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What would be your approach to getting kids involved in astronomy?

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#51 aeajr

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 05:57 PM

Unfortunately for me, my son was already about 13/14 when I (by chance) became interested in observing.. Can't teach them anything at the age he's @ now. Him and the wife refer to it as "my" hobby. Some other dynamics there but thats what it is for now.  There's always hope. The natural world is full of marvels though, perhaps something else will strike him one day , at just the right moment when he's receptive.   As it happens with me.  I will

 Find it hard not to be insulted if it turns out to be cloud appreciation ;) actually clouds ARE often beautiful to watch but I don't think I have to tell

 You its nowhere near my first choice.  

 

One thing I feel confident to recommend to other parents: never, ever, ever buy them a gaming system. Might as well buy them a crack pipe.  :undecided: im sure not ALL kids get so sucked in, but so many do. Never been one for games much myself.   

 

 

Want to get  his attention, show him a few items that are visible with the naked eye.  Suggest that these are things he can show his friends when they are outside.  Give him a chance to be the big guy in the group.     A casual mention that girls especially seem to be fascinated by stars.   If that doesn't get him nothing will.  ;)



#52 redpanda1203

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 06:27 PM

When I was young, I started with I believe 10x50 binos, and taught myself everything through books, if the kid is 10 or older get some books and a good pair of binos for them to start out. Binoculars are a great way to learn the sky, plus you can see some pretty cool DSO's(if you have larger ones)

#53 RobS10

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 09:18 AM

I just ran across this site and have an 11 year old who is starting to become interested. We live in San Francisco, so between our fog and light pollution, not a lot of great dark sky viewing. I had bought a Tasco 60mm x 800mm telescope at the Goodwill store for $12.00 a couple years ago, and borrowed a Celestron Astromaster 70 from my Inlaws. I also have a pair of Swift 8.5 x 44 binoculars. So far, we really haven't use the telescopes or even binoculars too much yet, as the opportunities for clear viewing haven't been very often lately.

 

I have never been that interested in astronomy, so the interest my son has been showing is all self generated, within the last year. We installed Nightsky on our iPad, which he likes, but I think one of the things that started pulling him in is a computer game called Universe Sandbox where he can build his own virtual solar system. He also loves "How the Universe Works" on Discovery.

 

My sister has a telescope that belonged to her late husband, who worked on the Voyager 1 probe for JPL. She is going to give it to my son when she visits soon, so we'll hope for some clearer skies!

We also have a cabin in the Stanislaus National Forest that's 17 miles from the closest town, and hope to go up sometime soon with our new gear. Sky is 3D up there!

 

We thought about a newer, more powerful, larger aperture telescope so we can get better views here in S.F., but want to see if this new hobby sticks before we invest more. Will look at some of the books mentioned in this thread  Are 10 x 50 binoculars going to be much different than the 8.5s we have?



#54 Johnnydman

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 10:38 AM

My oldest (7) and I  recently listened to "D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths" on audio book during our short morning commute. I'm now interested in finding the book to see the illustrations.



#55 aeajr

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 10:50 AM

Robs10,

 

Start with the binoculars.  The beauty of binoculars is that there is no set-up time.  They are always ready to go.  If the sky clears for 30 minutes, all of a sudden, you can pull out the binos and you are in business.

 

A lot of my observation reports start with, "I was taking the garbage out when I looked up and saw a clear sky so I pulled out my binoculars for 15 minutes."

 

8X40s or 10X50s are excellent starting points.  Your 8.5x44 are perfect.

 

Introduction to Binoculars for Star Gazing - Yourtube video
Seeing targets in Taurus
https://www.youtube....h?v=6fHKG9tkPQU

 

Top 6 tips for using ordinary binoculars for stargazing

http://earthsky.org/...-for-stargazing

 

Top 10 binocular Targets

http://www.astronomy...nomy-beginners/

 

How to hold binoculars

http://binocularsky.com/binoc_hold.php


Edited by aeajr, 02 February 2016 - 10:59 AM.

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#56 aeajr

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 10:52 AM

My oldest (7) and I  recently listened to "D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths" on audio book during our short morning commute. I'm now interested in finding the book to see the illustrations.

http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0440406943



#57 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 11:29 AM

I've been watching this thread and getting ideas. Thanks!

