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  1. #1
    kramedt's Avatar
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    Default Telescope for 7 year old?



    I have always had an interest in astronomy, but never really followed up with it. Part of the problem was when I was young, my first telescope was a basic 70mm refractor. Which didn't live up to my lofty and unreasonable expectations. Now my 7 year old and to some degree my 5 year old are starting to express interest in star gazing. I would like to start them off with something that will enhance their interest instead of killing it (and I would be lying if I didn't admit this is a little bit for me as well). I was thinking about going with a Dobsonian, probably a Zhumell since they appear to give me the most bang for the buck. The problem I have is that my wife isn't totally on board with this. So there is going to be a direct correlation to the amount I spend and the amount of arguing I have to go through, so any thing I spend has to be worth it Also, I can pretty much guarantee that there won't be an opportunity to upgrade in the near future, so whatever I get we'll have to live with for quite some time.

    Telescopes.com has the Z8 for $360 and the Z10 for $450. Or I could go with the bundles for $540 and $630 respectively.

    My question is, will an impatient but impressionable 7 year old really notice much of a difference between a 8" and a 10" both now and in the future as she grows into it? And are the bundles worth it. They give you a TELRAD finder (which sounds like it would be helpful), a Z100 16mm eye piece, a sky-glow filter and a polarizing filter. We live in the country, so there isn't a lot of light pollution.

    Also, was thinking a 2x barlow lens would probably be a necessity at some point....would a barlow have any impact on the wide FOV of the Z100 eye piece? Any other accessories/eye pieces that should be considered must haves?

    Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    JuanM's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi, kramedt !

    First off, welcome to the forum
    I'm not that expert, but I will try to help with my 2 cents...

    Dobs are great telescopes to begin with, as they will give you the biggest aperture for the money. 8" is possibly the best choice at this point, if you're willing to 'stay behind the line' in terms of budget, but to have some good stuff as to be satisfied. Comparing 10" vs 8" is, as I have understood in other similar posts, not a highly noticeable jump, but more experienced people will possibly come in to tell you more on that bit.

    On the scopes you mentioned, let me try to clarify what you are going to get in terms of magnification, and the real usage you will make of the accessories, based on your comments about light pollution:

    Z8 is a 1200mm focal length scope, with an aperture of 203mm (8"). As you have probably read before, aperture is normally what matters, especially in visual observing. I've got an 8" too, and it brings great views in a LP sky... with 1200mm and the 30mm and 9mm eyepieces provided you will get 1200/30=40x and 1200/9=133x. You will need something in between, i.e. the 100º 16mm offered in the bundle, which will give you 75x.

    Looking at the other components however, it's not 100% clear to me that you must get the bundle. It's not strictly necessary to have a Telrad, you can 'survive' with the finder and good sky charts. If you benefit of good skies, you will possibly never use a sky glow filter anyway, but you WILL and MUST use a Moon filter as to protect your family's retinas. So the variable polarizer is a great one to meet that purpose. Moreover, if I'm looking at the same bundle that you are, the filters provided seem not to match with the eyepieces set, which is surprising. The 30mm + 16mm are 2" whilst the 9mm is a 1.25". This means that bundled 2" filters will fit in the 30 & 16mm EPs, but not in the 9mm ? Strange... Book in the bundle? There are so many...

    In my humblest opinion, I wouldn't go with the bundle and spend the difference in a couple of decent EPs, say 20 and 12mm, plus a good barlow lens to have a full range of magnifications. Of course, a good Moon filter or variable polarizer is a must.

    Important to mention that magnification is NOT the key element, so the barlow can be in your next year's "wish-list".

    Hope this helps !


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    Binos: Celestron SkyMaster 15x70. EPs(1.25"): Baader Hyperion 31mm aspheric, Baader Hyperion 8-24mm Mark III zoom, Orion SP 25&10mm, GSO 2.5x APO Barlow. Filters: Lumicon UHC, Orion SkyGlow broadband, variable polarizer 1-40%, colors #15, #25, #58, #80.

  4. #3
    Don Kittrell's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi kramedt,

    I'm going to take this topic in a little different direction. Orion Telescopes sales some smaller scopes that are geared for your situation. They offer some tabletop models that may be worth looking at that are quite inexpensive. I own such a one as you can see in my signature below. I find it to be a worthy little scope. They also have a 100mm reflector and 90mm Mak-cas models as well. They also have a wonderful 114mm reflector called the Starblast that might be good for you too. Another nice little scope they have is the 3" Spaceprobe on a alt-az mount. I've read some good reviews on this one. Check out this link, Great First Telescopes, it might be of some help.

    Clear skies,
    Don
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  5. #4
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    Default

    I'd vote for the 8 inch Dob. Nice size all the way around.
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    Default

    hi and welcome to the forums.
    if you placed the two side by side,you probably wouldn't
    discern any difference between the two,whereas,an experienced
    eye would.there will be more clarity in the 10",but to an untrained
    eye,not.
    the 8" is also more portable,the 10" less so,but tbh,if i had my choice
    over again,i would plub for the 10" that i rejected for the 8".
    whether you bundle or not<well that's up to you.
    there are many here who have those same scopes and would say yes.
    personally,ep's around 32mm,15mm and 10-12mm plus a 2X barlow
    and moon filter would be plenty.
    just be sure to get a good observing chair,you will need it for your eyes!!
    just my opinion btw,others will have different views.
    clear skies,

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    andy

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  7. #6
    photonseeker's Avatar
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    Default

    The Orion XT4.5 is a very good scope for the young ones. They can probably keep their feet on the ground with this one too.
    Regards,
    Clay

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kramedt View Post
    Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Have you considered a widefield refractor like the 80ST, or a pair of binoculars?

    The reason i'm suggesting them is because a few years ago my friend stopped by one night with her 7 year old son, who wanted to learn how to work his 'Christmas scope'. I'd set up the 8" SCT, 11x70s and 80ST for him to use while i was aligning his finder and ep. He didn't pay too much attention to the 8" but absolutely fell in love with the binos and the refractor. TBH, he didn't care too much what he was looking at, but he was absolutely thrilled that he could manage the binos and 80ST all by himself, and aim them with a fair amount of accuracy.

    When they were leaving, he was 1/2 way to the car when he turned around, ran back, and gave me a BIG hug... what a sweetie.

  9. #8
    kramedt's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for all your suggestions. My wife gave me a $500 budget so I decided to go with the 10" DOB, a 2x barlow and a telrad for $520 (close enough). Documentation says it comes with a moon filter, so I think I'll just stick with the included eye pieces and filter to start with and add on as necessary.

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  11. #9
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    Default

    I think you've made a superb choice. You someday may want a bigger telescope but you'll probably never really need one that is bigger.

    And the decision to use the included eyepieces and Moon filter for a while before considering further purchases is generally a very wise one.

    Now you need to make yourself a nice observing chair (a Lybar or Denver will do) and get a red flashlight or headlamp. A little table to put star charts on is also a nice thing.

    You'll be set!
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