It is always exciting to nurture the next generation of astronomers as they gaze through the night sky using telescopes in their own backyard. However, it can always be a conundrum to choose the best telescope for your kids or grandkids. You need to ensure that the telescope you purchase is not expensive while it is handy enough to provide your children with an immersive backyard astronomy experience. We bring to you the 5 best telescopes for kids in this post.
Features of the best telescope for kids
When it comes to telescopes, aperture is perhaps the most important thing that first crops up in mind. But we need to take the children’s perspective into account first here. When we want our kids to take a fancy to astronomy, then we also need to think out of the box and determine what will actually attract them towards this great science. The younger children who are aged above three will be satisfied as they gaze through the eyepiece of the telescope at the planets and the moon. Here are some of the fine experiences endured by young astronomers as they peeped through their telescopes at the star-filled skies.
As kids grown up and reach an age of say six, seven or eight, they would be wanting to get their own telescope so that they are able to exercise complete control over it and use it to learn more about skies.
Having said that, we need to take certain things into account in addition to abiding by your budgetary constraints. A majority of the kid astronomers share the following characteristics:
- An urge to learn
- Sense of astonishment at the amazing world around them
- An early bedtime
- An attention span lasting a short time
- A desire for immediate gratification
- Getting bored to quickly
- Short height
- Weak muscles
- No concern with worth of things
- Reckless behavior while dealing with the equipment
These are some of the attributes that is common to almost all the kids around us. When buying a telescope for our kids, we need to ensure that we purchase one that is able to build on the positives and mitigate the negative impacts. This implies that we should be looking at a telescope that is in accordance with the age of your kids, small in size and affordable. They should get a device that is able to help them see the crates on the moon and the amazing planets in the solar system.
But if the same telescope is gifted to a teenager, there is every likelihood that he will get bored of it instantaneously. Children of this age group need to get an idea that they are being given an intricate piece of equipment that will assist them in viewing some fabulous sights. Just imagine how amazed a younger kid will be even at the prospect of viewing a galaxy or nebula. Teenager kids will also be fascinated by the traditions related to configuring and setting up the telescope.
Children of older age are generally satisfied when they are treated like adults. So, if they are given a telescope that is meant for children of younger age, then that could act as an abhorrent. You also need to keep in mind the behavior and inclination of the kids whether they are interested in taking the telescope out of the box and start viewing the spectacular skies or they have the nerves and the restraint to work with you on collimating, polar alignment and conventional configuration.
The below mentioned five telescopes will help you get an ideal telescope for your kid in accordance with his propensities. We have reviewed them keeping in mind a kid as well as his parents who have to spend a handsome amount of money on purchasing them. If you want to make a perfect decision, going through the reviews will help you decide appropriately.
Astronomy starter video for kids
The video below will be beneficial in getting the kids around you interested in the science of astronomy. The video is only five minutes long and endeavors to introduce kids to the space around us.
Reviews of the 5 Best Telescopes for Kids
1 – Orion XT 6” Dobsonian ‘SkyQuest’
The Orion XT 6” Dobsonian ‘SkyQuest’ is a perfect first choice telescope for kids of older age. Dobsonian actually refers to the name of the stand rather than the telescope itself. The telescope is very easy to assemble and set up for kids. The simple base swivels left and right and up and down while using friction to ensure that it stays in its place; thereby eliminating the need of polar alignment. Moreover, the device is exceptionally easy for feeble arms to move around.
Having said that, the Orion XT 6” Dobsonian ‘SkyQuest’ is not an ideal choice for younger kids since it consists of a long tube that makes it doubly difficult for shorter children to reach the eyepiece when pointing upright.
The greatest advantage you get with this brilliant contraption is that most of your investment is geared towards getting you an aperture of larger size rather than a flashy mount.
The Orion XT 6” Dobsonian ‘SkyQuest’ is a very user-friendly device for your kids. If you are not acquainted with a reflector, then you will need to learn how to collimate mirrors.
Kids can transport and set the telescope up with remarkable ease. In addition, the massive 6” aperture, which is the largest in our list, they can view spectacular objects in the sky including planets, nebulae and galaxies.