 

Frankly i've been in a drought for observing lately so i've not been that intrigued lately with 85% chance of cloudy skies and the cold, but i'm looking forward to warmer temps. The only bad thing is some of the best things are seen during the winter.

 

I think where I would begin is taking advantage of the outreach events local astronomy clubs have. Our local club has a Stargaze program  http://www.iasindy.o...dNaturePark.php offered at a local county park that has rather dark skies. There is a short program where on of our members gives a talk about the size off the Universe. Yes this does blow kids minds, but its amazing how many questions are raised by 5-8 yr olds that truly are relevant to others. Sometimes I think we all sell short the reach of these little minds  :grin: The presentation last time started with the size of Earth, then the distance from the earth to the moon, what a light year is and then He talked about the Hubble Extreme Deep Field which blew their minds as well as mine for that matter.

 

After the 1/2 hr presentation our society has a storage shed on the park's property with many 8" Orion manual dobs. Members also bring their scopes. We try and hit different targets so everyone has something different to look at. 

 

Its kinda a tell them about it and then show them type of program. It works well! We even see High School kids giddy to the point of asking tons of questions about what types of scopes they should buy, etc. We tell them to join the club and that will come.


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#58 aeajr

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 11:47 AM

 

Frankly i've been in a drought for observing lately so i've not been that intrigued lately with 85% chance of cloudy skies and the cold, but i'm looking forward to warmer temps. The only bad thing is some of the best things are seen during the winter.

 

Tell me about it. I had to cancel a star party I organized Saturday because the forecast was for clear but the clouds did not get the memo and rolled in as I was packing my car to go to the darker site.  :(


Edited by aeajr, 02 February 2016 - 11:48 AM.


#59 aeajr

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 01:38 PM

If you want to have a "star party" for children, or adults, here are some suggestions.  I have worked with young children in sports, flying model airplanes, arts and crafts and some limited experience with them in astronomy.

 

Here are my suggestions for working with one or more children from age 5 to 95.

 

  • Give them something to take home with them.  A printed star chart of tonight's sky is good.
    http://whatsouttonight.com/
     
  • Have them circle all of the things they saw so they can look for them again when they get home.  That is why I  focus on things that are visible with the naked eye.
     
  • Keep it light and fun.  Do all the set-up work up front.  They are here for the fun part, not the work part. This is not a lesson it is a star party.
     
  • Show them some asterisms that they can pick out after they go home.  Mark them on the chart.  This will help them orient the chart to the sky.
     
  • Binoculars are far more intuitive if you have some that are a size they can hold. Teach them to look at the object then to raise the binoculars into their line of sight.  If there are binoculars at home tell them to bring them.
     
  • Have some targets planned that can be seen with the naked eye.  Mark them on the chart. See them with the binoculars first, then the telescope. When they leave they can look up and see what they have never noticed before.   I love the Pleiades in binoculars.
     
  • Explain what you are going to show them before you show them.   Point it out in the sky so they understand where the telescope is pointing. ( "See that smudge there? That is a star nursery where stars are born. It is called the Orion Nebulae")  Then show it to them and point out the pieces and parts.  Mark it on the chart.
     
  • A green laser pointer is a tremendous aid to helping them see what you are explaining.  Look over there is hard.  See where the green laser is pointing is much easier and is so much more exciting to watch.
     
  • If you have a zoom lens this provides a huge WOW factor.  Start on low power then zoom in.  They love this.  I have a Celestron 8-24.  It is my most used eyepiece.
     
  • Splitting an easy double, like Albireo, is fun.  It is really fun with a zoom.
     
  • If you know the story behind a constellation, tell them the story.  Kids love stories that they can share with their friends.

Then show them how to target the scope if it can be targeted manually or show them how to use the GoTo controller.  Give them an easy target and help them find it but let them do the pointing with minimal help from you.    Moon, Jupiter, Pleiades, etc.  Let them be successful that first night.

 

Just some suggestions from someone who loves working with children of all ages.  :)


Edited by aeajr, 02 February 2016 - 01:43 PM.

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#60 RobS10

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 09:07 AM

Robs10,

 

Start with the binoculars.  The beauty of binoculars is that there is no set-up time.  They are always ready to go.  If the sky clears for 30 minutes, all of a sudden, you can pull out the binos and you are in business.

 

A lot of my observation reports start with, "I was taking the garbage out when I looked up and saw a clear sky so I pulled out my binoculars for 15 minutes."

