Choosing the right telescope for yourself or someone else can be a tricky task. The matter becomes even more complicated when it comes to kids because you will have to take into consideration factors such as their age, height, experience and, most importantly, level of interest.
Ideally, you should choose a telescope that is not simplistic to the point that they might feel insulted, and not as complicated as to put them off of stargazing. In this short buying guide, we will highlight the key elements that you will need to consider. For a selection of the best telescopes for kids, details on prices, dimension, and focal length, check the linked article compiled by the experts at Telescope Reviewer.
Types of Telescopes
Generally speaking, there are three types of telescopes: compound, refractor, and reflector. While there are many differences between them, they all are designed to accomplish virtually the same role: gather as much light as possible from stars and other faraway celestial objects. To help you out, we have made a summary of each type’s advantages and disadvantages. Here is what you should know:
Do not buy toy telescopes
If the kid shows an interest in astronomy, many parents might be tempted to buy a toy telescope and call it a day. However, most toy telescopes are aimed at kids under the age of six, not to mention that they are of a low quality, and do not hold up to multiple successive uses. They might be a fun toy for small children, but if your kids show a true, genuine interest in astronomy, they would surely want to actually see something in the night sky instead of an amalgam of fuzzy and grainy images.
As a result, it is a good idea to look for a brand that is known for producing high-quality items. You do not have to necessarily drop hundreds of dollars – getting a low to mid-tier model from Nova, Carson, Celestron or Meade should suffice.
Buy Upgradeable Telescopes
Circling back to our previous point, you should avoid spending a lot of money on a high tier telescope right from the get-go. If you are not sure if your kid’s interest in astronomy is just a fad or the beginning of a fruitful career in astronomy, you should invest in a mid-priced unit. The idea here is to get a functional device that will satisfy your kids and encourage them to pursue this hobby further, rather than a cheap, weak telescope that will cause them to lose interest out of frustration and poor performance.
One of the best things about mid-tier telescopes is the fact that they are compatible with higher quality accessories, such as mounts and eyepieces. So if your kid wants to take his hobby to the next level, instead of buying an entire new telescope, you can just attach a better accessory.
Choose A telescope that Your Kid Will Grow Into
The telescope that you choose should challenge your kid’s skills, intellect, and patience, but not so hard to the point that they will not be able to use it without your assistance. Ideally, you want your kid to pursue this hobby further, and not get discouraged by factors that have nothing to do with him.
Astronomy is enjoying an increasing amount of popularity, and it is no wonder why so many kids want to pursue this hobby. Choosing the ideal telescope is tricky, but not impossible. As long as the telescope is upgradable with higher quality accessories, is not excessively hard or easy to use and it is not specifically designed for kids, you will know you have made a good choice.