Selecting a Kid Friendly Telescope

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Astronomy for kids can be fun and education at the same time. Peering out into the space is also one of the most exciting experiences that your child can ever have. Gift your child a kidís telescope and let him have a look at Saturnís rings and the moonís craters and see the change in the questions s/he normally asks you about the skies.
One of the biggest mistakes that you can ever make while buying a kidís telescope is to buy it in from a toy shop. If you are serious you do not want a telescope that does not work, which is what you are likely to get from toy shops. A little research will tell you that you can get a good quality beginnerís model at an affordable price.
Still, buying a kidís telescope is not one of the easiest things. You can read telescope reviews online and learn that Meade Telescopes and Celestron Telescopes are among the most popular among advanced as well as kidís telescopes. You may also read promotional material telling you about how powerful a particular telescope model is. But that is not all that is to telescopes. High-power sounds a great thing but powerful telescopes have their limitations as well.

Here are some useful tips for buying a kidís telescope.
- The most important part of a telescope is the lens and the two types of telescopes, refractor and reflector, use different types of lens.
- Refractor telescopes use two lenses; the one that you look through or the eye piece, is known as the ocular lens. At the other end is a larger lens known as the objective. Most kidís telescopes are Ďrefracting lensí that magnify objects with the aid of convex bent glass.
- The lens used in reflecting telescopes is a parabolic concave mirror, called the primary, which gathers light at the bottom of the telescope. There are different types of reflecting telescopes depending upon the way the concave lens focuses light.
- The next important thing in a telescope is aperture, which is determined by the diameter of the objective lens in a telescope and the primary lens in a reflector telescope. The ability of the telescope to gather light is directly proportionate to its aperture size

- You also want to know the focal length and the focal ratio of the telescope. The focal length is the distance between the main lens or mirror and the point where the light focuses. Focal ratio is arrived at by dividing aperture size by the focal length. Higher the focal ratio, the better the image.
- The eyepiece is rated by millimeters; the lower the number, the higher the magnifying power. Here again, higher magnification does not necessarily mean the best. It may provide more details but it becomes difficult to keep an object in view. A 25mm eyepiece is ideal for a kidís telescope.
These is general information about what goes in to make a good kidís telescope but it does not mean that you buy the best that you can afford. The following aperture sizes are ideal for a young or novice astronomer.
Ė Refractor Telescopes: 2.4 inch and 3.1 inch
Ė Reflector Telescopes: 4.5 inch and 6 inch
Keep in mind that a higher focal ratio with the same size aperture translates into a longer telescope that may be difficult for the child to handle and carry from one place to another. While we are talking about handling, do not forget to buy a mount for the telescope. A mount is of extreme importance as it facilitates easy viewing.

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