Author Topic: Beginner telescope for novice with kids  (Read 200 times)

Jessie Forbes

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2018, 05:37:02 PM »
I'm just an observer, and at my age do not intend to do much more than that. I have been using a Meade LS 6" for many years now. It is probably not the absolute most reliable machine on the market (I had some issues early on that the extended warranty saved my family fortune on), but since then it has worked great. I started using a Samsung SBC 2000 camera and captured some respectable shots over the years. I just purchased a Mallincam SkyRaider AG kit which contains the camera, adapters, necessary cables, and a beefed up Netbook Computer with the Mallinam program already loaded, ready to go. I have only had this setup a few days, but am really having a blast getting familiar with all it will do.The scope is fully computerized...turn it on and tell it to align itself and it goes through all the motions, and tells you it is ready for you to look. You can use its "tonight's best program and it will take you to the brightest and best viewing objects up that night, and while you look it will tell you a bit about each object you look at. It literally has thousands of objects in memory. The LS-6 sells new for $1600.00, and the SkyRaider kit with beefed up computer goes for $350.00That's a bit over your budget, but something to think about.....I know there are those out there who have issues with video cams, but they do produce some really nice photos, and are sensitive enough to use on an Alt-Az scope and get good photos. Having the photos displayed on a computer enables everyone present to see. There are ways to hook the small Netbook computer to a larger computer, and even large TV's, but you have to be in a n area with Wi-Fi, and have another program to do it.

rentireacen

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2018, 06:57:46 PM »
Quote
For $1,000 it will be hard to accomplish the dual purposes of Astro Photography and having a good visual instrument. I would suggest tabling the desire to do AP for the moment and focus for at least the next year on enjoying what your scope can show you and your children while at the same time learning the night sky and what is out there. After that you may want to look into the AP end of things.

With that in mind the best value that meets your requirements is the Orion Skyquest XT8i. It is a push to scope which means the power to move the scope is provided by you while the computer on it tells you where to move the scope. This is a great combination in that it allows you to either star hop and hunt or use the computer to go directly to the object you want to see. 8" is the sweet spot in terms of aperture and portability with aperture enough to see a great deal of the stuff out there and the weight and size being low enough that you aren't looking for excuses to not take the scope out and use it. Another key factor is its price. At $660 it is well within budget and allows for money left over to purchase quality eyepieces for it.

Many times an eyepiece can cost as much as the scope!  With that scope I would suggest the 18mm, 14 or 11mm, and 6.7mm 82 degree eyepieces from Explore Scientific. With the $360 left of that $1,000 you will be able to get 2 of them for sure and for a little more the 3rd one. They will give you the range of powers you will want to use to really "see" things. And with the 82 degree field of view you will feel like you fell into the telescope and are swimming in space. I would also suggest spending $150 for the HoTech laser collimator. It pays for itself in the amount of time you save collimating the scope which is quite easy by the way.

Here is a link to the scope:
http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/B000P2ZPB2

If you are set on getting a scope and mount that will allow you to move to AP then in that price range a very good option would be the Celestron 6" or 8" Newtonian on the Advanced VX mount. While the 6" can be used with that mount for AP it isn't the best scope or focuser to start with so chances are high you will be replacing the scope with one more suited to beginning AP like a 80mm APO refractor. But you will have a mount that is a good beginning mount to start the AP journey with. And the mount will give you full GOTO with the computer moving the mount from object to object. If you can afford $600 more then the 8" SCT on the AVX is actually a great starting platform for both AP (via the use of the f/6.3 reducer for the scope) and for visual. Though with any of these packages you will still face the need for other accessories like the collimator and eyepieces. One challenge with the Newtonian is that the AVX mount will put the eyepiece in some awkward positions at times. This can be fixed by either loosening the scope ring clamps and very carefully rotating the tube or purchasing rings that allow you to rotate the scope. In this class of scope I don't recommend that as the rings are very expensive relative to the cost and quality of the scope. Not to say its a bad scope just that it isn't super high end. Here is a link to the AVX line:

http://www.celestron...ized-telescopes

They are also available on Amazon.

