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  #1  
Old 20-08-2017, 05:08 AM
Dayna (Dayna)
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Lightbulb What to buy for my daughter?

Hi I am new here. Also I am new with astronomy as well.
I joined here for my daughter. She is 4 yo and has lots of interests in space.
She asked me to buy her a telescope for her Christmas Giftt, so she can see the moon properly.
But me and my hubby has no idea about telescopes. I know that we can walk to shopping centre and can just buy one. But at least we want to buy proper and decent one so she can use it for a few years with no problems.
As she is saving some money for the telescope (as I asked her to do), our budget is $200-$300.
Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Thanks
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  #2  
Old 20-08-2017, 08:43 AM
astro744
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Welcome!

There is no one perfect telescope even for a 4 yo. I could recommend a handful of different 'scopes as will others. Do you or your husband have an interest in the stars too?

I think for your budget you could get a short 80/400 (f5) refractor on an AZ3 mount. (About $250). It will show you the Moon and low power sweeps of the stars. It will show you the planets but you need a 3x Barlow in your kit and use it with an eyepiece between 9 and 12mm. The 15mm Superview eyepiece is wonderful for this telescope. One thing you will learn though is that this telescope shows chromatic aberration on planets (any short achromatic refractor does). Another option is a 70/700 (f10) refractor but also on an AZ3 mount if you can get it as the mount usually offered is not very good.

Either of the above telescopes you can keep for a lifetime (especially 80/400) but it won't be your last telescope. If her interest grows then perhaps at the age of 11-13 you could get a 6" f 8 Dobsonian or an 8" f6 Dobsonian.

Note the 80/400 refractor can easily be used for nature study during the day as often they come with a 45 deg correct image diagonal. This refractor is known as a short SW80, ST80 short tube; the main characteristic being 80mm diameter objective lens and 400mm focal length. It usually comes with a 25mm and 10mm eyepiece which are Ok but a 15mm wide angle is really nice in it. These all give low power views with the 10mm giving 40x (400/10). This is nice for the Moon. Add a 2x or 3x Barlow and you have 80x and 120x. The telescope will not take any more power very well. Note do not get a 5x Barlow sas it enhances the chromatic aberration as the power is too high for such a short achromatic refractor.

Also NEVER let her observe anything near the field of the Sun as it will blind in an instant without proper filtration on the main 'scope and finder.

Note the above 'scopes are not toys but you can certainly get toy telescopes as cheap as $99. They will show you the Moon.

Whatever you choose, enjoy!
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  #3  
Old 20-08-2017, 10:56 AM
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+1 for a refractor, an 80mm is a great all rounder for daytime and night time use. Probably best to stay away from the EQ type mounts to start with. Have a look here for some ideas in the skywatcher section.

http://www.andrewscom.com.au/optical-telescopes
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  #4  
Old 21-08-2017, 07:09 AM
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Orion 100mm Tabletop Dobsonian. Its affordable, no dodgy wobbly tripod and its included eyepieces are great (which you rarely get with any scope). Dead easy and fantastic views, even with bigger better scopes I would still use mine. Small and easy to handle, a truly grab and go scope, no assembly and fiddling required. My only views of Neptune were with mine, its more than capable and in your budget. Avoid the celestron Firstscope which looks similar, it may put her off telescope completely. I bought another Orion 100mm for a friend and her boys to enjoy and they love it too.
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  #5  
Old 21-08-2017, 08:59 AM
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Kids often are copying parents,
That's what toys are often about.
Their little lawn mower does not cut grass but they love to play with it...
So many considerations are not relevant.
I gave my daughter a little spotting scope on a tripod with a zoom ep.
She played with it rather than used it... She much preferred to look thru mine really..taking part rather than going it alone.
You may find she would be happy with a cardboard tube that she has put little animals on.
But if you must get a 80mm with a 20 mm or larger ep on a simple tripod...you are buying an instrument she is playing grown ups to a degree...she just wants to be like Daddy...
In any event I compliment you on being such good parents.
Alex
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  #6  
Old 21-08-2017, 09:07 AM
N1 (Mirko)
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Good point Alex, except daddy has "no idea about telescopes" however it's for that reason that a spotting scope, perhaps 2nd hand, does seem like a good option. Looks like a telescope (important for kids), will show the moon magnified and lots of stars when pointed at the Milky Way, will handle abuse OK, and will work well for general terrestrial viewing - so much to discover on the ground as well! Better IMHO than any dedicated astro instrument, for the OP's purposes.
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  #7  
Old 21-08-2017, 09:11 AM
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The aspect of how it gets treated should be understood so as not to cause angst.
Its a toy to them and well toys get left laying around and not treated all that well.
Alex
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  #8  
Old 21-08-2017, 09:13 AM
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And drum into her...never ever look at the Sun.
Alex
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  #9  
Old 21-08-2017, 10:37 AM
SkyWatch (Dean)
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Hi Dayna,