 

8X40s or 10X50s are excellent starting points.  Your 8.5x44 are perfect.

 

Introduction to Binoculars for Star Gazing - Yourtube video
Seeing targets in Taurus
https://www.youtube....h?v=6fHKG9tkPQU

 

Top 6 tips for using ordinary binoculars for stargazing

http://earthsky.org/...-for-stargazing

 

Top 10 binocular Targets

http://www.astronomy...nomy-beginners/

 

How to hold binoculars

http://binocularsky.com/binoc_hold.php

Thank you! For some reason, my son seems biased when I suggested we try the binoculars (I think he thinks how can those little things be anywhere as good as a bigger telescope), but so true about being to grab them and look :-). Will read the links you gave..


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#61 aeajr

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 10:04 AM

RobS10

 

Explain to him that binoculars are not an alternative to a telescope, they are another tool in the toolbox.  When you brought them up he probably figured you were trying to avoid the telescope.  I would have if I was a kid and asked for a telescope.   

 

Go find a park somewhere where you can find darker clear skies.  Check it out during the day.  Bring the binoculars and all of your telescopes.  Set them up and test them during the day. Get to know them during the day.

 

Now look for a night when the skies are predicted to be clear over the park.  Head there with your binoculars, all of your telescopes and make an evening of it.   Invite him to bring one or two of his friends.   Have a star party.  They will love it.  Give them access to the binoculars and the telescopes and let them go wild.

 

A night when the moon is partial would be best as that is the easiest target.   Jupiter is up now after 10:00 pm and in better position after 10:30.  It will be rising in the SE earlier and earlier each night.  It will be very bright so you can easily mistake it for a helicopter with a search light on it, but it won't be moving very fast.  As the night progresses it will be higher and higher in the sky.  The higher it is the better the view.  With your binoculars you can see Jupiter and may be able to see the 4 visible moons around it as pinpoints of light.  In the 60 mm telescope at 20X or higher you should have no problem seeing the moons. Very cool!  As this is a bright target you can likely take that 60 mm telescope to 100X if you have eyepieces for that mag.  At that magnification you should be able to see the two major dark bands on Jupiter.  Due to atmospheric interference they may drift in and out of focus.  That is the air, not your telescope.

 

You will need some other targets.  Print this chart out.  3 pages.  Even marks good binocular targets -

3 pages full of observing tips and related info. I just found this yesterday.

http://whatsouttonight.com/

 

Start using your 8.5X40s and start to get to know the sky.   Then, when you oooh and ahhhh with them, don't let him look.  But of course you will give in.   ;)

 

What you will find over time, if you get fully engaged in the hobby, is you will have binoculars, a smaller "grab and go" scope for quick sessions and for travel.   Then there will be the big scope, the "light bucket".   That 60 mm can be your grab and go, at least for a while but it is fine for planets if the tripod is stable.

 

You can get them in any order.   I got the binoculars first, then the next step was my 80 mm refractor which is now my grab and go scope. my Meade ETX80.  Then I got the "light bucket" which is my Orion XT8i.  For some the XT8i would be their grab and go and they might have a 16" scope as their light bucket.  Some people start with the big scope and then fill in, never realizing they would want the others.

 

But binoculars will never go to waste.  I use mine during the day, take them with me on trips so I can star gaze even on business trips.

 

My $20 Gordons just went to a friend to help him get started.  I replaced them with these Garretts on advice that this was a really good deal.   They arrive tomorrow.  Could not stand to be without 10X50s for long even though I also have 15X70s.  And I am thinking of 7X35s to round out the mix, especially for when I have kids over at one of my little star parties.

http://www.ebay.com/...aAAAOSwKIpWFTUq

 

Continue your personal education so you can guide him until he can guide you. ;)

http://earthsky.org/tonight

http://www.beckstrom...tonights-sky-2/

 

Load Stellarium on your windows computer - I use this every day. - Free

www.stellarium.org


Edited by aeajr, 03 February 2016 - 10:56 AM.


#62 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 11:18 AM

My kids are still really young (4 and 6) and yes their attention spans are really limited. My current setup is an 8" SCT with an old fork mount. Its kinda a behemoth and takes time to get setup and polar aligned if I want to track objects. Sure, from time to time I get setup and then call the family out to look at stuff.