In closing there is also the 5" and 6" SCT from Celestron. I am not a big fan of these because of their cost to aperture ratio. Below about 6" and it is difficult for the beginning astronomer to "see" things from a urban area. 6" is really the minimum recommended to start with and 8" is optimal. The 6" SCT to me is a big compromise because of its narrow field of view, cost, and small aperture in an SCT. A 6" Newt will allow for a wider field of view and thus mitigates the smaller aperture issue by allowing you to take in the full view of the larger DSO out there like open clusters but here again the 8" is more optimal for visual use. AP is of course a different story. In AP aperture isn't as important as quality of scope and quality of mount.


I don't have the xt8i, but I covet one greatly. From your location suburbs, I would suggest this. I find the
biggest challenge finding stuff in a sky where only 3 or 4 magnitude stars are visible.  I can do it but my
young ones lose interest as I spend a lot of time looking for stuff.

I would not spend big money on eyepieces however. I would find a set of good plossl's, or wide angles for sale here and try them out. I have looked through some premium eyepieces, and have found them not worth
my money. They did give better views but not 5x better. If you find your eyepieces lacking you
can resell them here and move up. I also suggest cheaper eyepieces because you will spend some
time experimenting on what magnifications you enjoy most. Don't go super cheap, use the 80/20 rule.
I really like the TMB eyepieces for high power, and they can be bought used for $40.00 each.
I also like the agena astro enhanced eyepieces for wide field mid powers. They can be had for about the
same price. Make sure you get a low powered eyepiece to help you find items. 32mm or 40mm.
Some low power pieces have ghosting issues. I think I can use the 32mm plossl in my 8" DOB.

One other think you may have to get a good stool so your kids can look into the DOB an 8" f/6 dob
will have the eyepiece about 5 ft of the ground if pointed near the zenith.

Jose Lukeson

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2018, 11:17:05 PM »
I think one thing that can really turn a kid off (well, Anyone, really) is to have someone yell at them to keep their hands off a 'nice' scope.
Maybe you could accomplish everything with a little variety.
Maybe you could order some simple 35x1000 (or 35x500mm?) simple convex lenses for the 'objective' from a surplus place and a few 35x50 or 35x75mm simple convex lenses to make eyepieces, tape them to PVC tubing and each of the kids could have their own scope. Maybe if you found a pair of old binoculars at a yard sale (they are sometimes not aligned) or got a cheap pair, new, and cut them apart so each had a 'telescope' (easy to find things they could learn some clusters, nebulae, some double stars). Maybe use both approaches and they could have 'low power' and 'high power' scopes and start learning about different scopes, different things that can be seen. Build some basic plumbing pipe mounts they could run themselves. I would think this could be done for well under $100.
 You could pick a scope for you with a not too small equatorial mount. If you have a digital camera with some sort of time exposure capability, maybe the capability to change lenses so you could get a fast 'prime' lens of ? f/2.5 or so, and maybe about 100mm focal length and a filter or two, you could 'piggy back' the camera along the scope to do some Basic wide field astrophotography. Sometimes these can be very enjoyable. A few attachments would do the 'video' thing for some lunar/planetary stuff.
 ?

ciomasbure

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2018, 07:18:47 AM »
So is the Nexstar series not good for my needs? It seems like it is between that and the Dobs (goto or push). I can see myself moving it since my parents live in a darker area that is close by, so portability may be of interest.

migresinli

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2018, 08:06:46 AM »
I apologize for any possible misunderstanding in my post. I didn't mean that you or others posting here would be terse with a kid. I have seen it happen, though, and I thought maybe a good direction might be to provide something for the kids that they could manage, consider their own, and through that, also respect someone else's equipment.

abtempoecar

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2018, 11:23:40 AM »
Quote
I apologize for any possible misunderstanding in my post. I didn't mean that you or others posting here would be terse with a kid. I have seen it happen, though, and I thought maybe a good direction might be to provide something for the kids that they could manage, consider their own, and through that, also respect someone else's equipment.