I agree with the idea of a small refractor on fairly sturdy alt-az (i.e.: up/down) mount so that she can look at the moon and do some day-time observing. The 45-degree diagonal is a great idea for children too. I hear what "sil" is saying about the table-top dob: it is a great little entry scope, but the problem for children is that it can't really be used for terrestrial viewing, with its upside-down views- and you can bet that a 4 yo will want to look at anything she can during the day!

Alex and Mirko's comments about a spotting scope are good ideas too: a small spotting scope with a variable magnification eyepiece is great for the moon and terrestrial views. Here is an example of one: https://www.bintel.com.au/product/ce...16-48x-zoom-2/ You would need a tripod for one of these, but a solid camera tripod can be found relatively cheaply. Another good thing about these is that you don't need to remove the eyepiece to change the magnification: much better for a child!

- oh, and avoid like the plague those plastic "telescopes" that you see in toy shops! Nothing is more guaranteed to put someone off for life! For $200-$300 you should be able to get something well made with good optics and a solid mount.

I suggest you go to the Pier Shopping Centre in Cairns and have a chat to the folks at Shop 10: Night Sky Secrets (Ian Maclean is the owner). They might be able to show you through some scopes so you can better assess what you want.

All the best!

- Dean

Last edited by SkyWatch; 21-08-2017 at 10:51 AM.
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  #10  
Old 21-08-2017, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyWatch View Post
Hi Dayna,

I hear what "sil" is saying about the table-top dob: it is a great little entry scope, but the problem for children is that it can't really be used for terrestrial viewing, with its upside-down views- and you can bet that a 4 yo will want to look at anything she can during the day!
Wrong wrong wrong wrong. Its a better than entry level scope, much higher quality. Size doesnt make it entry level. Even though I was using a $15k scope I bought this and used it far more often, its optically capable and no stuffing about in the dark and no bother with collimation. Gives nice crisp point sharp views. It performs WAY above its price point.

Erecting eyepieces are cheap if "upside down" puts you off. plus you're looking DOWN on a tabletop dob so upside down is a matter of where YOU stand to look anyway. Poor assumption, while I speak from experience of this scope with several 2-4yos. Its an aluminium tube with a thick mirror glass in one end, pretty tolerant of small clumsy hands and something YOU can use if she loses interest. Certainly not a toy or incapable piece of equipment.
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  #11  
Old 21-08-2017, 12:31 PM
SkyWatch (Dean)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sil View Post
Wrong wrong wrong wrong. Its a better than entry level scope, much higher quality. Size doesnt make it entry level. Even though I was using a $15k scope I bought this and used it far more often, its optically capable and no stuffing about in the dark and no bother with collimation. Gives nice crisp point sharp views. It performs WAY above its price point.

Erecting eyepieces are cheap if "upside down" puts you off. plus you're looking DOWN on a tabletop dob so upside down is a matter of where YOU stand to look anyway. Poor assumption, while I speak from experience of this scope with several 2-4yos. Its an aluminium tube with a thick mirror glass in one end, pretty tolerant of small clumsy hands and something YOU can use if she loses interest. Certainly not a toy or incapable piece of equipment.
Sorry if I offended you. By "great little entry scope" I meant it is a great scope for its low (read "entry") price...
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  #12  
Old 16-09-2017, 04:44 AM
AEAJR (Ed)
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayna View Post
Hi I am new here. Also I am new with astronomy as well.
I joined here for my daughter. She is 4 yo and has lots of interests in space.
She asked me to buy her a telescope for her Christmas Giftt, so she can see the moon properly.
But me and my hubby has no idea about telescopes. I know that we can walk to shopping centre and can just buy one. But at least we want to buy proper and decent one so she can use it for a few years with no problems.
As she is saving some money for the telescope (as I asked her to do), our budget is $200-$300.
Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Thanks
Did you get a telescope for your daughter? Are you still looking for ideas?

