lack of population in that direction on the other side of the large almost mountain sized hill in that direction. i can with ease once semi dark adapted see mag 4.0 stars. with averted vision and on a good night mag 4.5. between my rigel, 8x50 RACI and the scope i can star hop to any object visible from my location even extremely hard ones in the middle of nowhere even in darker skies like Uranus for example. the key to my success is is sky safari, the rigel and the 8x50. sky safari and the rigel get me in the general area, sky safari + the 8x50 narrows down the area with more stars and then once again sky safari and my widest true field Eyepiece confirm i've found what i think i've found. with DSO's here at home i often find things i cant or can barely even see due to the light pollution but thanks to sky safari i'm able to at least confirm i got to the right location by matching up the star patterns. this is one of the reasons i'm such a big advocate of the program. its so user customizeable for situations. you can have it display telrad rings to help if you have a telrad/rigel. you can zoom as much as you want to match the true field of your finder or eyepiece in use. you can even have the program flip and invert the displayed map making confirming locations of objects 10x easier in a dob. without sky safari i'd probably be lost and definitely would have only seen half as many objects as i have fount currently esp at home.

to each his own i suppose but goto really seems to me to take the fun out of the journey and in a light polluted area there really is a pretty limited amount of DSO's you can see very well. i put a hard mag limit of 10 for stars/star like objects on myself at home because i now know from experience anything dimmer is not going to be easy to see if even visible in the scope. at a bit darker site 45 min south of me that i frequent with other club members that is an orange zone my limiting mag jumps to 12-13 and there are at least a few hundred naked eye stars to use vs the 40-50 ish i can see from home. i also go to public star party's our club does regularly at our HQ that is at a park smack dab in the middle of the light pollution mess of san jose, a white zone. i see less stars there naked eye than at home but still plenty to make out the major constellations and i have no trouble finding things there either with my setup.


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GOLGO13
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Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5550976 - 12/02/12 08:20 PM

sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the number of stars at a dark site. But it certainly makes finding stuff easy. Especially ones you can see with your naked eye. Just point at something fuzzy.

I think using tools like sky safari, Telrad charts, etc. are kinda similar to using go to. Sky safari is nice to at least get a good idea of what's around an area. And learning the brighter stars.

I have a good amount of challenges at my house. And I usually have a very limited time to observe. I'm hoping to get to a better house/sky in the next year or two.


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frito
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5551234 - 12/02/12 11:01 PM

it certaintly takes some getting used to at darker sites where there are more stars but honestly as long as you know the major constellations one can make heads or tails of it pretty quickly although you do get lost at moments sometimes.

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danyap
member


Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5551350 - 12/03/12 12:57 AM

Thanks everyone for your input! I decided to check back to see if anyone else chimed in and sure enough, there's an interesting discussion going on! We're looking seriously at the 4.5 and our budget. I'd love to go bigger, but I don't think we can unless it's used. The astronomy magazine is a good idea. And this kid is pretty strong (he's a 2nd degree black belt). I think lifting won't be a problem. We'll be there to help him though, just in case. He's going to love this gift (I'm just afraid of this slippery slope we are on - in a few years he'll be asking for something serious...we better start saving up now)!

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jerwin
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/17/12

Loc: Romeoville IL
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5551385 - 12/03/12 01:57 AM

here's 2 cents of advice for the slippery slope. Don't buy an eyepiece kit. The filters (besides the moon filter) are pretty useless, and chances are the high powered eyepieces will go unused. With the exception of planets most of the time he'll use lower magnification eyepieces. A few eyepieces he'll use is a better value than a set that will let half of them collect dust.

2nd thing, BUY USED if\when you can. All too often people are a in similar situation. They buy sometime to make sure they enjoy it and then upgrade to bigger and better once the truly catch the bug. Or sell it when they realize it wasn't for them. They buy xyz eyepiece and find the eye relief isn't great for someone that wears glasses or whatnot. Most used astro equipment has a pretty set value that doesn't fluctuate that much unless someone needs cash or just wants to dump the entire lot. So if you see something that you think is a good deal, a few minutes of research in the classified section of cloudynights will show you what similar items sold for. On the same note if you buy something that doesnít work out, someone else might by dying for it. Do a gut check on used stuff. I'll usually check out the personís profile, and make sure they have at least posted before, hopefully they have a user rating. Or make sure they don't have a post that said, I just dropped my telescope down the stairs, what do I do now? But so far I haven't had a single bad experience buying off the cloudnights classifieds.
3rd thing. Try to be with him the first night he views Saturn. That planet still knocks my socks off every time.:)

Jim


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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: jerwin]
      #5551410 - 12/03/12 02:27 AM

idk, eyepiece sets are not all bad. today i just bought my first seriously nice eyepiece used at the local club's swap meet, a 16mm Nagler Type 2. it cost me as much used as my Orion Sirius plossl set did brand new. does it knock the socks off the cheap Orion plossls, yes. can it split the double double, no its too low of magnification in my scope to do so. the 6.3mm plossl can split the double double with ease in my scope. i found the set to be a good value honestly and a good way to get ones feet wet with various magnification options, with the set and the 25mm i already had that came with the scope it allowed me a whopping 12 different magnification levels to play with most very well spaced out.

on the filters i agree. i've used the color filters on jupiter and mars and see very little if any extra detail with certain color's, the neutral density filter however is almost mandatory for lunar viewing. all in all i kicked the filters out of my orion eyepiece case today to make more room for the nagler. i can still see myself using the shorter focal length plossls even though i have the nagler and it does show more plantary detail than they do at a lower magnification no less. the 17,25 and 40mm are pretty much obsolete however now that i have a 38mm Q70 and the 16mm T2 Nagler. next up is a shorter focal length wide field televue or explore scientific eyepiece i'm thinking esp considering the level of detail and ease viewing jupiter tonight was with the nagler.