 

My plan is to get a GOTO German EQ mount and de-fork my SCT. (the fork mount does not have goto). At some point I want to get a decent but not too expensive refactor to use on the same mount. 

 

I like the idea of a refractor because it gives good wide views and also is good as a opportunity scope given hardly any cool down required (I think this is somewhat key with astronomy at home with the kids). Basically if the kids are almost ready for bed and I step out and there's a break in the clouds I could grab a 80mm refractor on an alt az and be set up for looking at the moon or planets with a few minutes. The kids could get their views and ask any question. Think of it like if theres cookies in the kitchen they are going to grab them. I like the idea of a dob, but there's still time to set up and cool down

 

Given that the German EQ will take time to set up it would also be nice to have a less expensive Alt Az mount accepting the same dovetail. Maybe I could get a deal on a used 80mm apo and put it on a Vixen Porta II for the kids. The Porta II and the Explore Sci Twilight seem to have the best reviews

http://www.optcorp.c...mount-5863.html

 

My SCT would fit on the Porta as well so it could make for a decent grab and go setup, so it could be a win win either with the 8" sct or an 80mm refractor


Edited by Spacefreak1974, 03 February 2016 - 11:24 AM.


#63 aeajr

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 01:20 PM

If you want the kids to get involved, really involved, get something you will let them touch, let them point.    Look but don't touch is not as engaging. 

 

Perhaps the 4 year old is still a bit young to handle a telescope but inexpensive and not too crappy kids binoculars might work to give them a feeling of involvement and excitement.  And they can be used to look at birds and trees and other things.   Perhaps something like one of these:

http://www.amazon.co...en's binoculars

http://www.amazon.co...7X35 binoculars

 

If your 6 year old is responsible enough you might even consider a better low cost pair of 7X35 binoculars that are light enough for them to use with a little supervision. You might find they like these better than your high power telescope.

 

But a 6 year old, if reasonably responsible, could have a hands on scope.  In the first post I suggest the Celestron travel scopes.  I did not suggest them because they are the best but because they are small, cheap, wide view and pack up into  a back pack.   That is something a 6 year old could actually learn to take out and set-up on his own with some help and supervision. 

 

NOW you are getting the kids engaged rather than buying daddy new toys that they can look through but can't touch.

 

Just something to think about.


Edited by aeajr, 03 February 2016 - 01:23 PM.


#64 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 03:20 PM

If you want the kids to get involved, really involved, get something you will let them touch, let them point.    Look but don't touch is not as engaging. 

 

Perhaps the 4 year old is still a bit young to handle a telescope but inexpensive and not too crappy kids binoculars might work to give them a feeling of involvement and excitement.  And they can be used to look at birds and trees and other things.   Perhaps something like one of these:

http://www.amazon.co...en's binoculars

http://www.amazon.co...7X35 binoculars

 

If your 6 year old is responsible enough you might even consider a better low cost pair of 7X35 binoculars that are light enough for them to use with a little supervision. You might find they like these better than your high power telescope.

 

But a 6 year old, if reasonably responsible, could have a hands on scope.  In the first post I suggest the Celestron travel scopes.  I did not suggest them because they are the best but because they are small, cheap, wide view and pack up into  a back pack.   That is something a 6 year old could actually learn to take out and set-up on his own with some help and supervision. 

 

NOW you are getting the kids engaged rather than buying daddy new toys that they can look through but can't touch.

 

Just something to think about.

Understood, but if it could do both?.. I would be totally ok with letting my kids play with that combo (or at least my 6 yr old). Maybe an achromat instead of an apo unless I can find an Orion 80 Apo which sseem to be pretty inexpensive on the used market.  I've tried binoculars with my kids. They like them more for terrestrial viewing and so do I. If I can find something in my finder scope i'm hitting it with my larger scope quickly. I cant ever hold them steady enough to get a decent view and i've had a lot of practice  :) I cant imagine a child (at least mine) getting a steady view of anything with binoculars, but I can certainly see my son being able to point an alt/az refractor it at the moon or if I point to Jupiter with my laser pointer he could get it in the eyepiece using the alt-az mount. 



#65 aeajr

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 12:08 PM

I have been giving this thought.  One of the options I had not really considered was a spotting scope with a zoom eyepiece.   You can pick up scopes like this for under $100 on a table top tripod.   Small, compact, easy for travel.   Much steadier than binoculars and not as complex as a telescope with interchangeable eyepieces.