I presume you are going to use this with her as you don't sound like you want a 4 year old's toy.

Have you considered binoculars? Useful for astronomy and for bird watching and other daytime activities that little girls might find interesting.

These are links to US sources. They are just examples.

Children’s binoculars 4-7 years old– 6X21 – $16
I have not used these but they seem go get very good reviews on Amazon
They have glass lenses and prisms. Many children’s binoculars have plastic lenses.
Some smaller children may not be able to use larger binoculars due to the inter pupillary distance being too wide
https://www.amazon.com/ExploreOne-88...27s+binoculars


Bushnell Falcon 7X35 – About $28
For a child 6 and up, or people with small hands who might find the larger, heavier models uncomfortable - I have these
Minimum inter pupil distance is about 51 mm (my measurement) which should work for most children 6 or older but a smaller child might need smaller binoculars. A 4 year old might not be able to use these.
http://www.amazon.com/Bushnell-Falco...lars+with+case



A series of Telescopes in your price range. I presume you will use these and she will grow into them.


Zhumell Tabletop Reflector 130 mm telescope- Probably around 14 pounds
Many tabletops have the eyepiece in a fixed position which can make them inconvenient to use at times. This one has the tube mounted in rings so you can adjust for a comfortable position. Includes 2 eyepieces and a finder scope.
https://www.telescopesplus.com/produ...ctor-telescope



Meade Instruments Infinity 102 AZ Refractor Telescope - About 14 pounds
Includes 3 eyepieces and a 2X barlow and slow motion controls. Gets many great reviews
https://www.amazon.com/Meade-Instrum...2+AZ+Refractor


Celestron Omni XLT 102mm AltAz refractor - all up around 14 pounds - $260
Includes a 25 mm eyepiece, Red dot finder, slow motion controls, correct image focuser for day or night use
You would want to add a second eyepiece, perhaps a 10 mm, and a 2X barlow
https://www.amazon.com/Celestron-221...ctor+telescope
Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oiPcZy2SQc


Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope - 18 pounds
4.5”/114 mm Includes 2 eyepieces, finder scope and other accessories. The mount sits on the floor and is VERY stable.
http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/...CategoryId=398
Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SAnFX8IKPY
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  #13  
Old 16-09-2017, 05:10 AM
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Hi Dayna

For a 4 year old, I would side on the toy telescope option.

I bought my youngest lad a small 60mm refractor telescope from Toys R Us, it was his first and it cost about $50-60. He was six at the time, he loved it and still has it. Great for looking at the moon, stars and doubled as a day time terrestrial viewer. I think it was Edu Science brand, they still sell them.

A couple of years later he wanted another telescope to supplement his 60mm refractor. But this one doubled as a microscope and a table top refractor. It was super portable and opened up two different worlds for him. I think it was made by National Geographic and was around $100. He still has that too, mainly for microscope.

He turns 11 next week and now has a Meade ETX 90 with electric focuser. I certainly wouldn't have bought this straight up at age 6! It's about meeting the age specific needs whilst still providing them encouragement and room to grow.

Other times he is happy to steal peeks through my scopes when they are setup.

I guess what I am saying is you don't have to break the bank to provide encouragement and a toy style telescope will certainly be adequate for a four year old. If it is for you and your husband as well, I would go an 80mm refractor on a tripod or if you can push budget an Alt-Az mount.

Cheers

Gav
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  #14  
Old 16-09-2017, 05:39 AM
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G'day again

Thought I would provide some specific examples of what is available and like what I bought my lad when he was 6 years old.

First is a small refractor which Toys R Us sells for $39.

Second (50mm/600) is similar to his 60mm which Toys R Us sells for $69.

I couldn't find a version of the two in one Nat Geo discovery microscope and telescope. I don't think they sell them anymore, but do sell a double pack for around $50 with both a small refractor and microscope in.

The other thing I forgot, which AEAJR mentioned, was binoculars. He also had a toy set of these that we picked from Toys R Us for around $10-15. He used them all the time especially when we went out for day trips looking at birds etc. It was a great purchase and lasted him about 5 years. They officially died about 2 months ago, worn out from so much use! Example of kids bino's attached too.

