Planning to Buy 1st Telescope for Kids ? Things to Know
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Telescope for Kids ! Planning to Buy your 1st Telescope ! Things to Know

Looking at your all so curious child looking at the sky and wandering what’s up there definitely makes a parent think of buying a telescope for his/her Kids – budding scientist. But often this leads to a headache for them.

The market is full of a wide range of telescopes with prices varying from dirt to sky. It makes buying the first telescope for your kid quite a task if you are not familiar with  terminology like aperture, f-ratio, mount type, reflector, refractor etc.

Telescope Watch for Kids in the Out Door

Telescope Watch for Kids in the Out Door

Actually before buying your first telescope, you should ask yourself !

“WHAT I WANT TO SEE THROUGH MY TELESCOPE?”

If your answer includes observation of our own natural satellite, the moon and some naked eye visible planets then there are some decent options available under $100/ Rs 7000 in the market.

What should you look for before buying your telescope for your Kids or even if it’s a Beginners Telescope?

An optical telescope generally has four important components: – its objective piece, an eyepiece lens, a optical tube and the mount (tripod). But the prior most point to take into consideration is the optical design or the type of telescope.

Planning to Buy 1st Telescope for Kids ? Things to Know 1

Parts of Refractor – Telescope

 

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Aperture

The telescopes available in market generally boost either one of the property: – aperture diameter or the magnification. A good telescope must put up its aperture. The aperture of a telescope is the diameter of the main optical component i.e. the objective piece. It is usually mentioned in Inches or MM (Millimeter)

Actually the aperture of the telescope defines much of its functioning. It is the light collected by the telescope; the greater the amount of light collected the better. On the other hand the magnification of the telescope is linked with the eyepiece lens and is variable. For example: – a 12.5 mm eyepiece will give more magnification than a 25 mm eyepiece for the same objective piece.

So one must not look for higher magnification but a better choice will be to choose the aperture in such a way that it solves your purpose of viewing the celestial object of your choice.

If you are certain in observing our own satellite and some decent view of naked eye planets, you can go for a minimum of 60 mm (2.36”) is a fine choice. The bigger the aperture you chose, the better your observation get.

F-ratio

You can certainly look for another quantity called the F-ratio to know the scope better. It is the aperture divided by the focal length of the objective piece. A higher F-ratio with the same size aperture means a better image.

Planning to Buy your 1st Telescope for Kids ? Things to Know 5In the market the telescope are both sold in mm or inches, don’t get confused and follow the simple rule of 1”= 25.4 mm or look at the table below:-

Inches ≈Millimeter
2.4 60
2.8 70
3.1 80
4 100
5 128
6 150
8 200

The useful magnification of a telescope is generally 50 times the diameter (in inches) or twice the diameter (in mm). Thus defining the highest practical power of the scope.

Magnification

Magnification is the most commonly known term linked with a telescope but it is misleading too. Magnification can be understood as enlarging the relative picture of an object but high power doesn’t mean good observation.  Although high power means larger appearing object but it also means more spreading of light further fainting the object’s image. So one must look for an optimized value of magnification for the scope rather than blindly looking for higher numbers. Also the highest practical power of the scope is limited by its aperture size.

Representative views of Saturn at low, high and excessive magnification!Magnification for a telescope depends on the focal lengths of its objective and eyepiece lens.

Magnificatin & Focal Ratio

One can get variable magnification from a single scope by changing the eye piece. Thus the objective piece is the most defining component as it beholds the information of both a scope’s aperture and its magnification.

Eyepiece Lens

Though most of the telescopes in market come with a set of one or two eyepieces handy but eyepieces can better be understood as an additional accessory and although you can buy a no. of these from the market to increase the magnification of your scope, you should restrict yourself to highest optimized value.

There are various types of eye pieces design available having the same function but slightly different features. Some of the common ones are Symmetric Ramsden(SR), Kellner(K), Orthoscopic etc. They are sold in terms of effective focal length.

Mounts

Even though people think that buying a telescope means a system of tube and lenses and mirror, one of the most important part of a telescope is its mount.

A telescope unlike a pair of binoculars, needs a fixed and rigid stand to hold the tube stable while observation. That is why a telescope needs much more than a tripod, it needs a mount. So while buying a telescope, look for the mount it comes with. Generally there are three categories in which the mounts are available:-

  1. Alt-Az: – Altitude-Azimuth operates like a tripod having independent movement in the horizontal and vertical axis.
    Planning to Buy your 1st Telescope for Kids ? Things to Know
  2. Equatorial: -Equatorial mounts also possess two axes, but they are tilted so that one can be aligned with the earth’s rotational axis and thus the motion of the two axes is dependent on each other. So there motion turns out to be a bit complex and needs better understanding of it before use. Also it needs to be aligned to the pole star before use.
    Equtorial Mount of a Telescope
  3. Dobsonian :-Debsonian is a cheaper and more easier version of Alt=Az mount.
    Planning to Buy your 1st Telescope for Kids ? Things to Know 1

For amateur astronomers who are looking to peek into the sky, Alt-Az turns out to be the most obvious choice but for more advance observations and performing tasks like observing deep sky objects astrophotography, one must go for the Equatorial mount.

Where to buy??

Living in the online era, it becomes easier for a new buyer to scan through the various online stores website and pick one from them, but with so many options available, it gets more confusing than ease. So while searching for a telescope online, first get to know the companies who manufactures the scopes. There are companies like Celestron, Sky watcher, Meade, Orion who come on top, but if you search more aggressively, you will find market with more options of maker like ioptron, Vite, XCsource, GoskyLevenhuk and Scheiber telescope etc. While searching Amazon, Snapdeal or Flipkart, all these options are available in the camera and binoculars.

Other than going for telescope hunt online, there are some in-house vendors also. Some Indian Telescope Makers :

  • Central Scientific Instruments Organization (CSIO), Sector 30, Chandigarh 160 020 –
  • Devdas Telescoptics, 2, Chakrapani Road, Guindy Race Road West, Chennai.
  • Tejraj and Co., 10/12, Dr. Wilson Street, Opp. Vithalbhai Road, Mumbai 400 004, Phone : 91 – 22 – 3865649 –
  • Precision Optics and Machinaries Pvt. Ltd.,P-26, Crahams Land, Calcutta 700 0 40
  • Sharp Vision Scientific Co.,M-7A, Shalimar Apartments, Shalimar Garden, Sahibabad 201 005 (U.P.) India.
  • Sharp Vision Scientific Company – Sahibabad
  • Galileo Telescope Makers, 3449, Dariba Pan, Pahar Ganj, New Delhi 110 055, Tel: 91-11-3624326; 91-11-3628560.
  • Javed Impex, 63, Mutton Street, Mumbai 400 003, Tel: 91-22-3463470, Fax:91-22-3425740.

More Important Information about Telescopes for Kids :

Some telescope maker’s links in India are :

What to buy Search Options for US ?

There are many options to go for under $ 100 price like Orion 10034 Goscope, Carson Red Planet, Celestron 21035 etc. Some of the telescopes links are given Here 

Accessories  along with Telescope ( Covered in Next Topic)

As any other instrument, one can accessorize its telescope. Various tools to go with you first telescope are as follows:-

  1. Barlow Lens
  2. Star Diagonal
  3. Collimator
  4. Camera Adapter
  5. Go-TO
  6. Filters
  7. Mounts
  8. Finder- scope
  9. Eyepiece Options

Astronomy for Kids Activities ( Recommended) 

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