Choosing a telescope for children

Have you decided to buy a telescope to introduce your child to astronomy? Indeed, there is nothing better to arouse his curiosity, and this is possible from the age of 6 years.

It is true that ten years ago, the cost of this type of device was probably not within everyone’s reach. But make no mistake! Thanks to advances in technology, there are now telescopes for mid-range budgets, whether you are already a professional or a beginner, and even for your children. Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about astronomy. In this section, you will find everything you need to know before you start: what kind of instrument will be the best, how to choose it, how to start and how to go about learning.

Illustration de télescope pour enfants

telescope Teaching astronomy to children

To begin, it is essential to remind your child of a few notions in geography:

  • the cardinal points
  • the solar system
  • the universe

These few simple explanations will allow him to understand the essential concepts to begin astronomy. It will also be necessary to explain to him that it is important to choose the right time and ideal place for observe the stars. It is best to go somewhere far enough from urban areas to avoid light pollution. In addition, you should never forget to check the weather report before the observation to make sure that the clouds will be clear, and especially avoid periods with wind, otherwise your children risk being disappointed and may not want to repeat the experience. The perfect spot would be a high area with a good panorama.

You should also know that stargazing requires a lot of patience. Indeed, it takes about 15 minutes before you can distinguish these sparkling dots as clearly as possible. And your children will undoubtedly be delighted to be able to admire the stars which can have various colors. They will even be able to see the trace of the Milky Way. Not to mention the different constellations which are actually the brightest stars close to each other connected by imaginary lines. Note that you should also not expect to see exactly what is in the photos of galaxies with spectacular colors that are published on the Internet since these undergo specific processing on sophisticated software. Inform your child well before buying to prepare it and avoid misconceptions.

telescope Differences between astronomical telescope and telescope

A astronomical telescope is made up of a lens that allows light to be concentrated towards the focal point, which explains its refractive function. It is mainly used for the observation of the planets of the solar system.

The telescope is a reflector, that is to say that it is equipped with a concave mirror as an entry optic, which makes it possible to see deeper. It is therefore ideal for distinguishing galaxies, nebulae and the more detailed features of stars.

However, glasses are much more practical to handle and are therefore better suited if you are still novice in the field. In addition, they are easier to maintain thanks to their airtight tube. While the telescope often requires several technical adjustments in order to be able to distinguish the details as well as possible. It should be noted that the larger the diameter of the entrance optics, the more you will be able to see the most distant stars, whether for glasses or the telescope . Your choice will therefore depend on the final objective desired by you and your child.

telescope enfant

telescope Astronomical telescopes for children

If you therefore think that your angel will still have difficulty handling a telescope, opt for astronomical telescopes, since they do not require no complex adjustment. Especially since he will have no problem transporting the object himself. Glasses will also be more practical if your child is one of those who love outings in nature.

The most simplified model is the azimuth mount. Your child will just have to orient the tube in a vertical or horizontal direction to see the stars as he pleases. There is also the equatorial mount which is a little more complex. Indeed, to easily follow the movement of the stars, it will have to be aligned with the Earth’s axis of rotation. In addition, there are table glasses which are equipped with a mini-tripod that must be placed on a table.

However, it is good to know these few parameters to help you choose good quality telescopes:

  • Be careful not to fall on a plastic lens and prefer those made of treated glass.
  • The dimension of the small glasses, called “researcher“, which are on the top of the tube must be more than 5 x 24 mm to guarantee you a better vision of the image.

telescope Children’s telescopes

If your child has a inquisitive mind and loves to observe and experiment, the telescope will probably be more suitable. He can then adjust the alignment of the mirrors himself and therefore test various positions as he pleases, especially if it is a kit telescope. And then if he is already a fan of books and videos on astronomy, the reflector is the most suitable for him to put his knowledge into practice. In this case, it would be better to offer him a real telescope with good optical vision and not a simple poor quality toy. Especially since the price of these devices is quite affordable and there are mid-range models that are of satisfactory quality. In addition, if you are looking for a model with better performance and which brings out a sharper image, you can opt for the catadioptric< telescope /em> which has much more advanced functionality. Of course, it costs a little more, but some prototypes are still accessible in terms of price.

