Beginners telescope & book recommendations, please.

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Beginners telescope & book recommendations, please.

Postby Kat_D » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:29 pm

Hi, I'm looking for a telescope for my daughter's 9th birthday. She would want to be able to see details of the moon and also the whole moon, stars and ideally some real 'wow' views.
She is also a keen birdwatcher, so one that can be used for that too, would be great. However, if it really meant she wouldn't get such a good view of the night sky, then we may reconsider this aspect.
It needs to be pretty easy to set up. While she will have my help, I know she would be put off if we spent too long faffing about!
I'd like to get her a book too, to really help her know what she's looking at.
Thanks in advance :)
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Re: Beginners telescope & book recommendations, please.

Postby Gfamily2 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:00 pm

For a 9 year old, I would suggest a Celestron Travelscope 70 would be a suitable 'stars plus birds' scope.
It's a short focal length refractor that comes with a lightweight tripod, a rucksack pack and a couple of eyepieces so she'll get different levels of magnification.

For astronomical use, it'll certainly give wow views of the Moon - and she'll be able to make out quite a bit of detail . It's got a nice wide angle field of view, so star clusters such as the Pleiades can be seen in their entirety. It'll show the moons of Jupiter very nicely, and should be able to show the rings of Saturn (albeit as quite a small image, but it'll be distinct). What's useful is that it comes with an optical finderscope, which will help her ensure she's pointing in the right direction for those nighttime targets.

For daytime use, it comes with a 45 degree erecting prism, so birds will be the right way up.

The main downside is that the tripod is very lightweight, so if you already have a reasonable photographic tripod it would be better to use that for nighttime observing. On the other hand, being able to take the lightweight one in the rucksack is a real bonus for birding - and if you can use it with legs shortened with the tripod sitting on a table or a window sill it's quite useable.

We bought one for our nephews last year and they love it.

The eyepieces are standard 1.25" size, so if your daughter wants to go further she'll be able to get additional EPs that she will also be able to use with her next telescope in 2 or 3 years time.

As for books, Turn Left at Orion is a good starter book for finding your way around the sky, with suggestions for targets that can be seen, categorised by naked eye, binoculars or small telescopes.
Another suggestion I would make is to get her a planisphere - this is a disc with which you set the date and time together and it shows the night sky. What's useful is that it shows how the view changes as the evening progresses, and also how the visible objects change as we go through the seasons.

Edited as I initially thought it came with a red dot finder; it actually comes with an optical 5x24 finderscope. This will be useful during the day too (though the finderscope image will be inverted - I'm sure your daughter will find it 'cool').

PS - my daughter 'got into' astronomy at a similar age, and ended up doing an astrophysics degree and now has a great job doing programming. Encourage your daughter into sci and tech, it's as good as we have of a guarantee of a job in the future.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: Beginners telescope & book recommendations, please.

Postby Kat_D » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:05 am

Thank you very much for your advice, I shall look for those.
That's fantastic to hear about your daughter, mine has been inspired by Tim Peake and wants to be an astronaut. I can imagine her taking a similar route to your daughter - all my children enjoy science - but then she also loves drawing so may end up as artist!
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Re: Beginners telescope & book recommendations, please.

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:36 am

Start with an 80mm F/5 refractor. As for books, I'm not really allowed to say.
How can I be one with the universe when we don't know what 96% of it is.

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