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Looking for beginner telescope recommendations

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posted on May, 11 2018 @ 07:19 PM
It's my daughters 10th bday in a few days.
She told me she's going to be an astronaut when she grows up, and I believe her.
So she asked for a telescope for her birthday.

I want to get her one that she can connect to her laptop, and once properly set up will navigate her to the stellar body she wants to look at.

I'm not looking to break the bank here. But something decent quality and that can do the above is preferable

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 07:24 PM
a reply to: Macenroe82

My 9 year old daughter is one of two girls in her class to be accepted into the STEM ( Science Technology Engineering Math) program for the gifted at her school next year.

Looking forward to the replies in this thread.

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 07:24 PM

edit on 11-5-2018 by abe froman because: double post

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 07:34 PM
The problem is going to be getting all that you want in your post for a decent amount of money. Quality optics and a quality mount cost money plain and simple.

Don't buy a no-name brand. Celestron is iffy. Best bang for the buck is Orion, specifically one of their Newtonian reflectors. Get her a 5" reflector and a star map, bonus points if it has a Dobsonian mount. Using a telescope properly takes time. Time teaching yourself and your daughter to use one is time well spent.

I have a Celestron 5" Reflector ( okay ) and an Orion 8" Reflector. I live in a rural area with dark skies and excellent seeing most of the time.

With the 5", I can see the planets and resolve Saturn's rings faintly. With the 8", I can easily see Jupiter's moons and resolve Saturn's rings clearly. I can also see most Messier objects clearly.

Maximum magnification isn't what you're after. You want quality glass and a stable mount, otherwise you'll be disappointed with the results.
edit on 5-11-2018 by cynicalheathen because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 07:35 PM
Can you give us an estimate what you are willing to spend?

The Celestron NexStar 130SLT will set you back about 550€. It´s beginner level, easy setup-routine, motorized, has 4000 objects in the database. However you will need a camera hooked up to it if you want her to view it on a screen.

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 07:39 PM
a reply to: verschickter

I'm not looking to break the bank.
But I feel it's an excellent investment into her future and something her and I can share a passion for together.
So I'm looking for something under or around $1000.

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 07:42 PM
I'd go apey over a 8 inch

i tried to make a 6 inch on a mahogany base.....equatorial base.....but only had 20 inches of focal distance.....needed 33......twas fun.....200 bucks total

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 07:43 PM
a reply to: cynicalheathen

Thanks for the tips. I completely agree with a quality mount.
I have a 6" Newtonian Meade. On a no name mount and it's a nightmare.
One slight move, hell even a deep breath and I'm in the bush.

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 07:43 PM
My personal advice, before you spent that much, get her a cheap newtonian telescope between 80-180€. Not too cheap or it will frustrate her to much and she looses interest.

TS Optics Starscope 1149 Newton, to give you an idea. It can be upgraded to a motorized version.

You need to get into the topic then to show her how she can setup this thing. Also, with light-polution, she´s going to have a hard time even with the best digital telescope, if it´s intended to be stationed in her room or the house.

At ten years old, could be in 2 months she looses interest. So my final advice is to get a basic telescope and take her onto a camping trip two or three times to max out the experience. If she´s into it and -important- comes up to you and asks when you go the next time starwatching, sell the basic one and upgrade to a professional one.

If you get in big and she looses interest you wasted a ton of money for the good will. If she´s into it even though she "struggles" with the manual one, you know your next investment won´t be a dust collector.

Edit: I see you already have one, did she used this already? Sorry it´s not clear from the OP if she has handled a telescope before.
edit on 11-5-2018 by verschickter because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 08:00 PM
The 8" I have was inherited from my wife's uncle. I always wanted, but something else always came up when I had the money. So imagine my surprise when the exact model I wanted fell into my hands.

My wife was in awe when she first saw the Galilean moons. I grew up with a cheap Meade refractor on a basic mount. It seemed great as a kid, but when I moved on to bigger and better things, it became apparent how lacking it was. Still, I learned how to find my way around the night sky. My father in law brought over his fancy 5" Celestron reflector with computerized mount, and in the time it took him to get it dialed in, I was already showing people all kinds of different sights using just the setting circles and sky chart.

I agree with the poster that said don't spend a bunch in case she doesn't stick with it.

A quick look at turns up a few beginner choices.

The Orion 130ST ( EQ )
The Orion Skyquest XT8 ( Dob )
The Orion Starseeker ( any, computerized )

Keep in mind that the more expensive the mount, the lower quality the optics in the same price point.

A light bucket ( big reflector on a Dobsonian mount ) is an excellent choice for a rural area. I'd like a 12" or 16" one day.

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 08:07 PM
a reply to: Macenroe82

Get a small refractor from Meade, orion or celestron.
She can use a refractor in daylight to get used to it's function where a reflector is useless in daylight.

Something like this one.

If she likes the hobby you can always get bigger and better later but you're not out much money this way.

Also look around for local telescope clubs.
They are always friendly and love showing off their toys.
edit on 11-5-2018 by Bluntone22 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 08:16 PM
a reply to: verschickter

We live in the country side of a small city. There's zero light pollution out here.

The nice thing is, for the past 2 years, she is always by my side when I'm out in the yard using mine, so I know her interest won't deteriorate.
If anything, she will be out in the yard by herself at night.
That's another reason why I'm willing to spend more on it.

