Author Topic: $300 scope for 10 year old  (Read 401 times)

Chris Young

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2018, 09:56:52 AM »
The StarBlast 6 6" f/5 is a poor comparison, as it is only supported on one side. I have one, and know all too well...
...which is why I transferred the optical tube to a traditional alt-azimuth.As I had alluded, and to optical-observational versatility rather than ergonomics in that, a 6" f/5 or f/6 mounted on the usual two-point rocker-box should have already superceded the f/8 variant by now, or at least offered alongside, and for a choice. With people of varying ages and heights, one-size fits-all telescopes are impractical, particularly when at the expense of said versatility.

If a 6" f/5 or f/6 were offered, and with the same type of Dobson-style mount as that of an 8" f/6 and up, one might well imagine its sales figures, and over that of a 6" f/8; yes, and perhaps even over an 8" f/6 to boot; thus, its non-existence.


bunkreplterpka

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2018, 05:02:13 PM »
After giving this some thought; I'd recommend not going the "computerized" route. My reasoning is that it adds too much hassle for the kid or the parent in order to observe; especially for a quick peek. The only exception I'd make would be for the Orion Intelliscope "push-to" system because it is transparent to non-computerized use.

I'd look for something with a relatively short tube that the budding astronomer can move around by himself and a nice alt-az mount so he's not flustrated with a lot of vibration and shakes.

A free planeterium program can help find the planets and downloadable charts can help find the Messier and other bright DSOs.

Daniel Horton

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2018, 04:24:21 AM »
Quote
The StarBlast 6 6" f/5 is a poor comparison, as it is only supported on one side. I have one, and know all too well......which is why I transferred the optical tube to a traditional alt-azimuth.As I had alluded, and to optical-observational versatility rather than ergonomics in that, a 6" f/5 or f/6 mounted on the usual two-point rocker-box should have already superceded the f/8 variant by now, or at least offered alongside, and for a choice. With people of varying ages and heights, one-size fits-all telescopes are impractical, particularly when at the expense of said versatility.

If a 6" f/5 or f/6 were offered, and with the same type of Dobson-style mount as that of an 8" f/6 and up, one might well imagine its sales figures, and over that of a 6" f/8; yes, and perhaps even over an 8" f/6 to boot; thus, its non-existence.


It's a little odd to comment on the one sided support of the Starblast and yet replace it with a scope that is mounted only one side and cantilevered as well. In the short while I owned it, I found the Starblast's mount to be sufficiently robust to observe at high magnifications. Looking at the way you mounted your Starblast in the photo and the mount that tomykay12 built for mine, I would say the difficulty is not in the Starblast but in the folded table.. Hopefully you had a more stable way to mount it.

I think the 6 inch Starblast is a viable option. It's around $300, it's easy to use if one can find a robust table or talk tomykay12 into building you a new ground board with the tripod legs..

As far as fitting a telescope to individual observers.. The chair in the photo, that's the key... the eyepiece height changes, the eyepiece angle changes, with an adjustable chair, an individual observer can be comfortable viewing the entire sky and a wide range of observers can view without difficulty.. I have had 2nd graders looking at Jupiter though my 13.1 inch F/5.5 at school starparties, I had the right chair..

I think the market has spoken.. An 8 inch F/6 Dobsonian is an awesome instrument, that step up from a 6 inch to an 8 inch crosses thresholds, globulars spring to life, the planets are brighter, contrastier, more detailed, 33% greater resolution and fine scale contrast, 80% more light..

Here is an example of a 6 inch F/5 on Dob mount, the Mirascope. It was very nicely made though I never figured out why they painted the Baltic Birch plywood blue.. It was a handy little cutie but it would never replace an 8 inch, it lacked the necessary zoot.

The picture of the Mirascope brings sadness with it. It served it purpose well, a gift to a 16 year old with terminal cancer.. She wanted to look at the stars above, and she got her wish.. Abby.. rest in peace.

Jon


leypelepha

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2018, 04:54:54 AM »
thanks everyone. i have directed my friend, the grandfather, to this thread. he is not a CN member but was invited  i hope he , the parents and the child give this the thought you all so generously have.

vieproltesro

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2018, 09:08:26 AM »
Quote
Hi

i'm asking for a friend since i hate to recommend something specific that i happen to know about, if there might be something better. i think a celestron is in order. the uncle buying this scope tells me that the kid would benefit from computerized goto and tracking.

i looked at all the various lines of scopes:
http://www.celestron...lescopes/series

seems like he might have to sacrifice aperture for goto, which i personally find sad tips?

I am fairly new to this having started around May 2015 with a pair of 10X50 binoculars and a Planisphere.

I am a big fan of GoTo and PushTo scopes.  I love the computer assist when I want to use it. However I have a strong preference for scopes that can also be used manually, with the computer turned off.  I use mine manually about 50% of the time.

Celestron makes a very popular line of scopes however many of them require you to use the computer. If the battery goes flat or you have a drive system problem those scopes can't be used and have to go in for service, or so I have read on this forum. I have never used one of them so I can't speak to their ease of use but they are VERY popular.