 

I have never used a spotting scope personally so how well would this work as a child's first telescope?    Should also work well for daytime use like birds and ships and such.

 

Opinions?

 

Perhaps something like this, just as an example

 

12-36X60

http://www.amazon.co...=spotting scope

 

Or this 20-60X60

http://www.amazon.co...ing scope&psc=1

 

or this 20-60 - They have frequent 20% off coupons

http://www.harborfre...ipod-62774.html

 

 

 

 

 

I know the zoom eyepiece that I use gets a WOW from kids.  These scopes cost about the same as a zoom eyepiece alone.


Edited by aeajr, 10 March 2016 - 12:26 PM.


#66 justfred

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 11:32 AM

What a great topic.

 

Our club does a lot of outreach to kids.

 

Charotar and John hit the key point - keep it simple.

 

In a large group show them the moon, planets, M13, and M42/43. Don't get frustrated because you'll be lucky if you see a  spark of interest in only one or two - but they are the ones you're there for. Green lasers to point out the constellations are always a favorite. Most of the kids will want to play with the laser ( bad idea - never never never) but you're looking for the one or two that look at where you're pointing instead of what you're pointing with.

 

For one-on-one with young kids - a planisphere and a copy of H.A. Rey's ,The Stars, A New Way to See Them can"t be beat. Rey"s constellation lines never caught on but the intro to the sky is the best. A pair of small binoculars or an Astroscan or one of its newer incarnations would be good.

 

Also, and just as important, people usually think of the hobby as one for science minded folk. Not necessarily  so.  Some like it for the sheer beauty. No science required. Don't scare someone off with too much talk about the nuclear chemistry of star cycles. Leave room for the star-hoppers. 

 

Many thanks to you and all the others that share the hobby with kids.

 

What a great topic.

 

Fred



#67 drollere

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 04:58 PM

show them saturn, jupiter and the moon through a telescope. they will either want more or will ask to have their smartphone back.


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#68 rcooley

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 06:26 PM

My wife's been an editor for about a year on a new animated science show for PBS called Ready Jet Go.  All about kids, science, and learning about the universe.  After working on that show for about a month or so, she became very interestd in what I was looking at through the telescope!  It's a great companion primer to getting kids (and wives) started in astronomy, but from a non parental kids point of view.  



#69 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 07:04 PM

My wife's been an editor for about a year on a new animated science show for PBS called Ready Jet Go.  All about kids, science, and learning about the universe.  After working on that show for about a month or so, she became very interestd in what I was looking at through the telescope!  It's a great companion primer to getting kids (and wives) started in astronomy, but from a non parental kids point of view.  

I very much agree! My kids are 5 and almost 7. It's like Dinosaur Train but Astronomy and space exploration. 



#70 aeajr

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 10:50 AM

Ultimately it is all about getting the kids engaged.   When my girls were young we exposed them to every activity we could as you never know what will get  their attention.   Track, dance, acting, softball, swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, anything they wanted.   Let them taste and see what they like.  And we always tried to align it with their friends as that was so important to them.

 

Many of these involved equipment.  When I think of buying something to get children engaged I think of how I can get them engaged with the equipment, the tool, as much as with the subject matter. Let's face it, we are all engaged with astronomy but we are also very engaged with the tools of astronomy. If you have problems with the tools and the equipment you have problems with the subject matter. 

 

For kids, in my opinion, the tools don't have to be the best, they just have to be adequate and appropriate.  Chances are their useful life will be relatively short as the kid moves on to the next shiny thing.  Or they need to be versatile, useful for more than one thing.   A lot of their friends played softball with soccer cleats.  If they got  serious, then we looked at the "good stuff".

 

I was following a discussion on another forum about a Dad who was concerned because his parents had purchased a "department store" 60 mm telescope for his 8 year old son. Cheap, wobbly mount and the like. Dad has a 6" Dob as I recall. He was concerned with how frustrated his son would become and was asking about how he could "save" this piece of junk to spare his child the disappointment.

 

Exactly the opposite happened. His son was THRILLED. This was HIS telescope. He talked about it at school. He brought friends home to see it. They were all thrilled. He decorated it with stickers. I think they even set up star parties for his friends. And when he and Dad went star gazing he only wanted to use HIS telescope. So Dad selected targets that were good for that scope. I learned a lot from that discussion.