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 08:25 PM
Oh and just to get this straight so you all know. I'm by no means an expert, or even novice when it comes to telescopes. I still consider myself a complete beginner. I just look at the sky, point and dial it in.
I'm completely happy pointing it up at the moon and sitting for hours staring into the craters. or Venus. But tonight Jupiters on the menu,
Apparently it's the best time to see her.

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 10:36 PM
Good info. My friend just moved to the boonies in Nevada. We’re talking about going halvsies on a good one. Between one and two grand. I’ve got a cheap one as well but still love looking out there. Especially the moon and Jupiter. When my friends see the red spot a big ol grin spreads across their face. Never fails. Time to take it up a notch. I’ll check out the Orion’s.

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 11:48 PM
I'm not real familiar with scopes either but came across this kickstarter for one just yesterday that seemed interesting. The only problem is that it wouldn't be available until June of next year at the earliest but you save over 50%. IjVPD_BwE

$1000 is pretty wide and you can get a real solid one it seems. Amazon has a few you could go with as well.

posted on May, 12 2018 @ 03:33 AM
If starting out, I would suggest a good pair of binoculars rather than a telescope. Less hassle, easier to use and more immediate. Plus, more versatile if the star gazing does not work out. Get a decent, but inexpensive pair from a well known company as this will give some guarantee of the optics e.g Olympus, Nikon or Pentax etc.. .

The thing to look for is the magnification and the aperture. I would suggest a pair of 10x50 (or even less) as these won't be too big and the magnification (10) is not so big as to introduce "wobble". Your daughter could rest the binoculars on a bean bag, or something for stability, or get a pair which has a tripod attachment.

Personally, I am privileged to live in an area of the UK with "dark skies". There is so much to offer from a night sky if people only bothered to look up. Good luck.

posted on May, 12 2018 @ 04:58 AM
If ease-of-use is paramount, go with a Meade ETX-125. Autostar, and is Azimuth mounted, which avoids the always nasty North Pole declination adjustment that must be done every time you take an Emount outside. The computer does all of the translation to equatorial and all it has to know is your Lat/Long and time of day. The optics are good, it is a Maksutov design and it rings in for under $700, which is nice to your bank account. You can plug this right into your laptop, and use it with Starry Night.
edit on 12-5-2018 by charlyv because: content

Disclaimer: I don't work for Meade, but like their products. I have a legacy Celestron C8 personally, and I just like it because it has unprecedented optics, but she is a totally manual operation.
edit on 12-5-2018 by charlyv because: spelling , where caught

Also, if you want the ability to put realtime video on the laptop and not just star charts, a cheap Celestron NexImage 5 USB Eyepiece is great. The software can split screen with Starry Night, and you can take pictures and video as well.
edit on 12-5-2018 by charlyv because: content

posted on May, 12 2018 @ 06:27 AM
FWIW I would thoroughly recommend a TAL 1. It's a 4" reflector which unusually comes mounted on a pedestal rather than a tripod, but what this means is it's absolutely rock solid, no swaying in the breeze like a typical low cost tripod that comes with most entry level telescopes. The optics are also of very good quality and it's built like a tank - it's Russian made scope and has probably been made from scrapped T-55's or something! The OTA itself is made from a solid metal tube, again not like the typical thin alu tubes like other entry level scopes.

I did loads of research before buying my first scope and after reading a numberof good reviews went for the TAL. As it was my first scope I didn't want to spend a lot of money but also didn't want to buy a 'cheap' one that maybe would've been a disappointment to use. So I bought my TAL 1 from ebay for about £70 (GBP), that was several years ago, and only sold it recently as I bought a motorised, larger TAL 2M as an upgrade - again off ebay as I couldn't justify buying a new one. The views through it are very good, I remember seeing Saturn for the first time and its rings; and Jupiter with its GRS and four of its larger moons. Views of the moon and Mars were also very pleasing.

I'm nowhere near an expert on telescopes and astronomy, but I think it's a great beginners telescope as it's of a very high build quality, so hard to damage; the lens's that come with it are of good quality too, the pedastal type mount does mean that looking through it are very stable - you'd be amazed by how much a telescope wobbles on a cheap tripod when you're actually looking through the viewfinder. Also, if you can get one on ebay or a used one then it's minimal outlay just in case your daughter doesn't get into astronomythat much; if she doesn't then you haven't wasted money, but of course if she does, and it sounds like she will, then it's a great beginners telescope before she moves onto bigger and better things!

Here's some reviews from online...

I hope this helps, OP

posted on May, 12 2018 @ 08:13 AM
A refractor of 60MM or more, 80MM is nice. Don't cheese out on the tripod, that is key to a still view. Tasco makes Beginner scopes. Some will laugh, but many an astronomer started with Tasco's. SKY magazine will give you some idea of what's out there. You can probably see the rings of Saturn with a 80 MM pretty well. In fact with a star chart, nebulas, Andromeda, the moon and a host of impressive things are not unheard of. And with the Moon, craters in great detail.
edit on 12-5-2018 by Plotus because: LOOK SOMETHING SHINEY

posted on May, 12 2018 @ 08:17 AM
Another thing to consider is Light Pollution. It will drive you nuts, you want dark black skies for the best viewing.

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