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Telescopes for Kids – what you need to know to get a good kids telescope cheap

Updated on December 12, 2010

The BARSKA 40070 Starwatcher Compact Refractor Telescope is the perfect kids telescope because it offers everything you need in a refractor telescope kit (case, tripod, telescope) at a great price.  This telescope will last a child for many years. 

Telescopes for kids are one of the best gifts you can give your child to get them into astronomy and more importantly science.  Getting your kids into science is sometimes a difficult thing to do and science is one of the most rewarding fields of knowledge a kid can get into (it pays pretty well too).  Getting your children a telescope is a great gift that can provide quality time staring into a starry sky late at night (a bonus for kids to stay up late, perhaps?).  But at the same time, getting a cheap kids telescope is a tricky thing; you don’t want to spend a lot of money on the telescope in case they don’t like it and ditch it into the back corner of the closet yet you want to get them a good telescope that they can see stars, constellations and other night time objects so that they keep their interest and think it’s cool.  So how do you get a good cheap children’s telescope?  Keep reading because below we’ll provide a couple of tips on finding the right one at the right price.

If you’ve spent any time with your child staring up at the sky pointing out constellations or looking for planets then you’ve already greased the skids for your child’s interest in stargazing and telescopes.  If your child has shown some interest, that’s good they may be ready for a childrens telescope.  When considering which telescope to get, there’s two schools of thought.  You can buy an appropriate kids telescope for their current age and interest and upgrade as their interests increases or you can purchase the best telescope for kids now and save money because you only have to buy once and never worry about upgrading.  Each one has their merits and their drawbacks but finding the right telescope for your kid will make all the difference.

Seeing as there are so many telescopes for children I thought I would give a brief description of each one.  The most basic kind of telescope if a dobsonian telescope.  This telescope is simple a long tube that has a lens at the end and an eyepiece that uses a mirror to look up through the scope.  Also called a refracting or refractor telescope, a simple version such as the Tasco 100 x 50 mm model would be great for observing the night sky.  It has a tripod and can be easily taken down and stored in a closet for when you’re not using it.  Another version of reflector telescope is the Tasco 30 x 76 mm telescope.  This is a compact model shown above that is very compact and portable and makes sleep-overs and camping trips a blast.  In the same family of refractor telescopes is the Zhumell Zenith which has a little better power and can see a lot more in the night sky; it also comes with a little bigger price tag.  The next step up is a junior version of the true amateur stargazer’s telescope which is Celestron’s Powerseeker 60 telescope.  This comes with two different eyepieces to provide two ranges of view and it features all the same attributes of more expensive telescopes: all glass lenses and mirrors, high-transmission optics coatings to enhance image brightness and clarity. All for around $60, not a bad investment for a young astronomy enthusiast.  All of these are dobsonian telescopes that are affordable and great for kids.

If you’re really looking to get into a top of the line kid’s telescopes, you can get the Meade Altazimuth Refractor telescope.  Refractor telescopes are a little better in that they use mirrors to concentrate the light instead of lenses and are usually free from defect and don’t suffer from any of the aberrations that lensed reflector telescopes do.  Te Mead Altazimuth is a complete package that comes with an aperture, an Altizumuth mount that offers slow motion control, a tripod, red-dot viewfinder, two eyepieces and a dvd set for instructional and astronomical use.  So if you want to buy one telescope that will last until they are ready become professional amateurs, this one is the perfect one and it’s only $100.

In order to find cheap kid’s telescopes you’ll have to do some shopping around.  There are many retailers online that have specials all the time, so you’ll need to do a little bit of research.  That being said, you really can’t go wrong with some of the big names like Amazon that have affordable children’s telescopes for reasonable prices. 

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