Apart from your child’s personality, it’s also a good idea to make a choice based on age:

  • For children under 10, a 70/100mm scope will suffice since it is one of the simplest models and your child will be able to handle it without your assistance.
  • For those who are between 10 and 14 years old, the prototypes of 60/700mm will be more suitable. But that doesn’t prevent you from buying him a more efficient model if you think he will be responsible enough to handle it or has enough skill in observing the stars.
  • For teenagers who are over 14, they will be autonomous enough to handle a prototype of more than 70 mm, even going up to 130 mm. The Omegon 70/700 is for example a very good model. They will only need to document themselves with astronomy books and videos to master the distinction of stars.

In addition, several details must be taken into account when making your choice to ensure that you have a telescope in good condition without breaking the bank:

  • Prefer stainless steel tripods instead of plastic ones.
  • Be sure to check that the eyepiece diameter is greater than or equal to 31.75 mm and is made of metal, preferably stainless steel.
  • Best of make your purchases on a specialized site or store.
  • If the diameter of the tube is less than 130 mm, it is best to choose eyepieces with a focal length of more than 4 mm. This improves the sharpness of the observed images.
  • The telescope mirrors must have a very smooth and parabolic appearance.
  • As for the choice of eyepieces, those of the Plösslare the most recommended, compared to Huygensand Kellner eyepieces.
  • You may come across tempting offers that offer telescopes with an impressive image magnification capacity, but you still have to beware, because it happens that it is misleading advertisements s. So, you should know that the vision of an astronomical telescope can only be magnified up to 100 times.

A last detail: do not forget to explain to your child that the telescope is not a toy. It will therefore have to be careful about its maintenance and its use.

telescope A perfect gift idea for children

Despite the ” toy ” telescopes that are on the market, nothing beats a real telescope that offers satisfactory image quality. Whether you choose a reflectoror a refractor, this instrument will undoubtedly be the best way to develop your child’s curiosity to help him discover the vast universe and stimulate their scientific mind. He will undoubtedly be amazed by the particularities of the stars and will perhaps become a true enthusiast. Moreover, this kind of gift will be an opportunity to make him more responsible since he will have to take care of a valuable instrument and be meticulous.

You should know that you will easily find a decent quality telescope for less than 150 euros, it will depend on your budget.

Finally, from a certain quality, this instrument even offers the possibility of performing astrophotography: saving images observed through smartphones, therefore, advice to amateurs!

The questions

Are children and young people interested in scientific subjects?

Children and young people are very interested in scientific subjects.
They are curious and like to be informed, but they do not have the reflex to be interested in scientific subjects. It is true that scientific subjects are not
It is true that scientific subjects are not among the subjects they are familiar with. This is why it is important to address these subjects at school, but also to develop the interest of children and young people in scientific activities at home and in their environment.

Why teach astronomy to children?

Because observing the universe, the stars and the planets, is a great way to understand the world around them. Children are curious and like to discover what they cannot see.
Children are very sensitive to natural phenomena and they also learn to use their senses to observe the sky and the stars.
Children can observe the stars and understand the movement of the planets, which also makes them realise how far away they are from the Earth.
Children are very curious, they ask a lot of questions and learn a lot by observing the universe.
They also have a vivid imagination that allows them to visualise celestial phenomena as if they were really there.

How can teachers encourage students’ involvement in astronomy and inspire them to learn more?

Teachers can give young people examples of scientific experiments and show them how astronomical observations can help us understand the world around us. They can also explain how stars are formed, how they are used by humans and why it is important to protect our planet.
Teachers can also explain to students the difference between natural (such as light) and artificial (such as lasers) phenomena.
Students can also learn about how we measure time. Teachers can explain how we use tools such as clocks and calendars to measure time.