A Space & astronomy forum. SpaceBanter.com

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Go Back   Home » SpaceBanter.com forum » Astronomy and Astrophysics » Amateur Astronomy
Site Map Home Authors List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Web Partners

Telescope for Child



 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old November 19th 03, 08:10 PM
Vedo
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Telescope for Child

I am thinking of getting a Celestron 114gt for my 8 year old daughter.
Anyone have one of these and what do you think about it?

Thanks
Vedo
Ads
  #2  
Old November 19th 03, 08:36 PM
Kilolani
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Telescope for Child

Everyone will likely tell you that it's a piece of crap... so I'll save them
the trouble. ;^)

So far the Orion Starblast looks like a clear winner in the scopes for
kidlets category.

http://www.telescope.com/shopping/pr...ProductID=4644

Read a review at: http://ephemeris.sjaa.net/0308/b.html

Also look for the thread "Orion Starblast"

"Vedo" wrote in message
m...
I am thinking of getting a Celestron 114gt for my 8 year old daughter.
Anyone have one of these and what do you think about it?

Thanks
Vedo



  #3  
Old November 20th 03, 12:01 AM
Michael A. Covington
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Telescope for Child

Ease of use is important for adults and *vital* for children. Get the
easiest-to-use telescope you can find. No computers, no equatorial mount.
(I don't recognize the one you describe, so I can't comment on it
specifically.)

Note that even a computerized telescope requires you to identify a number of
stars in order to set it up each time. It is not usable by a person with no
knowledge of the sky.

Which leads to the question -- Can your daughter point her finger at at
least 10 objects that she'd like to view through the telescope? (E.g., the
Orion Nebula.) If not, she won't be able to point a telescope at them
either.

Sorry to sound grumpy... I've seen lots of people get disappointed.
Exploring the sky with maps and binoculars is the best way to start.

--
Clear skies,

Michael Covington -- www.covingtoninnovations.com
Author, Astrophotography for the Amateur
and (new) How to Use a Computerized Telescope




  #4  
Old November 20th 03, 03:36 AM
MrB
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Telescope for Child

Since everyone hasn't used one, I'll give you my opinion as a newcomer to
astronomy. It is my first scope. I paid only $160. I think it is worth at
least that much. I would not get it for my eight year old. It is NOT easy
for a new user. It requires far more reading than what is in the instruction
manual, but there are many great resources on the web. It is good enough to
have snagged my interest and to advance to something bigger and better. I am
an urban viewer and don't have a very expansive view of the sky. I have
largely relied on pointing the scope to known objects. My personal database
of things in the sky has grown a lot as a result. I agree with some of the
other posts. Something simpler would be more satisfying.

"Vedo" wrote in message
m...
I am thinking of getting a Celestron 114gt for my 8 year old daughter.
Anyone have one of these and what do you think about it?

Thanks
Vedo



  #5  
Old November 20th 03, 09:09 AM
Jim Roberts
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Telescope for Child


"Michael A. Covington" wrote
in message news
Ease of use is important for adults and *vital* for children. Get the
easiest-to-use telescope you can find. No computers, no equatorial mount.
(I don't recognize the one you describe, so I can't comment on it
specifically.)

Note that even a computerized telescope requires you to identify a number

of
stars in order to set it up each time. It is not usable by a person with

no
knowledge of the sky.

Which leads to the question -- Can your daughter point her finger at at
least 10 objects that she'd like to view through the telescope? (E.g.,

the
Orion Nebula.) If not, she won't be able to point a telescope at them
either.

Sorry to sound grumpy... I've seen lots of people get disappointed.
Exploring the sky with maps and binoculars is the best way to start.

--
Clear skies,

Michael Covington -- www.covingtoninnovations.com
Author, Astrophotography for the Amateur
and (new) How to Use a Computerized Telescope


I second that. A good pair of binoculars and Peterson's field Guide, "Stars
and Planets", is a good place to start. Start learning the brightest stars
and constellations.
You don't want to spend a lot of money on something that a child may end up
bored with in a week.

Cheers,
Jim



  #7  
Old November 20th 03, 02:59 PM
Bluewater
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Telescope for Child


"Vedo" wrote in message
m...
I am thinking of getting a Celestron 114gt for my 8 year old daughter.
Anyone have one of these and what do you think about it?

Thanks
Vedo


As a newbie to telescope(or astronomy), I would like to tell you about
my experience. I don't intend to give you advice as a astronomer. I am
simply telling you my experience as a parent.

