Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Choosing a First Telescope?

This morning I got an email forwarded to me that asked:

"I wonder if you might have a recommendation on a telescope that I can get my nine year old son for his birthday?"

This is how I replied.:

"It’s hard to make a good choice and still
meet the expectations of a 9 year old…

It’s gotta “look” like a telescope…

Like this? >>

<< but those are not the best use of $200.

Above is  a “refractor”-style telecope (i.e. the “spyglass” type with a lens up-front);

The other kind, the “reflector” (below) is less familiar in appearance but typically gives
you much more telescope per dollar since they have a larger diameter element
as the primary optical collector, in this case not a lens, but rather, a mirror…

<< a “reflector” telescope  = more scope per dollar...
It’s gotta give HUNDREDS-“X” of power…

Er, nope.
If it can do powers from 30x up to around 90 or 100x –that’s all you really need.
((We advanced hobbyists do 90% of our observing time around 60x. Really!))

It’s gotta have all kinds of technical doo-dads and computer controls…

Not really. The computer control options can make something that’s a little
challenging, initially, into something that’s often a frustrating dead-end for
many kids. Keep it simple and put your money into a scope of a bigger-diameter
and having a solid, easy to use mounting without the computer stuff.
While they can be fun for some technically inclined folks, computer controlled
“Go-To” setups are absolutely unnecessary in a general sense.

--------- SUGGESTION ------------------------

one of the most highly recommended “beginner” scopes:
- Eric C.
OH, and PS:

If you think this is a good "first scope" for your kid - - or for yourself...
then consider if this would be a good "first car" for your kid  - - or yourself...