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Advice needed

Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:26 pm

My daughter (aged 8) has requested a telescope for Christmas. She is interested in looking at planets and stars (obviously.) I have been to a local supplier who has advised the Skywatcher Startravel 102 SynScan AZ GOTO Telescope. Is this the best piece of kit for an absolute beginner? Obviously at age 8 they want to see things pretty clear and pretty close. Can anyone offer any advice? This is stargazing for dummies (us, not her)

Re: Advice needed

Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:57 pm

A lot of your money is going on the computerised mount rather than the actual telescope. Having said that, there is nothing wrong in with a 4" refractor. This telescope is designed for more wide-field views than large magnification, but that is fine for objects like star clusters. Getting more magnification out of it is going to be difficult but not impossible. The included barlow lens is a x2. So using that with the eyepieces will give twice the magnification. namely 50x and 100x You could do better than that by buying a separate 3x barlow, giving 75x and 150x. That will give interesting views of the moon and the brighter planets. Planets are rather small looking objects though, and the detail will be limited. In normal circumstances you won't get a better magnification than that with this telescope.

If I was 8 years old again - I would be in heaven with this telescope :D I would have needed a lot of help with getting it set up though. Your daughter will need a lot of support to align and use a computerised mount.

Re: Advice needed

Thu Nov 22, 2018 5:14 pm

Tracey Shooter wrote:My daughter (aged 8) has requested a telescope for Christmas. She is interested in looking at planets and stars (obviously.) I have been to a local supplier who has advised the Skywatcher Startravel 102 SynScan AZ GOTO Telescope. Is this the best piece of kit for an absolute beginner? Obviously at age 8 they want to see things pretty clear and pretty close. Can anyone offer any advice? This is stargazing for dummies (us, not her)

Hi and welcome
It's a pretty good recommendation, but not necessarily for an 8 year old, as I'd suggest it'll need quite a lot of adult assistance to get the most out of it, and I think we'd all rather that she wasn't dependent on you to enjoy her hobby

In terms of the telescope itself, I think that is pretty good, as 4" is a reasonable aperture for looking at star clusters etc.

It's the mount that is likely to be more than your daughter will be up to at this stage - to get the most out of a GOTO mount, it needs to be levelled and aligned, which takes a bit of care and familiarisation. When aligned, you then need to be careful not to knock the tripod as that will throw the alignment out etc, and that sort of discipline can be hard for a youngster.
The GOTO sounds tempting, but many of the objects in the computer are quite faint, so may not be visible - particularly if you live in a town or suburb with less than great skies.

Having to keep fresh batteries to hand can also be a pain.

I would suggest something more like this
https://www.tringastro.co.uk/sky-watche ... -445-p.asp

It's got a larger aperture, so will capture more light, and your daughter will be able to take it out into the garden and set it up herself without needing your attention.

It's significantly less expensive, so maybe you could buy a better quality eyepiece to go with it - the higher power eyepieces that come with telescopes tend to be not great, and buying a better quality one (for £60-70) can make it much more satisfying. I'd also suggest getting a planisphere and a book like "Turn Left at Orion" to suggest targets for your daughter to look at.

Hope this helps

Re: Advice needed

Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:12 pm

I would start with binoculars at 8 years old. Something like 7x50s. They need no help from an adult but just keep her away from the Sun.

More is explained here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DM ... bl_vppi_i4

Re: Advice needed

Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:38 pm

Hi all I am new to the art of viewing the sky
I recently got a celestron 4se
And would like some advice on how to get better magnification
And setup

Re: Advice needed

Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:49 pm

Seymour_1985 wrote:Hi all I am new to the art of viewing the sky
I recently got a celestron 4se
And would like some advice on how to get better magnification
And setup

I can't advise with setup - but as with all scopes there are limits to what magnification you'll be able to achieve. There's a rule of thumb that says that on most days you'll be limited to magnifying power of about 15x per inch of aperture. For your scope that would be about 100x, which you would get with a 12-13mm eyepiece.
If you use a shorter eyepiece than this, the quality of your view will depend quite a lot on the quality of the night sky; so sometimes you'll get a better image, but only from time to time.

There's also a question of what make of eyepiece are you using ? If you are using the eyepieces that came with the scope, they may well be OK, but not necessarily the easiest to use at high magnification - they are sometimes difficult to get your eye in exactly the right position.

What eyepieces are you using, and what's the problem you are having with the magnification?

Re: Advice needed

Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:59 pm

Here's a good demonstration of how to set it up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDXyBIRooRA

Regards

Graeme
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