I bought a hardly used second-hand Tasco 114mm reflector for my 6 year
old daughter nearly for nothing which many people call total crap and should
be avoided at any cost. They say it's a good idea to buy a pair of binos
instead or buy something more costlier for the first telescope. This seems
to be the advice shared by most experienced amateur astronomers. The logic
behind this is that with at least 6" telescope you have the decent view of
the sky and you won't get disappointed.

I think their advice is quite legitimate and worth listen to, I had doubt
as to the suitability of such expensive and heavy telescope for young
children. I raised this issue somewhere else and was accused of being a toy
shop salesman trying to deceive people into buying cheap telescopes. I
understand their concern over their relatively inferior eyepieces and low
quality mount or other parts made from cheap materials.

With my limited experiences regarding the telescope in general, I have
gather that watching sky has three elements: Sky, observation instrument and
person watching the sky. The majority of advice given to the first time
buyer of telescope is based purely upon the sky, ignoring the educational
value for young children. The logical step for young children who want to
learn about the sky or astronomy, seriously speaking, is to join a local
astronomy club and begin learning the basics before venturing into more
sophisticate observation.

However, the telescope, even a cheap telescope has it's own value for
children, in my opinion. When I first brought the telescope, my daughter was
very excited to see it. Not many children of her age has got a telescope
of
their own, though some children may have seen them belonging to their
parents at home. On the very first night she read through a small
children's encyclopedic book and got some basic knowledge necessary for her
age.

My daughter hasn't seen much through the telescope for the past two
months since she had got the telescope partly because her daily pattern
doesn't always match the viewing condition and my life pattern and partly
because the telescope is too big for her or her mum to handle. Besides she
has a bit of fear of darkness.

I had started teaching the basic principle of telescope and astronomy
before I acquired the telescope by making simple telescope out of reading
glasses and a lens taken out from broken scanner and watching sky together
locating some constellations. Then we made a pinhole camera and water drop
microscope simply to demonstrate the basic principles of lights and lens.

Though she doesn't fully understand it, the wow factor is quite important
in education. With the what they call 'crap' telescope, she has watched the
moon, mars and Saturn. I don't want her get her view everything in hasty.
The telescope came with ,965" eyepieces of 20mm and 4mm. The optical quality
is not best but it's quite viewable for educational purpose.

The other day I needed to get the moon fully in the view so I made an
eyepiece of low power with lenses taken out from her toy. And I also made a
microscope with the eyepieces using the tiny lens saved from the scanner as
an object lens and 20mm as an eyepiece. We had quite good view of onion skin
with this home-made microscope and my daughter learned a lot. You can make
the microscope your self with 4mm eyepiece as an object lens though
magnification is not so great.

Next time we go out to see the moon I will try to tell her about the
craters on the moon starting with Kepler and Copernicus craters and the
impact it may bring to the earth if that were happen on the earth with the
experiment by throwing a stone on a puddle, on the flour and on the hard
brick.

In spite of clear-cut bisectomy dividing the crap and the decent , toy
and observational instrument most people think about telescope, I have
gathered so far that even a cheap telescope has lots of potential for
educational purpose. Scientists encourage children looking through even the
cheapest microscope, photographers do the same to children. Why not
Astronomy?

It seems quite certain that you may not get your children into the
prestigious club of "amateur astronomy,' with those telescope branded
junkies, in my opinion no matter what kind the telescope is given to the
child, it is important to get her to make most out of it . Even 4.5"
telescope I have got is too heavy and EQ mount is too complicated for
children I guess.

When my daughter saw the face of the moon, the first thing she said was
'wow.' When she saw the rings of Saturn, she seemed surprised to see the
rings but a little disappointed. She must have thought that the image would
be much bigger as big as the one on the book. When I showed her the Sun(with
filter of course), her reaction was less impressive. She thought it was dull
to look at the sun.

For children, wow factor should never be underestimated. Usually, 5-7
year olds wow at the instruments and from 8 year on they are beginning to
explorer through telescope only if he or she is given the proper chance. In
order for the 8 year old to fully take advantage of telescope, I think it
should be near at hand, preferably bedside, with which he or she can play
and look through often without worrying about breaking it. That way I think
the children can grow interest in astronomy or science as a whole.

Now the Tasco I have got is too big I am thinking of buying a smaller
refractor. For this reason maybe a pair of binoculars might be suitable as
'amateur astronomers suggest but the binoculars lack important wow factor.
And low powered binoculars will never achieve what they can see even with
small cheap refractor and high powered ones will be unsuitable for children
without proper support. Besides they can't see the objects with binoculars
near the zenith without breaking necks.