Oh believe me, my kids know nothing but me being terse with them!

subhymerlo

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2018, 11:40:27 AM »
Could a dob leave you with enough money to buy the simplest of driven mounts and start with wide angle, learn the processing, give you time to decide about more complicated equipment later?

redsmicsiti

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2018, 10:01:44 PM »
Hey Paintguru,

 I think the Nextstar should be just fine. It's very lightweight so portability is no problem. It's very easy to use, I've seen people with NO telescope experience get a quick crash course and using it in 15 minutes. I imagine kids the ages listed with supervision should have no problem as well. The problem with a lot of dobsonians is they don't track, so if multiple people are looking at it, the object is going to drift out of view. Keeping that object lined up might be frustrating for beginners.

Eric

reilpipohen

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2018, 03:25:39 AM »
Start with binoculars.

kerolero

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2018, 11:51:27 PM »
The problem with cheap goto mounts is if a kid grabs the scope while its slewing to an object...there goes your gears....

A 6-8" basic dob will provide a lifetime of viewing pleasure, but no AP, no tracking, and transportation can be a hassle if others are going unless you have a large van/truck/SUV. You can buy dobs with goto, but they're not for small children...who knows where their hands are at in the dark...also, if something goes wrong, its a bear to use manually....although push to is a definite option, then you can use the electronic finder or just use it as any manual dob.

Another consideration for tracking for visual use would be an EQ platform, which will let your manual or pushto dob track for 45min to an hour. If you're tool handy, they even sell platform kits that have everything except the wood.

At their age, I'd consider a 60-80mm achromat refractor on an EQ1 or Celestron alt/az starter mount....the alt/az mount is under 100 new, and the scope could be gotten used. This would be "their" scope....ok, dad might use it for quick backyard grabngo....

mosretouless

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2018, 10:24:14 AM »
The EQ platform sounds interesting, and I see some of the DIY platforms are in the $200-300 range. I'd like to think my kids wouldn't grab the darn scope when it is moving, but with kids, one never knows.

So if I go Dobs, big difference between 8" and 10"?

Chris Young

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2018, 10:36:14 AM »
You could also consider purchasing a used telescope. There is an add for a Meade ETX 125 in the classified section here with a collection of eyepieces that is well under your budget. There are many similar and newer Celestrons listed as well. You could save about half this way.

Paul Nyuon

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2018, 02:01:37 PM »
Quote
You could also consider purchasing a used telescope. There is an add for a Meade ETX 125 in the classified section here with a collection of eyepieces that is well under your budget. There are many similar and newer Celestrons listed as well. You could save about half this way.


Yeah gotta get my post # up to view those. I'll check them out though when I can!

monsresiwor

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Re: Beginner telescope for novice with kids
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2018, 05:40:03 AM »
I am new to this hobby as well. I initial interest was to get my 8 year old daughter involved as she has shown an interest. My budget was about 1k. My older brother had an 8" reflector and told me to look at the Celestron 8se with the go to tracking.

I found a used scope on craigslist and was able to purchase a new eyepiece and Barlow lens and I am still under 1k. This has been a great purchase for me, I can have it setup and trackingnow in 10 minutes flat. As far as buying a used scope, I don't know what to say except I may have been lucky to find one in great condition. A new one would have set me back over 1k plus extras.

I love this scope; its easy to use, fairly compact, not heavy, quick to setup. I don't know about taking photos with it in fact the seller whom I purchased the scope from was selling it because he had purchased a newer larger scope for taking photos. I am sure there are others posting here that can provide better information.

I live in So Cal where light pollution is a fact of life...even with bad pollution I have had my best viewing from my own backyard. For instance last night I was able to immediately after dinner take it to the yard, plug it in, enter the date and time, point to 3 bright objects and it was ready to go. I have no idea which objects I aligned it to and it did not matter. Had it slew to Jupiter and was able to see its cloud bands, its moons and even a moon shadow. I invested 10 minutes with setup and 30 minutes with my daughter checking it out before bedtime. I feel foolish for not having it sooner. I am pretty sure I enjoy it more than my daughter...I have a feeling she is not as impressed as me.

Good luck
Bill