Do you have a budding astronomer at home? Well, as a parent or as an elder sibling, you would surely wish to encourage his passion to the fullest. A telescope would be the most fitting gift here to inspire your little one to aim for the stars. But buying a telescope is never a cakewalk for those who are not generally used to with astronomical aides. However, not to worry, the post below offers a brief on the points to remember while buying a telescope for kids.
Know the types
First things first, you have to have a fair idea on the different types of telescopes available.
- Reflector telescopes
These telescopes feature a mirror where their tubes end that gathers light prior to sending it via another mirror & eyepiece. A reflector telescope is usually compact, promises amazing image quality and is especially great for viewing the faint celestial objects. But it’s open tube tends to collect dirt very fast. So, there are maintenance issues.
- Refractor telescopes
These are a breeze to use and are fantastic for gazing objects on the earth. It’s to note here, unlike the previous one, this one comes with sealed tube. Thus, you don’t have maintenance issues here. But a refractor telescope is not really great for faint objects in the sky.
- Compound telescopes
A compound telescope is supposedly the best telescope to see planets clearly. It assures an awesome view of both earth objects and faint celestial objects. But it’s more expensive compared to the other two options.
So, consider your specific needs and budget while deciding on the type of telescope for your kid.
Be careful of magnification
High magnification, say 200x or 300x, does not necessarily promise great view. An increased magnification offers an enlarged view but also leads to fainter image on eyepiece. To find the optimum magnification of your telescope, simply multiply its aperture in mm by 2. You can opt for a telescope with magnifying power below 60x.
Mind the aperture
It’s to note here the aperture of a telescope is its most crucial feature. In fact, it’s the aperture that determines the true power of a telescope. It’s to stress here, larger aperture assures a clear and detailed view of fainter objects in the sky. However, a small scope with 80 mm aperture (3.1” scope) can show full line of galaxies far away if you are a in a dark unpolluted area. But, if you want the same celestial view from an urban location, you will require at least 6-8” telescope.
There are two types of mounts available for telescopes- altitude-azimuth and equatorial. The first one lets your telescope swing up & down and left & right. The Equatorial one moves in alignment with the earth’s rotation. It’s to note here, the equatorial mount commands a complex setup. When you are buying for a child, it’s better to opt for the simpler altitude-azimuth mount
Finally, make sure to buy a telescope which offers options for upgrade so that you can update the device as your child grows up.