Buying Your First Telescope

Buying a new telescope can be confusing, especially for the first timer. Many are left wondering which telescope to get. […]

Recently an old friend asked me what telescope he could get for his young child on a $100 budget. I haven’t really delved into budget telescope for youngsters here except to point out to stay away from most department store telescopes if at all possible! I decided, especially with Christmas just around the corner, that now would be a good time to address budget ‘scopes for kids. After all, childhood is the perfect time to develop an interest in the heavens! I found four telescopes that should satisfy most youngster’s curiosity plus keep dad’s wallet happy by staying under $100. I put them here in no particular order.

FunScope 76mm Tabletop Reflector

Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop Refractor

Orion SkyScanner 100mm Tabletop Reflector

Orion Observer 60mm Altazimuth Refractor

These four telescopes range in price from $60-$100 at Click the Orion Telescope Store banner to the right to check them out. Keep your child’s interests and capabilities in mind when deciding which ‘scope to purchase. For example, the Orion Observer may be too difficult for a young child to operate by him or herself. If your child has interests in nature viewing then the GoScope or the Observer may be good choices as they should provide better non-astronomical viewing than the SkyScanner or the FunScope. Will any of these ‘scopes be good for deep sky viewing? No, absolutely not. They are too small to have the light gathering capability needed for deep sky viewing but any of these telescopes should provide many hours of fun exploring the craters and mountains of the moon as well as interesting views of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn!


Did you ever wish to have a telescope to see the night lights better? The dark sky with little bright lights sparkling here and there is most definitely a crowd favorite, whether you are at home looking from your window or in an open field relaxing, the stars have indeed accompanied us many times in our life. The stars are not really that small, the normal size of a star ranges from twenty to forty kilometers in diameter, but in other cases, stars can be larger than the sun. Take the star Betelgeuse, for example; Betelgeuse is six hundred fifty times larger than the sun – around 700 million miles in diameter. It is great to look at stars and pick one to keep, and in the future, when you have kids, you can show them the star you have picked out because stars can live up to ten billion years old. Looking at stars through a telescope to get a better view of it will help you remember the star you have picked out.

We can only see stars during night time because the sun outshines every star in the solar system during day time, since it is the closest star to earth, the sun blocks the light given by other stars. The sun itself is a star and all the planets we know orbits the sun.

There are eight planets orbiting the sun as of today, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Each planet has different atmospheres, the four closest to the sun are composed of rocks, these are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, while the four furthest planets are composed of a more gaseous material and is bigger than the four closest to the sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, out of the four furthest planets from the sun, Uranus and Neptune also contains rock and ice in their atmosphere. Besides having planets, the sun also has dwarf planets orbiting it; there are five dwarf planets orbiting the sun. Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, Eris and the former planet Pluto are all dwarf planets that orbits the sun. Most planets can be seen through a telescope, it would be a fun activity to do at night.

If you feel like buying one, but do not know how to choose one that would suit your curiosity and you budget, you can check out a telescope buying guide on the internet, and pick the best telescope you can afford, it is a great investment for you and your future family.


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