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Home > The ultimate buying guide: telescopes for children and teenagers

The ultimate buying guide: telescopes for children and teenagers

How do you inspire children and teenagers with astronomy? Why this is a good idea, and which telescopes are suitable for which age group.

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Children love astronomy. What could be more exciting than exploring the night sky with a torch, compass, star chart and telescope? Not watching a documentary, but experiencing it live outdoors.

5 reasons why children should experience the starry sky for themselves:

  • Stars instead of the smartphone – see our world as it really is
  • Who knows which way is east? Understand nature and its secrets
  • Patience and self-motivated learning help children throughout their lives
  • Mathematics, science and technology comes to life
  • Be more knowledgable than most adults!

Besides a few books, children and teenagers will need, above all, a telescope in order to discover the night sky. It will show more detail than binoculars, and the image is more stable. Important: the quality must be right and the device must not overwhelm the child.

Not every telescope suits every age group

Mirror and lens telescopes are equally suitable for children and teenagers. A telescope that suits their ability and ensures a sense of achievement is more important than the method used.

We make a distinction between these age groups:

  • For young children up to the age of six, the playful discovery of the night sky is the right way to start; you don't need a telescope for this
  • From the age of six, a table-top Dobsonian with a red dot finder is the best way to intuitively find and observe bright targets
  • From ten years onwards, children can get to grips with an equatorial mount, which manually or automatically compensates for the rotation of the night sky
  • From 14 years of age, the first astrophotos can be taken, the set-up and alignment of the mount for this requires some effort

Is photography not important? A quickly set up Dobsonian telescope shows thousands of targets – optionally also with the help of the smartphone.

Here's how you find the right telescope

We have compiled the best telescopes for these four age groups. Among them are some good products for small budgets. Our consultant’s experience of working with children informs the selection of each product.

For all products, what is important to us is:

  • Easy and intuitive to use; fun is really important
  • Good optical quality to ensure that details are visible when observing
  • Robustly constructed products support learning through trial and error
  • The introduction to astronomy is possible with a modest budget

Buy a telescope that can be used by your child to observe on their own. In this way you guarantee that they'll have fun discovering things for themselves.

Safety notice

Never allow children to look at the sky unattended with binoculars or telescope during the day time! A single glance at the Sun can lead to severe eye damage and even blindness. An place to observe that is shielded from the Sun ensures safety.

Making discovery fun: up to 6 years of age

Up to the age of about six, most children cannot see an image in a telescope eyepiece. But this absolutely does not mean that you cannot introduce smaller children to astronomy. On a night-time walk or a star-gazing evening show them the Big Dipper, the Summer Triangle and the Milky Way. Or use the next meteor shower for a "shooting stars night" with a rug and a deckchair. With the right equipment, that's twice as much fun.

Levenhuk Survival Kit SK1

An expedition in space: with the Levenhuk survival kit, small explorers can quickly orient themselves in the starry sky. With the integrated compass they get to know the cardinal points, and the torch, magnifying glass and whistle are also useful helpers on Earth.

Levenhuk Flashlight LabZZ F3

Every child needs a torch: especially when it’s outdoors. Attached to the child’s belt with a clip, the search for the best observation site can begin. Its robust metal construction ensures that the lamp withstands any exciting night-time stroll among the stars.

Levenhuk Compass DC65

A real compass, almost like a real ranger on tour in the national park. With this compass, star rangers can orient themselves wonderfully in the sky and find the exact geographic direction.

National Geographic Compass

With this compass you will never be lost among the stars. Actually, an accurate bearing compass used to exactly identify landmarks, it is also perfectly suited for orientation under the starry sky.

Bresser Junior Binoculars for Children 6x21

Their first binoculars: with the Bresser Junior 6x21, children can discover their very first objects. They can even do this on their own. It is the perfect size for small children's hands, and with a solid rubber armouring it is especially shock-resistant.

Vixen ATREK Colour 8x21

They must be quality binoculars, but also ones that your child can use himself. The Vixen ATREK Colour 8x21 was constructed for just this purpose. Easy to use, compact, and with an interpupillary distance that is perfect for children.  With these, children can enjoy their own experiences observing nature.