Other brands and types can be used manually.  On my Meade ETX 80, 80 mm (3.1 inch) I just release the clutches and use it manually. When I am going back to see something I have seen before, I can star hop to it. But I find I like to do my first visit via computer assist.  I could easily teach a 10 year old how to use the ETX 80 in an hour or less then hand it over with confidence.  A second session to make sure he knows what he is doing and he is all set.  Full set-up is 12 pounds so he can easily move it around. Finds the targets and tracks them or release the clutches and use it manually. You can also leave the tripod home and use it as a tabletop too. This is my grab and go scope but I use it at home too.

ETX80 - Includes 2 good eyepieces.
https://www.astronom...ope_p10443.aspx
60 Day review of the ETX 80 – Cloudy Nightshttp://www.cloudynig...0/#entry6855822

Video overview of the backpack version – same scope i have but in a different packagehttps://www.youtube....h?v=zjsD69fPg6Y
Orion Starblast 6i - This is a smaller tabletop version of my Orion XT8i.
This is over the budget at about $500 - This is a push to 6" Dobsonian in a tabletop format
No motors - you push the scope where it tells you to push it. No tracking.
So it is a manual scope with computer assistance. Comes with 2 good eyepieces.
http://www.telescope...rd=Intelliscope

This video shows how to use the intelliscope feature.
The video uses an XT8i like mine but the process would be the same for the tabletop 6i
http://s7d5.scene7.c...niversal_Video1Review of Starblast 6i
http://www.space.com...ope-review.html
http://www.amazon.co...customerReviews
There are lots of other choices but I know these systems as I own them.

Jack Hillian

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2018, 03:33:37 AM »
"It's a little odd..."

...but an improvement nonetheless. I probably would not have made the switch had its Dobson-mount been of the usual type. Ultimately I would prefer it as the one illustrated, but not as a DIY or a one-off. Here's another 6" f/5 properly mounted as a "Dobsonian" two-pointer... http://astra-nj.org/...h Dobsonian.jpg ...but again, as a DIY.

Those, or at f/6 at most, should be offered on a mass-produced, commercial scale, and just like the 8" f/6 units and up.

Here's OPT's quaint description of a 6" f/8 "Dobsonian"... "Follow in the footsteps of generations of amateur astronomers with this traditional (closed tube) 6" Dobsonian telescope from Sky-Watcher!"

Perhaps there are those who would rather not want to follow in said footsteps. Should we keep the equatorial as well... http://1.bp.blogspot...s1600/mprv6.jpg ...?

The telescopes of that age(1950-1980) were offered almost exclusively for observing within the solar system. They were also cheaper to figure, but expensive nonetheless compared to the present.

While the 8" f/8 was eventually discarded in favour of an f/6 format, the 6" f/8 perseveres, regrettably.

Roberto Betancourt

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2018, 03:02:05 AM »
Quote
A 90mm f/14 Maksutov would be a simulation of a 60mm f/21 refractor, and the ultimate sacrifice of precious aperture and a versatile focal-length in favour of non-durable, computerised, electronic "whizz-bangs".

Children want to see, and above all else.
You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but there are a lot of us who find the 90 to be a wonderful and fun scope. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it to be as 'worthless' as your statement appears to imply. There are several threads in the Cats & Casses forum extolling the virtues and the plusses of these compact 90mm Maks, and the fact is those who own them use them quite often. Whether it's a C90 or a Meade ETX-90, the owners of these scopes seem to be quite happy with what you basically refer to as a throwaway item.

And your next statement, "Children want to see"...is true...they don't want to search. Agreed that the electronics are not the most durable, but they'll at least show the observer things in the eyepiece upon hitting a few buttons. Looking AT, or looking FOR...ask a kid what he or she'd rather do.

Speaking for myself, if I had had GoTo back in my childhood years I probably wouldn't have taken a 15-20 yr hiatus. Of course, if a kid wanted to starhop there are so many more resources today than we had back then. I remember the huge frustration factor of trying to starhop using only the centerfold from Astronomy magazine!

Randal Samuels

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2018, 05:18:30 AM »
For the record, I do not observe through mounts, but through telescopes instead.

A 90mm Maksutov certainly has it uses, as a spotting scope, for terrestrial use; as an astronomical instrument, as said simulation. I don't doubt that it performs adequately for moderate-to-high magnifications of the Moon and the planets, and even as a solar instrument with a safe solar filter for which it would excel. In addition, as a folded simulation of a long-focus refractor, and for which it was designed, the portability factor can't be beat. I have its forebearer(of sorts), which is almost as portable...
At f/15, it's actually faster. Aperture-wise, however, it leaves a lot to be desired insofar as light-gathering capability, but we're not talking about 10" Newtonians and up as a substitute, or as an eventual goal even; just a bit sweeter...

