first telescope for child - age 7

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first telescope for child - age 7

Postby Is04Al05 » Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:07 pm

Hi, I would be really greatful for anyone who could give me idiot proof information about a telescope that is easy to use for a 7 year old boy and one that can give reasonable images in an area where there is light pollution. Is a reflector or a refractor better? As I keep changing my mind about that. I have been looking at the Orion Starblast 4.5, then I discovered the funscope 76mm refractor table top, but can't find a supplier in the UK. I have also been looking at the Orion 100mm tabletop reflector and the Orion goscope 80mm refractor telescope. The more I look at it the more confused I get. I don't want to spend alot, just in case this is just a phase and it ends up collection dust, but on the other hand I want one that is easy to use and will give reasonable images of the moon and planets etc and fire his imagination and enthusiasm.

Thank you.

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Re: first telescope for child - age 7

Postby arthur dent » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:14 pm

Hi Fiona

It is difficult to give you a specifc recommendation - it would have helped if you had specified a budget! However, I started off with a telescope from Dixons when I was 7 - a 2" refractor on an appaling "U-shaped" table-top mount, but it was enough to start a life-long passion for science and astronomy.

Things are so much different now than they were 45 years ago and I'm sure that many people will offer you advice.

You can get a better deal (value for money) by buying a telescope on the secondhand market.

I'd be VERY wary of buying second-hand telescopes off eBay - there are bargains to be had to be sure but personally I'd steer clear. However, if you look at the classified ads on astronomy-specific sites, you stand less chance of "being had". I'd recommend the following three sites - Sky at Night Classifieds (here's a link:, UK Astronomy Buy and Sell (here's a link: and Stargazer's Lounge (and here's a link:

Hope this helps.

Kind regards

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Re: first telescope for child - age 7

Postby dave.b » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:27 pm

The more you look the more confusing it gets! Apart from the budget, do you (or your boy) want a classical looking telescope or are you both more interested in what you can see?

If the latter, then may I suggest some binoculars with a camera tripod mounting bracket and of course the tripod? Some 10x50's would be good, but please check that the eye spacing adjustment will meet his needs and doesn't foul with the tripod bracket. The main advantage with this is that bino's are easy to handle, are less clumbersome than a refractor, and have a wider utility to you all. The down side with bino's is that they can give you a stiff neck when looking at the higher elevations, unless you lie down.

What ever you do, don't buy a cheap (£30 or so) telescope from the super market, etc. They are utter rubbish!

And please go to great length to explain and remind your boy never to look at the sun.
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Re: first telescope for child - age 7

Postby Expat_tony » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:07 pm

I recently found a long forgotten pair of 8X40 bins which I had only ever used for terrestrial subjects, and was gobsmacked by what I could see in the sky - the best experience was following all the clusters and nebulosity in Sagittarius and Scutum, from M8 up to M16 and even NGC6604.
With bins, avoid neck ache by viewing high objects from a garden chair with full length cushion (i.e. back and bum). It does collect dew if you don't stay on it but this will evaporate overnight in your living room.

That said, I would recommend to the OP a "table top reflector", i.e. the 76mm Celestron Firstscope or a clone thereof. For 50 quid, or much less if you find one in an eBay auction, you get a fully functional scope which is frankly limited more by the inferior quality of the 4mm eyepiece supplied than by the scope's small aperture (the 20mm eyepiece works fine though). I personally have never been ripped off on eBay, by the way.

Get the kid(s) to use the bins as a rough finder and then switch to the scope. You won't regret your purchase for at least a year, i.e. until your littl'uns have been once around 360 deg of sky and start asking for a PROPER scope for Christmas. Then a good 4" AC refractor is the least that will keep them happy. I would choose that because it's so transportable and therefore actually gets used.

Well, actually, you may regret it sooner than a year - when the battles start to stay up really late on summer nights. But this is a small price to pay for starting a lifelong hobby. Fully concur with the poster who warned about the Sun. Every Celestron telescope manual contains several such warnings and it's well worth insisting that you all read these together before use.
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Re: first telescope for child - age 7

Postby uea74 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:59 pm

Cannot see the detail but try:

There is one titled Pheonix D70F700, looks as if it will do.
I cannot see the price, I assume that it is less then £55, as they appear to go from left to right in order of price.

Ring 01707-322696, or email to the address.
The person on the other end is Alan, usually good and helpful.
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Re: first telescope for child - age 7

Postby Supercooper » Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:21 am


I know I have come to this discussion rather late (I've just joined) But I would like to direct you to my FREE Telescope Help website. My telescope and Astronomy guides have been written with the beginner in mind. Sometimes beginners make all sorts of errors when planning their optical equipment. Some will buy a tiny telescope because it magnifies 525 times. Some will buy any telescope by a certain manufacturer because most of the other beginners they know have told them that these are good telescopes... My Most Visited Guide is "Choosing a Telescope (36K Views)

Read these guides to find out the information you need to buy a useful telescope. Some telescope companies are trading on their good reputation honsetly earned. Some do it but their current manufacturing is slipshod and well below par. They have rivals who produce much better telescopes, more cheaply. You need to be able to sort the good telescopes from the bad, regardless of the maker. These guides will give you the knowledge you need so that you can make a good choice and move forwards in the enthralling hobby of amateur astronomy.

To visit my site, just Google "supercooper telescope help"

Cheers, Barry
For My FREE Telescope Help Website:

Using fab Helios f8 150mm Achromatic Refractor on SkyWatcher EQ5 - enjoing the views!
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Re: first telescope for child - age 7

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:04 am

I'm inclined to go for binoculars, too and 7x30s or similar for a child who must now be about 10.
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