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A good dobsonian telescope for a family (with a very interested 5 year old)


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Hi, I'm new to the forum, my 5 year old is completely obsessed with space! So much so, that he's started recording space talks for his class at school:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKOfabfrGIZ_mNWNCe8x3_g

 

I've been trying to find a dobsonian telescope so we can all look at the planets and start exploring the solar system, but I'm worried I'm going to buy something that is going to dampen his interest because he's only going to see a speck, also a lot of the telescopes I've looked at are out of stock.

 

Please could you suggest ideas for a simple dobsonian that will give views of the planets that may keep him interested and is hopefully able to be purchased at the current time?

 

 

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Welcome to the forum. 

For a basic starter dobsonian go for an 8" Orion/ SkyWatcher/Meade. (At a minimum a 6")

If finances allow then go for a motorised "GOTO" or "Push To" version. Maybe even a 10" one. I think 12" starts getting really cumbersome.

Here's one on Ebay

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/203543901968?hash=item2f64297710:g:VlgAAOSwgGlhBrZo

 

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+1 on Mark's comment. As he says auction sites may your best bet at the moment as most astro suppliers are out of Dobs and much more too.

A friend of mine recently bought this https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astro-fi-series-telescopes/celestron-astro-fi-6-schmidt-cassegrain-sct.html which is a Schmidt Cassegrain goto scope. It is a really good scope for visual work and may be in stock. However be prepared to wait a while to look through a scope as the more money you spend the longer the clouds remain 🙂

 

 

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There are many good deals on the used market, but do your homework first so you know what you are getting. Check auction sites, Gumtree and a specialist used site called Astrobuysell. If you are tempted by anything you see advertised, feel free to ask as many questions as you want. Members here will be only too pleased to answer your questions as best as they can.

i can’t help you with suggestions re Dobsonians as I have no experience with them, but good luck with the search.

 

PS. Welcome to the Yard.

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There are a few Dobsonians that seem to be instock here https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/stellalyra-8-f6-dobsonian.html

or the cheaper and smaller 6"

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/stellalyra-telescopes/stellalyra-6-f8-dobsonian.html

 

I personally have no experience of Stellalyra so cannot comment on how good they are. Not sure if AltairAstro have any Dobs in stock but might be an idea for you to enquire.

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They are both really easy to setup. The SC scope is a goto scope and works with a tablet or phone app. You just set it up on the tripod and switch it on. Then just follow the instructions in the app which initially tells you to aim the scope at 2 stars. It then does the rest by working out the entire sky.

My friend got an additional Celestron module https://www.firstlightoptics.com/slt-series/celestron-starsense-accessory-for-celestron-mounts.html containing a small camera which does it all automatically. That you just switch on and set it off aligning itself by another app. Very clever.

When you want to look at an object you just tell it in the app and it automatically slews to the object, takes another picture and finely tunes where the scope is pointing so your target is smack bang in the middle of the eyepiece. Then it tracks the target compensating for the earths rotation.

 

The Dob on the other hand is just point it at what you want to look at and then keep nudging it as the target keeps moving out of the field of view. This is because of the earths rotation. In practice I find that I am nudging it every couple of minutes or so dependant upon the eyepiece magnification in use. There is a negative to the Dobsonian which usually uses a Newtonian reflector telescope. They need to be collimated every time you move them around as the mirrors can move out of alignment with each other. It is easy to collimate but it another thing you have to bear in mind. This explains what collimation is and how to do it https://astronomy.com/magazine/observing/2019/04/how-to-collimate-your-scope

 

Either of these scopes would be great but if the SC scope had been around when I started I would have got that in preference to the Dobsonian.

 

Anything to do with astronomy can end up costing a lot of money but the pleasure it gives is immeasurable 🙂 .

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Whilst you are hunting for the scope, and to keep the interest of your 5 year old, it may be worth looking at a site called “Stellarium”. This shows you what is visible in the night sky from any given location and shows you where it is. It would enable you to locate objects visible to the naked eye and identify what they are.

 

There are also various books for the person starting out in astronomy that help to locate and identify objects. One such book is simply called ‘Turn left at Orion’.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/18/2021 at 11:11 AM, lofiloop said:

Hi, I'm new to the forum, my 5 year old is completely obsessed with space! So much so, that he's started recording space talks for his class at school:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKOfabfrGIZ_mNWNCe8x3_g

 

I've been trying to find a dobsonian telescope so we can all look at the planets and start exploring the solar system, but I'm worried I'm going to buy something that is going to dampen his interest because he's only going to see a speck, also a lot of the telescopes I've looked at are out of stock.

 

Please could you suggest ideas for a simple dobsonian that will give views of the planets that may keep him interested and is hopefully able to be purchased at the current time?

 

 

I am very not confident to suggest any dobsonian telescope because I have never used however if you want I own a Meade 80 mm refractor go to which is a very starting telescope for observing and I wouldn’t mind to sell it to you if interested.

 

I watched some of your son YouTube videos and are brilliant! 
 

Please feel free to contact me if you have to know about the Meade scope

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