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danyap
member


Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5551823 - 12/03/12 10:55 AM

Ok, I called a classified about an xt6 for $200 (the one I posted earlier). It was purchased in March and they are wanting to upgrade. So this may be the deal we go with. It's practically new! Thoughts on this over buying the 4.5?

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frito
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Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5551828 - 12/03/12 10:58 AM

its a great scope and will not be out grown as fast as the 4.5

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csrlice12
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5551836 - 12/03/12 11:02 AM

"you may not have used GoTo as a crutch but many folks do when they are new. it develops bad habits."

Yes, like having your eye stuck to the eyepiece......it's a hobby, however or whatever you do, it's not a bad habit; it's only how you decide to work it....


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danyap
member


Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5551858 - 12/03/12 11:15 AM

Quote:

its a great scope and will not be out grown as fast as the 4.5



Great! That's what I want to hear.


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danyap
member


Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5551872 - 12/03/12 11:22 AM

Which moon filter would I need to get for the xt6? There are a few on orions website. Which would you recommend?

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csrlice12
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5551880 - 12/03/12 11:29 AM

Go for the variable one.

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panhard
It's All Good
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Loc: Markham Ontario Canada
Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5551970 - 12/03/12 12:37 PM

+1 on the variable polarizer. With it you can tune out the light to your liking. As far as I am concerned the standard Moon filters let too much light through.

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jerwin
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/17/12

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: panhard]
      #5551997 - 12/03/12 12:47 PM

variable polizing filter is very nice. You screw it onto the bottom of your eyepiece and then just twist it to adjust the brigtness. It's crazy how bright the moon is.

Jim


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starbux
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: jerwin]
      #5552049 - 12/03/12 01:28 PM

Another handy aspect of a variable polarizing eyepiece is that if you separate (unscrew) the elements you can get a good view of the (about) quarter moon in the daytime with the sky darkened but not the Moon itself.

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Tony Flanders
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: frito]
      #5552151 - 12/03/12 02:29 PM

Quote:

its a great scope and will not be outgrown as fast as the 4.5




I can't imagine outgrowing an XT4.5; it's an extremely versatile telescope. However, an XT6 is clearly better in every way except storability, portability, and cute factor.


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5552159 - 12/03/12 02:31 PM

Quote:

Which moon filter would I need to get for the xt6? There are a few on orions website. Which would you recommend?




If you're short on money, skip the Moon filter. It's a luxury at best. If you really find the Moon too bright you can always use sunglasses. But I prefer to view the Moon unfiltered in any case.


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CosmoSat
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5552308 - 12/03/12 03:44 PM

Quote:

Ok, I called a classified about an xt6 for $200 (the one I posted earlier). It was purchased in March and they are wanting to upgrade. So this may be the deal we go with. It's practically new! Thoughts on this over buying the 4.5?




A 6" has almost twice the light gathering power than the 4.5", which translates into resolution...that's something u can consider..and u are getting it at about 2/3rd the price of what its available as of now..(tho at that price u can get an 8" used too if u r willing to spend more time looking..but cant rely on that really..)


Clear skies!


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C_Moon
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: CosmoSat]
      #5553114 - 12/03/12 11:40 PM

I agree with the advice to skip the moon filter. I never use one.

If I were you, I'd go with the 6" scope.

Good luck.


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kfiscus
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5553138 - 12/03/12 11:55 PM

Buy the 6" and take good care of it. You can sell it for the same $$$ if you decide to move up.

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Saneless
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Reged: 12/03/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5553698 - 12/04/12 10:24 AM

Quote:

Ok, I called a classified about an xt6 for $200 (the one I posted earlier). It was purchased in March and they are wanting to upgrade. So this may be the deal we go with. It's practically new! Thoughts on this over buying the 4.5?



I registered just to say that if you really want an XT6i you can do the custom/build your own option on Orion and get it for about 400. Much more economical than the IMO overpriced 8XTi.

But for $200, you need to just get that one. That is an excellent price. And anyone who "wants to upgrade" probably took decent care of it compared to someone who just simply wants to get rid of it.


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TahoeNoob
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: Saneless]
      #5553708 - 12/04/12 10:30 AM

I would get the XT6, as well.

11 year olds get bigger fast, and he's probably going to need some supervision (at the start) anyway.


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danyap
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Reged: 12/01/12

Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: TahoeNoob]
      #5556174 - 12/05/12 06:43 PM

XT6 purchased and waiting for Christmas! Thanks for your help everyone! Much appreciated!

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TahoeNoob
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Reged: 10/31/12

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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5556443 - 12/05/12 09:17 PM

Be sure to come back and let us know how things go!

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Achernar
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Re: Telescope for 11 year old under $250? help! new [Re: danyap]
      #5556458 - 12/05/12 09:21 PM

He'll do fine with that telescope, and from a dark site he could see galaxies and planetary nebulae dimmer than 12th magnitude. A 6-inch will go well beyond the Messier objects, there's hundreds of NGC and IC objects accessible to him from a good site. It will still be used a lot even if he gets a much larger telescope later, my 6-inch gets used quite often despite having two bigger telescope. From a good site I was often surprised at what a 6-inch with good optics and mounting can really do. Many folks start off with a 6-inch Newtonian or Dob, which is still a very good all purpose beginner's telescope. Hopefully this will plant the seed for him to enter a career in science, mathematics, engineering or technology.

Taras


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