End of the day we are talking about a child, who wants the item to be their very own. She will probably want to be able to pick it up and use it when she wants to, and not have to wait for mum and dad etc. However, this brings the added safety concern of unsupervised play and the sun! I drummed and drummed, and still drum this safety aspect in to my youngest lad!

Good luck

Gav
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Old 16-09-2017, 05:41 AM
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Damn iPad attaching images one a a time!

Here's the small refractor.

Toys r Us $39.
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  #16  
Old 16-09-2017, 05:42 AM
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And their (Toys r Us) $69 refractor.

Gav
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Old 16-09-2017, 02:12 PM
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Your best bet is to leave the scope in the shop and buy a decent pair of binoculars and let her explore the night sky and the Moon first, she will love it.
Most Scopes bought for small children end up in the cupboard never to see night again, as their interest span is very short.

About a 8/40 pair would do the job very nicely, and choose the brand you can afford, Pentax, Bushnell, Canon., no supermarket rubbish.

And as Alex mentioned never ever let her point it toward the Sun, it will cost her her sight

And if she dose not take to it you will end up vith a goos pair of Binoculars for yourselves

Leon
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  #18  
Old 16-09-2017, 04:18 PM
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Hi Dayna

At the end of the day, only you know what you truly want to spend and know how your daughter feels.

I believe it needs to be kept in context, and whilst I am not saying I am right and other people are wrong. She is 4 years of age and is looking to play!

I have tried to show that there are cheaper alternatives which are not only fun, easy to use for children and are very cheap. But, most importantly provide inspiration and encouragement.

I think there is nothing better than owning your very first telescope. I still remember mine when I was 9, a cheap Tasco 60mm refractor (plastic tube even!) and two years later I thought I was the best with my 90mm reflector telescope. Both were bought for me by my parents for Christmas, and I can still see them today and have very fond memories.

Like I said, my youngest is 11 and he still has his little Toys r Us scope, even though he nows own's an ETX-90.

What I am trying to say is that kids love play! Getting an adult scope or binoculars worth $200-300 and then locking them away because they are not suitable for her without constant supervision is not encouraging play and young minds!

I agree that a good set of bino's or an 80mm refractor is a great way to go for yourselves to share and encourage this journey with her.

But, for $30 or so. Buy her that very first scope (even if its from Toys R Us) and see how proud and happy it makes her! With the left over money get those bino's for yourselves to share with her, that then also creates parent and child time (together) too!

Obviously I wouldn't be recommending a toy scope if your daughter was a little older!

Anyways, that my two cents as a parent and a kid at heart!

Cheers

Gav

Last edited by GC - South Aus; 16-09-2017 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 19-01-2018, 10:12 AM
Heathcote (Colin)
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Sorry, but I tend to dissagree with all. My suggestion would be buy nothing. FIRST, join a club. Get to know the people and see if they run basic astronomy courses. Go to their dark sky viewing nights and get your daughter to look through all the scopes on display. Get there early (abide by the rule of NO car lights) and watch how easy/hard each is to set up. Then you can see if your daughter's interest remains before you spend/waste your money.
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Old 19-01-2018, 12:29 PM
bigjoe (Joe)
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Originally Posted by Heathcote View Post
Sorry, but I tend to dissagree with all. My suggestion would be buy nothing. FIRST, join a club. Get to know the people and see if they run basic astronomy courses. Go to their dark sky viewing nights and get your daughter to look through all the scopes on display. Get there early (abide by the rule of NO car lights) and watch how easy/hard each is to set up. Then you can see if your daughter's interest remains before you spend/waste your money.
Welcome here Dayna.

Tend to agree too...Lots of clubs around, if shes that keen later...shes still very , very young though.

A pair of binos as Leon says, at 4 yrs is enough..and store them so she doesn't accidently look at the Sun by herself; if shes still keen, keep the Binos, and add a little 80mm Refractor or table top DOB... and a Planisphere or cheap Pocket Star Atlas.

Myastroshop in Queensland , Bintel, or Andrews in Sydney will give good advice for sure...give them a ring.
https://www.myastroshop.com.au.

https://www.bintel.com.au

http://www.andrewscom.com.au.

Objects: Theres lots of interesting objects just scanning around, and North of the Southern Cross for instance.

NEVER leave her alone with the Scope.

NB: Supervision at ALL TIMES!

bigjoe.

Last edited by bigjoe; 19-01-2018 at 12:51 PM. Reason: Adding
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