Aside from the 6" f/5 kit, this would make for an excellent choice... http://shop.opticspl...CFcMbgQodsM0F0Q

Closer to the budget, slightly dimmer aperture-wise, but still formatted(f/5) for observing equitably within the solar system and without into deep space, and of a smaller footprint.That said, I'd love to have a 150mm Maksutov myself, and as a simulation of a 4" f/18 refractor, but 150mm as the minimum, and to make it worth the while insofar as aperture versus the design's considerable secondary obstruction.


Fred Lafever

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 07:46:01 AM »
Quote
A 90mm f/14 Maksutov would be a simulation of a 60mm f/21 refractor, and the ultimate sacrifice of precious aperture and a versatile focal-length in favour of non-durable, computerised, electronic "whizz-bangs".

Children want to see, and above all else. The desire for an aperture as large as possible, and as an aid and extension of one's comparably-weak 5mm-8mm pupil, is the prime reason one wants a telescope in the first place.


For a kid a 90mm Maksutov is a vast improvement in light-gathering power over the eyes. Withit one can seewell virtually every open cluster in the Sky Atlas 2000 (except two whose brightest stars are >mag 12) that's visible from my latitude and even some quite obscure ones in the Uranometria, nearly every globular in SA2000 (and even resolve a few), more nebulas than M8 or M42 (Seagull, anyone?), and even detect quite a few galaxies. That kid will handily outperformMr. Messierin what he could see with his small refractors. He or she isn't limited to the sun, moon, and planets with a small Mak. Go-to could only make it more versatile.

I'm not saying a larger scope isn't possibly better, only that a small Mak is hardly the imposition on viewing DSO's that's implied in the above quote.

erexgila

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2018, 08:21:58 PM »
Observing single, smaller deep-sky objects is not even one half of the venue spent. The larger portion consists of viewing two to three to four objects in the same field-of-view at once; of scanning the Milky Way with a 32mm or greater, along with a better prospect of seeing the galaxy in Andromeda and the Pleiades in their entireties.

Conversely, when observing the Trapezium via my 6" f/5, barlowing a 12mm or 9mm affords an ethereal sight of Orion's ghostly nebula, and with the Airy discs of its denizens beaconing.

A 5" f/5 or 6" f/5 Newtonian is a far brighter and more versatile instrument, and regardless of the mounting.

ertafsurpnant

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2018, 01:39:44 AM »
Another consideration is the kid's living conditions. A 10-year old cannot simply hop into his car and drive to a dark site when he feels like it. If his family lives in an apartment or if his home has a lot of trees around it, he will need a scope more mobile than he would otherwise. Especially if he is to be peeking between trees he will need a scope that he can move, not just to set-up and take in, but move multiple times during an evening under the stars. Likewise, the scope should need a minimum number of accessories in order to be comfortably used. No one wants to haul a scope, tripod, chair, and eyepiece box from place to place in order to see different objects. In such conditions a scope that can be used standing, with a generous eyepiece tray (or an attached, lightweight, accessory box)would be the ticket.

Anthony Cejudo

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2018, 04:39:42 AM »
I agree Jim,

We need to take the location situation into account.

If there are lots of stairs or he will have to hike a bit to use it then convenience and weight are more important than aperture.

Celestron 70 mm Travel Scope - Not computerized but light and compact
http://www.amazon.co...travel scope 70
https://www.youtube....h?v=aGz0iDUoxMIETX 80 Back Pack computerized observatory
http://www.amazon.co...keywords=ETX 80

Video overview of the backpack version – same scope, different package
https://www.youtube....h?v=zjsD69fPg6Y

Chris Mancia

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2018, 10:51:33 PM »
Like others, I wouldn't want to start with a Goto scope. I think you want something you can carry outside and start using without having to fiddle with it a lot first.

I wouldn't rule out a small mak, in addition to the other suggestions already mentioned. The thing to get them excited is the bright stuff anyway - Saturn, Jupiter, and the moon, mostly. Maybe some bright open clusters. That can be seen in a small refractor or Mak, and they're super portable so you can bring it with you if you go on vacation somewhere darker where you can look for fainter stuff. If they're interested enough, they'll eventually want more aperture, but that would be the case even if you bought an 8" dob. And most on this board with a larger telescope eventually bought a smaller scope anyway, so it's not like you're really saving any money by buying the bigger scope first. The maks generally already come with eyepieces that give you enough magnification for targets like the planets and the moon, so you're not right away having to buy more eyepieces or a barlow. Also, they can tolerate cheaper eyepieces that don't cost as much as the telescope. Just my .02

Ryan Wilton

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2018, 09:38:43 AM »
You might find this helpful:

How to choose your first telescope - Orion
https://www.youtube....h?v=ZFJP1RguLXI

geblusandde

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Re: $300 scope for 10 year old
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2018, 03:28:33 PM »
Nice video. Thanks for sharing that link, Ed. Been into the hobby for 40 years (geez, I'm getting old!), but I still found that video interesting and informative. (Now, if they'd just redo them in a little higher resolution ...)