Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Kid’s Telescope
Peering deep into the night sky can inspire young minds and encourage learning, without them really knowing it.
Astronomy is a lifelong skill that can be practiced whenever there is a clear sky. Informed stargazing really doesn’t require anything more than the naked eye and a will to learn, but a telescope brings even more rewards to a patient observer. From the moon’s stunning surface features to easily identified planets, star clusters, nebulae, and even nearby galaxies, a starter telescope literally opens up new worlds. The choices can be confusing, so here are a few basics to keep in mind as you shop for a toy that can light up a lifelong passion in your child.
A refractor scope uses glass lenses to bend light and concentrate it on the eyepiece. Because refractors actually magnify light, they have a smaller-diameter aperture and tube, making them more compact and portable. They are great for observing the moon and planets.
A reflector telescope (aka light bucket) relies on its large aperture and a series of concave mirrors to focus light on the eyepiece. Because of their ability to gather light, a reflector is better for viewing deep-sky objects such as nebulae and galaxies.
A scope sold with study materials will ensure that your budding Galileo has an easy-to-follow guide to the night sky. Once a young astronomer figures out some basic guideposts, it won’t be long before they are making discoveries on their own. A scope that includes a smartphone adaptor allows them to document and share their celestial adventures.