- Aperture: 6” aperture
- Focal Length: 1200mm with a focal length ratio of f/8.0
- Mount: Features a Dobsonian mount
- Larger aperture for an affordable cost
- Child-friendly Dobsonian mount
- Kids of shorter height find it difficult to operate
- Too heavy for easy transportation
2 – Celestron 70az Refractor – ‘AstroMaster’
The Celestron 70az Refractor – ‘AstroMaster’ is one of the most popular telescope for beginners with its 70mm azimuth refractor that serves as an ideal first step for kids of younger age into the world of astronomy. The altazimuth design is a simple one that lets kids of younger age move the telescope with seamless ease. In addition, there is no need to fret over polar aligning.
The 90mm refractor is quite popular among consumers and owning to its lightweight, portability and easily configurable mount that can be set up without extending the legs, it is quite popular among kids.
The Celestron 70az Refractor – ‘AstroMaster’ is one of the cheapest telescopes mentioned in our list. In addition, even if your kids handle it recklessly, it is sturdy enough to sustain the harsh use.
Equipped with a couple of eyepieces, the Celestron 70az Refractor – ‘AstroMaster’, allows the young star gazers to zoom into the lunar surface detail and take a wider view of the galaxy.
The 90mm or 3.5” aperture is not the largest around but it still promises to offer some stunning views of the night sky and the planetary bodies. This affordable telescope will definitely be able to create a yearning to get advanced equipment in your kids.
- Aperture: 90mm
- Focal length: 1000mm and a focal ration of f/11.0
- Mount: 1.25” legs with altazimuth style
- Small for older kids
- Mount may produce vibrations
3 – Orion’s 70mm Go-Scope Travel Refractor
The Orion’s 70mm Go-Scope Travel Refractor boasts an aperture of 70mm which is less than 3 inches and happens to be the smallest telescope in our list. It serves as a remarkable tool for engaging your young kids in the science of backyard star gazing.
The telescope comes with a fine quality carrying case and is very easy to configure; thereby making it an ideal choice for holidays and backyard adventures.
The Orion’s 70mm Go-Scope Travel Refractor is loaded with a couple of eyepieces that offer low magnification which is suitable for moon, Jupiter and Saturn. You may as use a lower sized eyepiece of magnification of dimmer objects such as Mars and other brighter star clusters.
Owing to a smaller aperture of 70mm, the young astronomers will not be able to view smaller and fainter objects. However, the telescope has received fantastic reviews on Amazon and seems to be an excellent choice for kids of up to 4 years of age to astronomy.
Even adults can use this fabulous contraption that is really affordable.
- Aperture: 70mm
- Focal length: 400mm and focal ratio of f/5.7
- Mount: Altazimuth style made of aluminum
- Does not show fainter objects
- Designed for younger kids
4 – Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker
The Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is one of the best-selling telescopes on Amazon since this device boasts a fine quality at an affordable price. Your young astronomer gets a top class reflecting telescope with 5 inches on an equatorial mount.
The equatorial mount, however, is not an ideal choice for kids since it needs to be polar aligned and is rather complicated to be configured. Having said that, the telescope appears to be a great choice for children of over 10 years of age.
With the help of this Newtonian telescope, it becomes exceptionally easy for astronomers to discover new planets and follow galaxies across the sky.
Here is a comprehensive review of the Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker. This contraption definitely deserves five stars in terms of cost-effectiveness, robustness and an amazing star gazing experience it promises to offer to kids.
- Aperture: 5”
- Focal length: 1000mm and focal ratio of f/7.9
- Mount: equatorial that lets kids track objects easily
- Provides an amazing star gazing experience
- Heavy to set up and needs polar alignment
- Not suitable for younger kids
5 – Celestron NexStar 90SLT Mak
The Celestron NexStar 90SLT Mak is not the cheapest around but is the most popular one when it comes to compounding scopes for kids. The telescope comes with a 90mm lens/mirror combination. The telescope boasts an aperture of six inches that has five times more light harnessing power as opposed to the 90mm of the Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope.
The telescope is smaller in size and comes with exclusive features for young kids. However, it does not let them view as many objects as can be seen with a Dob or PowerSeeker.
If you are looking for a compound, go-to scope, then the Celestron NexStar 90SLT Mak is the right one for you. However, if you want your kids to get serious with astronomy, then you should be looking out for a telescope with a larger aperture at a lower price.
- Aperture: 6”
- Focal length: 1250mm and focal ration of f/14
- Mount: computerized go-to mount
- Easy to discover objects
- Small in size and easy to configure
- Expensive for kids
- Small aperture
Our list was based on the ease of use, effectiveness, ease of configuration and affordability. We endeavored to review the telescopes while keeping into mind the end-users as well as their parents who will have to spend some money. We hope that these reviews will help you out in making the right choice for your kid.