In sum, what I am thinking about telescope for educational purpose is
quite different from the advice given by other amateur astronomers.
Considering other factors, merely watching sharp and crisp deep sky objects,
taking photographs and drawing star chart is not what they need. I think the
telescope that can lay foundation for children's future scientific knowledge
is the best telescope. It doesn't necessarily mean that 6" Telescope with
quality eyepieces.





  #8  
Old November 20th 03, 03:51 PM
Jon Isaacs
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Telescope for Child

I think the
telescope that can lay foundation for children's future scientific knowledge
is the best telescope. It doesn't necessarily mean that 6" Telescope with
quality eyepieces.



Some Random thoughts:

1. There is no doubt that a telescope (or even binoculars) can energize a child
and may nurture a lifelong interest. It sounds to me like your daughter is
getting a good education and some real joy from that Tasco scope.

My advice with such scopes is that if one is choosing, then buy something else,
but if this is what one has, then it can provide some real pleasure. And with
some work and effort (which the child can help with), these scopes can be quite
decent.

Many of us started with scopes that are inferior to your Tasco, I started with
a $10 garage sale scope that was barely useable.

2. However, if one is going to buy a scope, there is no need to spend good
money on an inappropriate or poor quality telescope. The 114GT costs something
like $200. For that same $200 there are options that I believe are more
applicable for a child.

The two scopes that come to mind are the Orion Starblast and the Orion XT4.5.
Both small DOBs that are of reasonable quality and that come with decent
eyepieces. The XT4.5 is a better choice IMHO because it comes with better
eyepieces and has a longer focal ratio (and focal length) which will provide
sharper views, especially of the planets and moon.

Both these scopes are small and useable by a child.

3. The reason that binoculars have been traditionally recommended as a first
tool is because they are a step in learning the sky. Telescopes provide only
narrow fields of view which means often one is missing the bigger picture while
zooming in on some object that was on some chart. Binoculars allow the
discovery and understanding of the night sky on a different scale.

There is plenty to see with a 4.5 inch scope but traditionally the idea has
been to learn the sky first in various steps.

With the advent of GOTO scopes, this has changed but the advice is still good
advice if one is interested in learning how to navigate the night sky rather
than just rely on the telescope to do it for you.

So in my view binoculars are an essential part of anyone's tool kit. With
binoculars you can scan the sky in big swaths and find interesting things to
look at. They also are valuable in locating stars when "star hopping." And in
their own right, viewing with binoculars alone can be a great pleasure.

These days good binoculars can be had for under $50, for children, the size
and weight are important considerations.

-----

So I am with Rod Mollise on this one, "Any scope is a good scope." (Well not
quite, that $8 Big Lots 40X45 scope is probably close to unusable.)

If you got it use it, it will be fun. But if you are buying something and have
real money to spend, then there are some real choices to be made that will
allow one to get the best value for those hard earned dollars.

jon

  #9  
Old November 20th 03, 04:00 PM
Vedo
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Telescope for Child

Thanks everyone . I am goin to get the Orion Starblast . It looks like
it would be better for her. By the way, she is better at pointing
objects in the sky than I am(hehe).

Phil D
  #10  
Old November 20th 03, 07:30 PM
Stephen Paul
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Telescope for Child

"Bluewater" wrote in message
...

In sum, what I am thinking about telescope for educational purpose is
quite different from the advice given by other amateur astronomers.
Considering other factors, merely watching sharp and crisp deep sky

objects,
taking photographs and drawing star chart is not what they need. I think

the
telescope that can lay foundation for children's future scientific

knowledge
is the best telescope. It doesn't necessarily mean that 6" Telescope with
quality eyepieces.


I've had the same thoughts. I learned quite a bit about the sky, the
constellations, the names and locations of the bright stars, aiming
computers and optics, all using my inexpensive 4" F13 Tasco Mak GoTo
manufactured by Synta. These are reasonble educational tools.

Hmmm, maybe I'll loan mine to the local school (after I educate the science
teacher on how to use it).

-Stephen

 




Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
8.4-meter Mirror Successfully Installed in Large Binocular Telescope Ron Astronomy Misc 1 April 9th 04 08:06 PM
World's Single Largest Telescope Mirror Moves To The LBT Ron Baalke Technology 0 November 11th 03 09:16 AM
World's Single Largest Telescope Mirror Moves To The LBT Ron Baalke Astronomy Misc 6 November 5th 03 10:27 PM
Lowell Observatory and Discovery Communications Announce Partnership To Build Innovative Telescope Technology Ron Baalke Astronomy Misc 0 October 16th 03 06:17 PM
World's Largest Astronomical CCD Camera Installed On Palomar Observatory Telescope Ron Baalke Science 0 July 29th 03 08:54 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 03:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2021 SpaceBanter.com.
The comments are property of their posters.