Start intuitively: 6 to 10 years of age

Children between the ages of six and ten need guidance and support. Show children the constellations, and look for simple and bright targets such as the Moon and the planets, which quickly give a sense of achievement and awaken the desire for further discoveries. The first telescope should be simply and robustly constructed, and not too expensive. If you have to constantly intervene, the fun soon disappears.

A clear view right to the limits of what is possible: your children should also be able to experience this. But often children's binoculars do not deliver a sharp impression. The Talron HD 8x26 is different: nature, the Moon, the stars - they can all be seen needle-sharp in the field of view. The interpupillary distance can be adjusted to a minimum of 52mm. So these high-quality binoculars are also perfect for children.

Omegon Dobson N 76/300

Although this telescope seems extremely compact, it delivers great performance. With a 76mm aperture, it collects 116 times more light than the naked eye. You will not only admire individual lunar craters in detail. You can even imagine how the Apollo Mission astronauts must have seen the Moon from the window of their spaceship.

Skywatcher Dobson N 76/300

How about an adventure in space? Then simply take the Skywatcher Heritage 76 on a journey through our solar system. It’ll take you to the Moon, and then to gigantic Jupiter with its four colossal moons. Call in at Saturn - its ring system is definitely worth the trip. 

Celestron AC 50/360

The moon is shining so beautifully today. How about zooming in and bringing the lunar craters up close? This is easy and requires no advanced knowledge with the Celestron Travelscope AZ 50/360. You will be amazed at how many craters and mountain landscapes there are up there to discover.

Omegon AC 60/700 AZ-1

This telescope is perfect for an easy introduction to amateur astronomy. A great gift for children and adults alike which offers decidedly good value for money! The device is easy to understand and quickly set up without any tools, true to the motto: set up, insert eyepiece, observe!

Find exciting targets: 10 to 14 years of age

Children aged ten years and older can carry out their own observations and gain experience in working with telescopes. This is especially true if they already had some contact with astronomy and can expand their horizons in their own way. Faint deep sky objects are exciting targets and can be found with a Radiant Finder and a star chart. Bright objects can be photographed with a smartphone or camera.

The binoculars with the crisp, sharp view: these allow 10 to 14-year-olds to explore nature and the starry sky in a wonderful way. The Talron series of binoculars is a real insider tip, offering sharp optics with nitrogen filling and modern design, all at an affordable price. They will ensure that observing the starry sky becomes a favourite occupation right from the start.

Meade Dobson N 130/650

The Moon, planets and distant nebulae between the stars. You and your children can discover all of these in the sky with this telescope. With a 130mm aperture and an easy-to-use mini-Dobsonian mount, getting started is child's play. Right from the very first night, everything is ready for a discovery tour of the stars. 

Omegon Dobson Advance N 152/1200

This telescope opens up the world of the deep sky. The optics’ 152mm aperture collects plenty of light, allowing young people to discover many faint nebulae or the mysterious-looking globular clusters. From this telescope size upwards, countless objects become visible, often thousands of light years away from Earth.

Omegon AC 80/400 AZ-3

The compact Omegon AC 80/400 AZ-3 with an 80mm aperture, a short tube and an altazimuth mount, is aligned with any object on the sky or on Earth in no time. Simple to operate, but strong in performance, it shows teenagers everything they’ll want to see in the sky. 

Omegon AC 90/1000 EQ-2

This classic 90mm lens telescope is not without reason a best-seller: it fantastically shows the lunar craters or the rings of Saturn. It has an equatorial mount with a gear system with which you can follow any celestial object. And best of all, the viewing position is easily accessible to every child. With this telescope, astronomy is a real experience for the entire family. 

Celestron AC 70/900 AZ

This telescope is suitable for both nature observation and also astronomical applications such as observing the Moon and the planets. Within a few minutes, the telescope can be set up and intuitively operated, without any special prior knowledge and without any tools. This is a very nice and very well-produced entry-level telescope.

Observe and photograph with a passion: from 14 years of age

From 14 years of age onwards, young people can learn and observe alone, just like adults. Equatorial mounts with motorized tracking make astrophotography of faint deep sky objects possible. PushTo and GoTo mounts bring targets into view that are difficult to find visually. And with a good spotting scope you can observe the Milky Way and star clusters at night, and passing birds during the day.