 

Ownership means a lot to a child. Binoculars and spotting scopes are also useful for daytime use. Birds, ships, other terrestrial purposes. Binoculars can also be used for sporting events.  As the child becomes more engaged with the equipment, that barrier of using the equipment goes away and the subject matter becomes the focus. It stops being about the telescope/binoculars/spotting scope and more about what you can do with it.  Binoculars, spotting scopes and telescopes with right image angles present that ability to be used during the day.

 

So, in my opinion, the goal is to open up the child's space, their reach, beyond what they can see and touch normally. What tools and what methods we use is part of what this discussion is about. Clubs and books and activities are just as important.

 

When I started this discussion I was interested in your approach and you have all been very generous with your ideas. Thanks.  Hopefully we have all learned something new.   Whether we have young children, neighbor kids we would like to reach or grand children, there may be a good idea here that could help us help them get engaged in a new area of discovery.  

 

For me it is more about the outreach opportunities, working with the neighborhood kids, my friend's kids or public events that I might attend where I will have an opportunity to engage with children.


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#71 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 12:30 PM

I do think it would be interesting if the astronomical society i'm involved in would get some table top newtonians/dobs either the 76-82mm, buy a wood outdoor table (or one made from composite so it wouldn't rot away) and have one person guide folks who sit down during outreach events and do a walk through. You could use the red dot finders and have them align to a green laser the "guide" would have.


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#72 microwerx

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 03:47 PM

For the iPhone and iPad, Sky Guide (Sky Guide: View Stars Night or Day by Fifth Star Labs LLC
https://appsto.re/us/EXGxI.i) and Cosmographia for the iPad (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cosmographia/id519714038?mt=8) have been enormously visually appealing and informational. Very little money for immense amounts of info.

For those who were fans of Celestia, the developer helped make Sky Guide.

I also recommend the printouts from IAU and Sky and Telescope as good resources to have handy if you want to show them what the constellations look like.

http://www.iau.org/p...constellations/

 

Screenshot of Sky Guide using its snapshot feature. 

 

image.jpeg

 


Edited by microwerx, 19 March 2016 - 03:53 PM.


#73 Ed Sunder

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 09:25 AM

I have 6 sons who are not nearly as interested in astronomy as I am, but they always are willing to come see whatever I ask them to look at. Beyond just in my immediate family, I do astronomy for my Boy Scout troop and always help out with the Astronomy merit badge at summer camps. The biggest numbers I've had, though, involve Halloween.

 

My neighborhood has hundreds of kids coming through on Halloween (along with adults) and so if it's nice out, I set up my 10" LX-200 in the driveway and point it at the Moon or planets (Saturn is always the best, but Jupiter can put on a good show as well). I've had 250-300 people look through the scope in an evening. The kids are interested enough that they don't even pick up candy from the bowl next to the scope. Some things to think about with this though are that you need to use an eyepiece you're not super attached to - it WILL get makeup on it. Often-times people will get out their cell phones and take pictures through the eyepiece (which works okay), but the wonder and excitement is just infectious. The adults, too, are often amazed that you can see the rings on Saturn or the cloud bands on Jupiter. Setting up a camera and showing them a picture of what it sees on my computer is also popular.

 

Seriously - if you have the opportunity to do this, do it. It's just super fun, you will enjoy yourself immensely and you might get someone else hooked as well.


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#74 csrlice12

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 09:47 AM

Depend on the kid.  Most are fine, if a bit curious.  Others I'd just as soon strap their butt to a rocket and send them there along with their parents.



#75 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 02:55 PM

I now have a 8" Nexstar Evolution and it has the capability to interface with an iPad or Android device running SkyPortal. You can run it from Skyportal and click objects on the screen and the scope will GOTO the object. I'm still learning the scope with the hand controller first but I hope to try the interface. I think it will be great for my kids who have grown up with tablet devices. Once the scope is aligned my guess is my 7 yr old could run it.

 

I do however want to get the kids a scope as well, but I'm not sure what to get. It may be a little early but I've thought of the following scopes: 

6" Skywatcher Dobsonian $305

ES 102 Acromat on an alt az mount: probably too much scope

Fast Ratio 80mm refractor on an alt  az (seems like the best option as knocking it over wouldn't result in messing up collimation too bad)




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