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First Telescope?

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#76 michaelwriting


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Posted 19 November 2018 - 02:02 PM

As one new guy to another (with seven kids of my own), I'm learning a few things about this hobby.


Is this something just for your 4 year old, or do you some serious interest as well? That might determine the direction you want to go. If it is just that your kid wants to have a scope, then you could probably get a cheap 'cool looking' scope on craiglist for under $50 to keep in his room or to look at the moon with. Then you can get hooked up with a local astronomy club to look through the big observatory scopes (with people who will know how to set everything up so your kid can see stuff).


I joined a local club and took my eight year for a couple outings. He loves the stuff. But we learned that he is afraid of the dark. So that changed things a bit. : )


You could consider starting out with a planisphere ($10) or print off some star maps online. You can then use a GREEN laser pointer to point out constellations, stars, and planets to the kid...along with an optional pair of binoculars. Get him acquainted with the night sky. (Being in NY, you may have some issues with green laser pointers and airplanes? Check for legal and safety issues beforehand.) Kids also love the phone apps like Sky Safari (FREE). Load that app on your phone and take it outside. It's like an 'augmented reality' thing which will show him stuff in a cool way. Also consider something like the PC software called Stellarium (it's great, and it's FREE).


After doing that, along with a cheap scope to keep in his room, that might make him happy until he wants to do something else...or go bigger. If he gets bored, at least you saved a bunch of money. If he (or you) stick with it, you can then get some better equipment than you originally intended.


I'm also 'chomping at the bit' to buy some equipment, but I'm holding off and doing a lot of research. There is just so much to learn (and so much to spend). I originally thought that I could spend a couple hundred dollars and get some good stuff. Instead of making a lot of costly mistakes, I'm now learning how to buy the right equipment that will actually be enjoyable and that will serve me for a long time.


Hope something here helps. Take care, Mike

Edited by michaelwriting, 19 November 2018 - 02:11 PM.

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#77 spaceoddity


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Posted 19 November 2018 - 03:49 PM

The 127EQ and 130EQ are horrible scopes. I'd get an AWB OneSky or 6" Dob.

...or the zhumell z130. That's probably the best deal going for a $200 scope. Used 6-8 inch dobs can often be found for 2-300 and would be better yet.

#78 Starkid2u



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Posted 19 November 2018 - 04:10 PM


   You may want to consider visiting Orion Telescopes (www.telescope(s).com) for your needs. They have several telescopes that they feature JUST FOR KIDS. Their eyepieces are of decent quality and many of the packages come with a 20MM and 10MM eyepieces. You will have to get a barlow separately in some cases but I do not recommend one right now, anyway. I was just over there to take a quick look for you and I saw some promising equipment, all well under $200. I do see your point about not going all in just yet. Fair enough. Concentrate on the Moon, planets and stars for now. You don't need to see the DSO's just yet unless they are M42 or M31. Because of his size, I suggest you consider one of the Table-Top scopes. This way you can get a big enough mirror size and find things (a chair or table) that's just the right height for him.

Good luck and good hunting!



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