Omegon 18 18-54x55mm

Take a chance with the stars now and then. You can do this with the Omegon Zoom 18-54x55 spotting scope. But it also offers beautiful views of the forest edge or of bird life. This is nature observing; made compact, fast and lightweight.

Celestron 20 18-60x80mm

Zoom in and observe distant objects. This works really well with a spotting scope, and you don’t have to worry about eyepieces or accessories. The Celestron Ultima can be zoom-adjusted to between 20- and 60-times magnification, so that even distant objects appear bright and clear.

Omegon Titania 600 Tripod Kit

A stable tripod, but it must be cheap? This is possible: with the Omegon Titania 600 tripod kit, including a panorama 3-way tripod head. The stable aluminium tube legs can be flexibly extended and locked in place. A low own weight, but can carry up to 9kg. A tripod that any astro-, nature- and photo-fan can use.

Omegon ED 15 18-45x60

In the evening under the stars or during the day on a trip in the mountains, a hike by the lake or bird spotting: the Omegon ED 15-45x60 spotting scope is compact and offers brilliant high-definition optics that will leave everyone amazed. This will give teenagers a lifetime of pleasurable observing.

Omegon DSLR camera adapter

Astronomy and nature observation present young people with amazing images. Wouldn't it be great if they could capture these experiences with a camera? Every photography fan dreams of taking his own pictures of the jagged craters on the surface of the Moon. All you need is an Omegon ED spotting scope and this camera adapter. It is the connection to a camera - and to images that even adults would be proud of.

Skywatcher N 150/1200 Skyliner

This Dobsonian has a 150 millimetre aperture and a 1200 millimetre focal length. This achieves an aperture ratio of f/8. Such an optic offers considerable light collection capacity. In a reasonably dark sky, you can already observe an number of deep sky objects with pleasure: the Orion Nebula, the Hercules Cluster, the Andromeda Galaxy - but of course also the Moon and the planets.

Skywatcher N 200/1200 Skyliner

This Dobsonian telescope has a mirror diameter of 200 mm (equivalent to 8 inches) and a focal length of 1200 mm. This achieves an aperture ratio of f/6. The 8-inch optics already collect a lot of light; in dark skies, weak stars up to mag. 14 and hundreds of nebula objects and galaxies are visible.

Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Pro

Faint objects are sometimes not easy to find. With the Push+ Mini telescope, this is very simple: your smartphone is connected to the mount, and the display shows exactly where your journey is taking you. Perfect for tech-savvy teenagers who want to use their smartphone as a sky control centre.

Omegon Easypic Universal Smartphone Adapter

These days, there’s a smartphone in every pocket. With their built-in cameras, the entry into astrophotography is possible with not a lot of extra cost: you need nothing more than this adapter, with which the smartphone is attached to the telescope eyepiece. The Moon looks really something on such a self-shot smartphone image!

Omegon MiniTrack LX3

The Omegon MiniTrack LX3 is a mini-mount for guaranteed successful astrophotos - with wide-angle and lightweight telephoto lenses. The MiniTrack is compact and can be taken anywhere. Beautiful views of the starry sky are surprisingly easy – even without much astrophotography experience.

Skywatcher N 200/1000 BD NEQ-5

Wouldn't it be great to get going with astronomy right away? The Skywatcher 200/1000 Explorer telescope offers a successful entrance into the world of nebulae and galaxies. With a high light gathering capability, it catches even weak objects via the 200mm main mirror. Ideal for teenagers from 14 years upwards and adults who would love to spend the whole night observing.

Skywatcher N 150/750 PDS Explorer BD EQ-3 Pro SynScan GoTo

Automatically find even faint nebulae. A challenge for a human, but no problem for the Skywatcher 150/750 PDS Explorer SynScan. An integrated computer with GoTo control fully automatically points to every desired object.  Reach objects that are light years away within minutes - not even the Starship Enterprise can manage that.

Conclusion

His first experiences with astronomy and the starry sky will determine whether your child is captivated by the subject, and pursues it. Your own journey into the universe often begins with your first book and with your first telescope. Do you have any questions about choosing a suitable telescope? Many of our astroexperts have been astronomy enthusiasts since childhood, when they got their first telescope. We are happy to advise you!

20.01.2021
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